International student reflects on Murray

Story by Abby Siegel, Assistant News Editor


After nearly completing three semesters at Murray State, Hsin Pei Tsai, “Perry,” freshman from Taipei, Taiwan, isn’t ready to say goodbye to his time as a Murray State Racer.

So he has decided not to by extending his time at the university. Tsai completed a one-year program as an international exchange student, taking courses that would transfer back to his university in Taiwan. He decided this wasn’t enough for him and became a full-time Racer instead, double majoring in marketing and biology with hopes to one day become a pilot. His interests are wide and he said Murray State offers majors he cannot pursue in his home country. In the business college at his Taiwanese university, there are only five majors, including finance and international business.

Each major has about 200 or 300 students, making the class sizes very large, Tsai said.

Although his ultimate career goal and current majors don’t align perfectly, Tsai said he continues to pursue them because he finds them to be interesting.

“I want to learn more interesting things and learn more about American culture,” Tsai said.

On his Thanksgiving Break, Tsai cooked three dishes for the family that hosted him including curry, rice and vegetarian dishes. Despite loving food from his own culture, he has a newfound love for turkey and casseroles.

“America has many, many kinds of casserole and they are all delicious,” he said.

He also went Black Friday shopping at Target, purchasing a heavy coat because last winter he almost got frostbite when he experienced snow for the first time.

Every Saturday, Tsai cooks at Winslow and this is where he has met many friends from different cultures such as Japan, China and India.

“We cook dishes from our countries and that is what makes it an interesting and exciting job,” he said. “I am very appreciative of my manager who gives me this experience.”

Sunday mornings, a bus from First Baptist Church picks him up in front of Franklin Residential College and takes him to the service. Tsai described Christianity in Taiwan as “brainwashing.” Here, he has experienced the Christian faith on a deeper level, “from the bottom of the heart” and a faith “out of admiration for God,” he said.

He also is involved in a Bible study for international students through the Baptist Campus Ministry where he has made many friends and learned about religion.  He plans to continue to study hard over the next three years. More excitedly, he anticipates learning how to play American-style football.

“My first time to see a football is here,” he said. “I really want to try.”

He is involved in other intramural sports through White Residential College such as volleyball and softball. He said he is considering playing basketball but is nervous because he isn’t as tall or strong as other players.

Tsai returns to Taiwan once every six months to see his family. This winter he will return to extend his visa so he can stay for three more years to complete his studies.

His time as a Racer has just begun.