Happy game-week, Falcons fans! Today, I'm continuing my interview series. I sat down with rookie Cindy L., who hails all the way from Taiwan! I asked her a few questions about growing up across the world, what her life is like now that she's in Georgia, and what it was like to make AFC. Keep reading and learn more about the beautiful Cindy!
Sara D.: Cindy! I know you aren't from Georgia ... or the US! Tell me about growing up in Taiwan.
Cindy L.: I grew up in a big family, and lived with my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Every Chinese New Year there were about 30 people gathered in my house to celebrate. I guess that's the reason I am a family-oriented girl! I started dancing at the age of 3 because my mom wanted me to stay in shape and be healthy. It's safe to say I fell in love with it, and since then I haven't been able to stop. In middle school, I attended a special program concentrating on dance; specifically, Chinese dance, contemporary dance, and ballet were my "majors." At the same time, I had to maintain good grades in my school-work. When I went to high school, I was lucky enough to score a decent grade on the entrance exam and got into the best girls' high school in my city. After attending two years of high school I came to the States with permanent residency.
SD: What a cool story. So, tell me the next step. How did you decide to go to Georgia Tech?
CL: Georgia Tech has an excellent engineering program and is consistently ranked as one of the best among the universities around the world. It also has a beautiful campus that I fell in love with after my first visit. I also have Georgia residency and was eligible to apply for the HOPE scholarship and reduce the financial burden on my family.
SD: That's great! Tech is a wonderful school and it's important to love where you live! What was the big move to Georgia like? What was the transition like?
CL: It was extremely different and not easy. Food choices are different; places are far away from each other; I only had a few friends to talk to. Among all difficulties, the language barrier was probably the biggest challenge I had to conquer. I can still recall when I first came here. Lots of times, I had to use gestures to communicate with my friends and teachers in the school. Now, in retrospect, it was quite entertaining! Of course, without my parents' being here with me, everything was extra difficult. I remember one time I completely broke down because I was so stressed out, and cried on Skype in front of my mom and grandma! I think they missed me too. They both cried with me! As time goes on, though, I become more used to the difference and I have become more independent!
SD: I can't even imagine being so far away from my family! I know they're so proud of you, though! Ok, so tell me, what are you studying at Tech and what drew you to it?
CL: I am currently studying Industrial and Systems Engineering. Tech has the best program in the country!
SD: You smarty-pants! I love it! What are your plans after graduation, if you have any?
CL: For now, I am considering applying to graduate school concentrating in supply chain engineering. If it doesn't work out, I'll be working to gain some work experience and then pursue an MBA degree in the near future.
SD: That's great! Such big things in your future! I know you were on GT's Gold Rush dance team — how did you decide to try out?
CL: After high school, I just couldn't imagine life without dance, especially since I have been doing it for my whole life. After searching online, I was ecstatic to find out about Georgia Tech's dance team. I did not join right away because I missed the audition my freshmen year and had to wait for a year to try out! It was definitely worth it though!
SD: What was the reaction when you told your family about making the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders?
CL: My parents are not familiar with American football so they weren't super excited about it when I first told them. After I explained more about AFC, I can feel that they are very proud of me and will try to find me on ESPN in Taiwan (Hopefully they'll show some Falcons games there!) On the other hand, my older brother, who studied here and received his master's degree in the USA, was ecstatic when I told him that I made AFC! He found it hard to believe and was telling his friends that his little sister is famous! Oh, I love my family!
SD: I am sure they are all incredibly proud! What's your favorite quirky difference between Taiwan and the US?
CL: There are not as many scooters here as there are in Taiwan. The drivers in Taiwan have to fight for the lane with the scooters!
SD: What do you miss most?
CL: Food! Taiwanese food is amazing and unique. If you have a chance to visit Taiwan, I recommend that you go to night markets in different cities and try special local street foods. Stinky tofu, Taiwanese deep fried chicken breast, basil fried chicken nuggets, bubble tea, etc. They are usually tasty and cheap!
SD: Quick! Give me one fun fact about you.
CL: I love "Hello Kitty!" I have "Hello Kitty" everywhere in my apartment and my car. My mom actually just sent a lot of Hello Kitty stuff to me from Taiwan — a car windshield shade, mini trash can and traveling kit. It sounds crazy, right? And now you know what to get for my birthday!