The USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies kicked off the Fall 2020 semester, as usual, with our Fall Welcome! In a fun event designed to celebrate Asia Pacific Studies at USF, this semester’s online event featured the directors of Asia-related programs at USF who shared program highlights, an amazing DIY boba-making demonstration, and a chance for students to win gift cards to the USF Bookstore.
Last Tuesday, we welcomed students back to our “virtual campus” with an online event that put a spotlight on some of the wonderful Asia-related organizations and programs at USF, and laid out what they have to offer in the coming semester. Aside from the Center for Asia Pacific Studies, Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, and the MA in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS) programs were all represented.
After a brief welcome from the Center’s Executive Director Melissa Dale, we learned about the Asia-related programs offered by USF and the key features of each. Professor Dale highlighted the Center’s upcoming events including the September 15th talk on AI in China with Matt Sheehan, while Professor Cynthia Schultes focused on the application process & benefits of the Asia Bridge Junior Fellows program for undergraduate students interested in doing Asia-related research. MAPS Program Director Professor Genevieve Leung shared an introduction to the MAPS program & the 4+1 program which allows undergraduates to optimize their academic journey and come out of 5 years with a masters degree! Then Professors Wei Yang Menkus (Asian Studies & China Studies) and Noriko Nagata (Japanese Studies) gave an overview of the positive experiences of students who choose to study in their programs.
We were thrilled to feature Juju, a local entrepreneur and creator of Bobamade, who taught us how to make DIY tapioca pearls, or “boba” at home with only three ingredients: tapioca flour, brown sugar, and water (insert link here?). In her demonstration, she shared the story of how pearl milk tea was first created at Chun Shui Tang in Taichung, Taiwan. Originally a topping to various other desserts, a drink shop owner put the “pearls” or zhenzhu (珍珠) into her drink, and the rest is history! She also taught us that the word “bubble” in “bubble milk tea” refers to the froth or “bubbles” that typically topped of the original drink, not the tapioca pearls themselves. Thanks for enlightening us, Juju! Check out her recipes, cooking demonstrations, and fun boba-related merchandise here.
In the spirit of our typical kickoff events, which usually features Asia-related lawn games and trivia on Gleeson Plaza, the event wrapped up with a fun Kahoot! game to see who learned the most from the event. Three students took home a very useful prize–gift certificates to the USF bookstore!
Blog post by Serena Calcagno, 2nd year MA in Asia Pacific Studies program