FIU student Karen Cespedes will spend the next three weeks in Taiwan, where she will attend and participate in the Global Initiatives Symposium. She will keep us posted on her experiences in Asia for the duration of her trip. Today, she introduces herself.

My name is Karen Cespedes. I am an Asian Studies graduate student at FIU, which I juggle with my full-time job as an account executive with Esquire Solutions in Miami. My goal is to become a U.S. State Department diplomat.

I was born in Colombia but my family and I migrated to the USA when I was only 6 years old. Many of us at FIU are linked by a similar story: our parents left their native country to venture, penniless, to the United States of America, in search of political freedom and the “American Dream.”

I truly consider FIU my home. After high school, I was offered a scholarship to FSU, but after attending FSU for two years, I decided that it was not the university for me. As an international relations student, I needed a university that would fuel and propel INR discussions and thought. I decided that FIU would be a great venue because of the wide diversity of students and ideas. I am lucky to be part of the FIU INR family. During my time at the university, I have had the honor to be vice president of Sigma Iota Rho, as well as an active member of the Golden Key International Honor Society.

Off to Taiwan

Now, enough of who I am – let me tell you why this blog came about.

I was nominated for a spot at the Global Initiatives Symposium (GIS) Taiwan 2010 conference. The conference is taking place from July 12-16. Its purpose is to gather innovative ideas and discuss some of the more pressing issues affecting our planet. The theme of the conference is “Emergence of New Giants: Evolution or Revolution.” There are three subtopics which the delegates have been asked to reflect on. I have chosen “When East Meets West: New Perspectives Under the Eastern Culture Expansion.”

On the third day of the conference, each delegate will have a kiosk of their own at Taipei University. On this day, we will be able to discuss and share the main points of our papers with conference attendees. It promises to be an exciting day. I am looking forward to interacting with the people of Taiwan and providing them with an idea of who I am…my story, tell them about FIU and how the America Dream is real.

After the conference, we will be going on a cultural tour of Taiwan. We will be visiting some of the most beautiful scenery, landmarks and monuments in the city. We will also have the opportunity to interact with Taiwanese aborigines.

My guiding principle on this trip is to be like a sponge. I want to soak up the scenery, food, language and all the subtleties that Taiwan has to offer. I want to share it with all of you.

I will be in Taiwan for almost three weeks and will try my best to share my experiences with you as soon as possible. But at the moment, I have to go. My flight leaves at 7:50 tonight and I have not finished packing!

P.S.: I was recently informed that Jeb Bush Jr. will be joining me on the trip. The more the merrier.

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