Many differences seen in Taiwan visitor's stay here

Jamie Theesfeld
Bo-Chien Lin of Taiwan (third from left) is staying in Galva with the Pankau family, (from left) Teri, Matt and Ron, during the current school year. Jordan, as he likes to be called, is noticing several differences between his homeland and the United States.

Bo-Chien Lin, a foreign exchange student from Taiwan, has been attending Galva High School for only about four weeks now, but has already noticed many differences from his native country.

Jordan, as he likes to be called because of his fondness of Michael Jordan, is in the U.S. through the Forte International Exchange Association (FIEA) program.

He is spending the school year with Ron and Teri (Overbaugh) Pankau and their son, Matt, a junior at GHS.

“I like the small town,” said Jordan, 15, who resides in Yuanlin, Taiwan, a city of 20,000 to 30,000, with his parents Fen-Lan Lai and Wan-Neng Lin and his sister, Jia-Jhen “Ellen.”

Ellen was a foreign exchange student last year in the U.S., attending a high school in Georgia.

Jordan’s parents own and operate a factory ? attached to their home ? that makes sporting goods clothing.

“It’s like a specialty shop for professional teams. They make and sell clothes to professional teams in Taiwan, mostly soccer,” explained Matt, who’s enjoying playing host brother for Jordan.

The educational system in the U.S. differs greatly from the one in Taiwan, said Jordan, a junior at GHS.

“Everything is different. In Taiwan, junior high school students study very hard because we have to take a senior high school entrance exam,” said Jordan, who graduated from a 3,000-student junior high school (grades 7-9) earlier this year.

“If we get a bad grade in the entrance exam, we can’t study in a good high school.”

Jordan will return to a senior high school when he returns home next year.

“We go to school from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” said Jordan, who’s still trying to master the English language. “That includes sports too.”

Jordan loves to play basketball and plans to become a member of the GHS varsity team.

“I play basketball with my friends (in Taiwan) every Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “Basketball is my favorite sport.”

Teri said Jordan is really looking forward to the basketball season.

“He loves playing basketball,” she said. “We had to move the basketball hoop back into the driveway.”

Jordan also likes baseball, boxing and tennis, and loves singing. He will be a member of the chorus while attending GHS.

Other courses he’s currently taking are Math IV, English I, Chemistry, American History and P.E.

Another big difference between schools in the U.S. and Taiwan is discipline, Jordan said.

“If you talk a lot or get in trouble, they give you an ‘F’ and beat you,” he noted.

Jordan experienced Galva’s homecoming two weeks ago and “had a blast,” according to his Teri.

“They don’t have homecoming there so it was all new to him,” said Teri, who drove a truck with Jordan and Matt riding in its back. Both boys got into the traditional candy-tossing to youngsters. They also attended the homecoming dance with about 10 other friends.

Jordan has also enjoys driving Matt around in a golf cart; Matt’s a member of the GHS golf team.

Before basketball season begins, the Pankaus will take Jordan to Great America and to a horse show in Ohio.