“To be surrounded by one of the oldest cultures in the world, breathtaking views, and a nation filled with some of the most kind and generous people I have ever met was an unforgettable experience. There are parts of the world from which we have much to learn. The simplistic way of life and value of good moral character that much of the Chinese culture embraces, are things that will resonate with me forever. It was a privilege to experience China’s beauty.”
Taiwan is a nation integrating multiple Asian cultures, including native Taiwanese, Japanese, Chinese, and many Southeast Asian countries. The practice of Exercise Science and Wellness is deeply affected by the diversity of cultural background and therefore Taiwan is an ideal place for students to experience and observe how culture influences physical activity, dietary, and health behaviors. The trip will focus on experiencing and observing the wellness programs and activities in urban (Taipei and Kaohsiung) and suburban (Kenting and Beitou) settings. It will also include historical and cultural sites to deepen students’ understanding and appreciation for Asian culture and people.
- Taipei City: the capital of Taiwan. Students will observe and experience the wellness programs in an international Asian metropolitan city. Students will observe and experience the hardware and software of the wellness program in Taipei City.
- Kaohsiung City: the second largest industrial city in Taiwan, has the nation’s longest bike and exercise trail connecting major parks, recreational areas, and scenery sites across the city. The Wellness program has been one of the main focus of the city government. Students will observe and experience the hardware and software of the wellness program in Kaohsiung City.
- Kenting National Park: located in Southern Taiwan, Kenting National Park contains both ocean and mountain resources. Kenting has beautiful tropical beaches and diverse water activities. Just at the other side of the beaches, there are mountains for hiking. Students will experience the physical activities and observe the recreational industry in the National Park area in South Asia.
- Beitou: a suburban mountainous area right next to the capital district, Beitou reserves a tremendous geothermal energy that allows this area to become one of the most popular Hot Spring recreational sites outside of Japan. Students will experience the Asian “hot spring culture” and the use of the natural resource for the wellness purpose.
This trip is a component of the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 sections of course – ES111, ES330, ES325, and ES350. For those not enrolled in ES111, ES325, ES330, or ES350, a brief workshop will be held prior to the trip to provide the basic knowledge of Health and Wellness programs. All students receive experiential learning credit for the program as well.
Dr. Vincent Chen, Assistant Professor of Exercises Science, was born and raised in Taiwan. His research interests include Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Muscle Biology, and incorporating technology into training. With his experience of traveling to more than 12 countries around the world, Dr. Chen believes that broadening the point of view of students in health and exercise science by observing and experiencing different wellness practices around the world may help to develop effective health promotion programs to fight the overweight and obesity crisis in North America.
Dr. Michael Wortley, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, was born in western Pennsylvania, and while he has left the country a few times, he had spent most of his life in a comfortable east coast bubble. Despite this, he is greatly looking forward to getting out of his comfort zone and, as Bill Bryson put it, “to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar that it is taken for granted.”