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Student Spotlight: Albert Wang

May 31, 2024

Tin Pak of the UW Taiwan Studies Program was pleased to interview Albert Wang, a Global and Regional Studies Major with a focus on Taiwan, on his professional and academic experiences.



I was born and raised in Taiwan until I was 13 when I moved with my mother who started her masters in law at Berkeley, and my younger sister to the Bay Area for high school; the rest of my family lives in Taipei. I started studying at UW in 2022 as a political science major, but I didn’t enjoy the theory-heavy aspect of it so I switched to the Global and Regional Study major which seems a lot more contemporary in terms of courses offered. I am also planning on having a second major in economics because I want to expose myself to a diverse array of studies.


Why do you think the study of Taiwan is important?


I hope its safety and integrity can be protected through the study of Taiwanese affairs to further develop effective and enduring policies for Taiwan and its allies. I have a strong connection to Taiwan with it being the place where I grew up along with the majority of my family still living there. It is quite simple but this close relationship with the country serves as a strong emotional justification motivating me to want to study the country more. I also believe that Taiwan is underrepresented in the international community and often doesn’t receive the credit it deserves. Given Taiwan’s relevance and critical role in today’s geo-political climate, the fact that some of my friends in high school and college don’t even know where or what Taiwan is is quite surprising to me, which is another reason why I think Taiwan should be more widely studied. 


What was your experience like interning for the DPP during the run-up to the elections?


My time interning with the DPP during the Summer of 2023 was eye-opening. I was with the party’s dept. of international affairs, who is responsible for the party’s campaign diplomacy. Duties of the department included hosting meetings and conferences with foreign delegations and orchestrating VP Lai’s international press campaigns. My responsibilities included press article translation and note-taking during meetings with foreign delegations. I interned there from July to September, which was an intense period with events almost every other day since it was the run-up to the 2024 elections. 


What lessons did you gain from your time interning for the Formosan Association for Public Affairs?


My experience interning at the Formosan Association of Public Affairs during the Summer of 2023 (FAPA) was insightful. FAPA’s work includes congressional lobbying, grassroots advocacy, and gathering Congressional support for pro-Taiwan bills. My duties included foreign policy research, participation in Congressional meetings, editing publications, and coordinating community events. The best aspect of the internship was meeting with Congress members. The opportunity to see how they discuss issues and observe the nature of their interactions was very interesting. For instance, I got to have lunch with a Congresswoman from NJ who happened to be a member of the House’s Select Committee on the CCP. I shared my experience living in both Taiwan and the US with her, and she shared her experience of being a pilot in the US Navy. This interaction helped me understand that these high-level policymakers are just normal people, like a neighbor, who is serving the public. If I had to come up with one lesson I learned, I would say that grassroots advocacy is tedious but important. Many of the pro-Taiwan bills wouldn’t be on the radar of policymakers if it weren’t for FAPA advocacy. This group of Taiwanese Americans truly care about Taiwan, and they dedicate themselves without seeking an ambitious return. This echoes one of their major principles, “symbolism is substance,” that the sense of accomplishment isn’t determined by the monetary return, and it is instead based on a sense of service to Taiwan. 


How did Prof Lin’s JSIS 235 class contribute to your understanding of Taiwan’s political and social history?


Professor Lin’s JSIS 235 course I took last year was a class I found important. As something I often heard during my time interning at the DPP, people in my generation were born and raised in a free Taiwan. Taiwan’s freedom and democracy were something I completely took for granted. Professor Lin’s course not only highlighted the beauty of Taiwan but also spurred a deeper recognition of the hardship its people have gone through. I think I was lucky to take his course right before I started my internships with FAPA and the DPP because without knowing the brutal history of what is now a prospering nation, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the efforts of the people around me as much as I did. It made me feel that my work at these organizations had a very deep meaning and was continuing the legacy of those before us who sacrificed blood and pain for Taiwan.