One year ago I decided to study abroad in England, both academically to learn about Film, and personally to explore my interests. It was the best decision I have ever made. There were plenty of cultural wonders; crafts, architecture, historical castles, marvelous cathedrals, and attractive pieces of art. The views of nature were also stunningly beautiful over in England, although, the way that livestock stands in fields there drew my attention as well. After all, you don’t see this view in my home country of Taiwan quite so often.

My goal of observing various films and art forms was the first thing that made me want to go to the UK. When I was there I attended a few small premieres, various screenings, and occasional film events in a coffee shop that was hidden down a small side street. I watched films, both long and short, everywhere I could, whether it was in shops or small exhibition halls. Of course, we have similar arts events in Taiwan, but most of them will cost you a fortune to attend. That isn’t to say I’m not willing to pay for tickets or that free events are instantly better, but for me, art is meant to be about its proximity to the lives of people. It exists so that we can build a connection between each other. When more people start to appreciate the arts, the values art carries reach further as well.

When I moved to England I started to watch theatre, including various dramas and a number of musicals. I had not had many opportunities to get in touch with this type of art before, in all honesty there had almost been no chances at all. During my life before moving to England it was difficult to appreciate the arts unless you were part of a particular family, had a relevant job, or lived in a major city. However, this did not change how much I instantly loved theatre when I saw it in London. I can still remember one of the most important pieces of theatre I saw; War Horse. It was the first time I have ever experienced the feeling of someone breaking the fourth wall.

Taiwan Collage

Chen Teng Yen

After a year in England I landed upon the fields of Taiwan once again. As soon as I set down an unspeakable feeling came over me. I was reminded of how long it had been since I had walked on this incredible land. To see the views and people I had seen hundreds or thousands of times once again, especially the faces of my family, was incredible. Of course, I was also enamoured with my favorite aspects of Taiwan; traditional holidays and celebrations. Have you ever experienced smog circling around your house but the smoke alarm does not chime? (Of course, there is no cause for concern, this is only the smog from burning incense) Have you ever seen a table full of food made to honour your ancestors? Have you ever been able to ask ancestors you have never met to pray for safety and fortune for your whole family? Personally I know I am very lucky to be a part of all of this!