Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A surprise visit

Peter, one of my former students, surprised me last week. As always, he finds a time to visit me whenever he is in SF. One of the best gifts for a teacher is to hear from graduates. Surprisingly, not many of them would contact their teachers after they graduate.

Peter took a class from me more than 10 years ago. While he was an undergrad student in the Broadcasting Department, he saw the future with digital media. His department at that time taught radio and TV programming, but his keen sense told him that he needs to go outside of his major to learn about new media. When he showed up in my multimedia course, my class was full. We usually can’t take undergraduate students in our department due to the limited number of computers in the lab.

When I told him that there is no room in the class, he looked so sad. I told him he should come back next week, and check if any student might drop the course. No one dropped. I told him that he has to work with his own computer and also I told him that he has to work hard to keep up with graduate students. He worked harder than anyone I knew in that course. I still remember, for his final project, he turned in a movie length multimedia project.

I was impressed with this young undergrad. To make a long story short, after Peter finished his BECA degree, he came to our department for his master’s degree in Instructional Technology. In 2002, he went on to get his from University of Idaho. While he was working on his doctorate degree, we stayed in contact for a while. I didn’t hear from him for a few years.

A few years ago, I got a phone call from him and said that he became a professor in Taiwan. He wanted to invite me to his university. That was in 2008. I visited Taiwan for the first time, I enjoyed the visit immensely. He arranged me to speak at several universities, and he made a plan for me to see the beautiful island, Taiwan. I enjoyed soaking in the famous hot spring, hiked on the most beautiful mountain that I ever saw, met so many wonderful students, and his colleagues who became my Facebook friends now.

Peter called me last Friday (April 2, 2010), and told me he is in US for two days. I invited him to my home and we had a lunch together. Our conversation covered from work, research, family, electron gadgets, religions, travel, and food. What a blessing to have a friendship like this. We are planning to do a research project together, so I can visit Taiwan again. I hope that day will come soon. Mean while I need to pack my bag for a visit to Korea in May.