To acquire wisdom, one must observe

The Taiwanese Student Association creates bonds through food and shows

The Taiwanese Student Association (TSA) at Brandeis University stands as a dynamic community committed to honoring Taiwanese culture and forging bonds among students who share appreciation for this culture. Despite the limited presence of Taiwanese students at Brandeis, TSA aims to raise awareness and contribute to the cultural scene at Brandeis with their Taiwanese traditions. TSA offers a wide range of events and activities that bring students together through celebrating Taiwanese heritage. 

Central to TSA’s mission is a commitment to enhancing the broader Brandeis community with the richness of Taiwanese culture. As stated by Kaitlyn Chien ’27, an event coordinator for TSA, “We try to put ourselves out there to share our food, share our music and share anything that we can to add to the diverse scene here at Brandeis.” Through a variety of events featuring traditional Taiwanese dishes and dynamic performances from both campus groups and beyond, TSA offers students a vibrant immersion into the cultural tapestry of Taiwan.

On March 16, TSA hosted one of its prominent events, Formosa, their very own culture show. This year’s Formosa revolved around the theme of the Dragon Boat Festival, serving as an opportunity for students to come together and commemorate this culturally significant occasion. The term “Formosa” originates from the Portuguese word for “beautiful,” a testament to the awe early Portuguese explorers felt towards Taiwan’s natural beauty. The Dragon Boat Festival, a traditional holiday celebrated in various Asian countries including Taiwan, provided the inspiration for this year’s Formosa theme, highlighting the cultural significance for each year’s themes.

Chien elaborates, “Our themes often carry deeper significance. I think this year was ‘unite’ because a huge part of the dragon boat festival is to come together and to push yourself to the limit in this dragon race.” Greg Wu ’26, the other TSA coordinator, further explains, “Last year’s Formosa also held profound meaning. In the previous year, our theme was ‘ignite,’ symbolizing the ignition of one’s passion. This concept resonates with the tradition of lighting paper lanterns, where individuals ignite flames under lanterns to symbolize their aspirations.”

Apart from major events like Formosa, TSA arranges smaller gatherings and activities throughout the year. Whether it’s shaved ice socials or boba tastings, these occasions create chances for students to engage, gain knowledge and enjoy themselves collectively. Chien observes, “It’s truly fulfilling to engage with everyone and witness their happiness as they immerse themselves in what our club has to offer.”

A distinctive feature of TSA lies in its inclusive and hospitable environment. Despite its focus on promoting Taiwanese culture, the club extends a warm invitation to students of all backgrounds to participate in its activities and embrace the TSA community. According to Wu, newcomers interested in joining TSA can begin by attending one of the TSA events open to the general board and the entire Brandeis community. He further emphasizes, “This club aims to promote Taiwanese culture for everyone. Membership in TSA is not exclusive to Taiwanese students.”

Looking ahead, TSA is excited to continue spreading awareness and appreciation for Taiwanese culture on campus and beyond. With upcoming events such as the shaved ice social in two weeks, the club is enthusiastic about offering more delectable treats and cultural encounters to the Brandeis community. Chien urges, “Keep an eye out for e-board applications on our Instagram. We would love to have new members because everybody is included.”

For students interested in exploring Taiwanese culture, TSA offers a welcoming community along with numerous opportunities to learn, connect and celebrate together. Both Chien and Wu speak to the camaraderie nurtured within the club. Wu highlights, “Meeting other Taiwanese individuals through TSA has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve formed friendships that extend beyond club activities, whether it’s playing basketball or simply hanging out.” Similarly, Chien expresses, “I genuinely made so many good friends here and I wouldn’t have met like half the people I’m friends with if it weren’t for TSA. TSA is really such a core to my Brandeis experience.” 

Whether it’s through delicious food, captivating performances or meaningful conversations, TSA brings students together and creates lasting memories for all who participate. To learn more about TSA and stay updated on upcoming events, follow them on Instagram @brandeis_tsa and if you’re interested in joining, be sure to stop by their booth at the next involvement fair. 

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