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Student pursues dream of discovery in Australia

The China Post--She sat at the back of the class agitated, as she has always been, longing to hear the school bell after hours-long lectures of literary classics. She might not be stunned by the romantic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet,” or epic poems “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” but Miranda Chen has always carried a heart that craved discovery and learning, although she often sought such things in places outside the confines of the four-corner classroom. At the tender age of 22, her journey to self discovery was never a walk in the park, but it was a dream that she knew had to be fulfilled.

And so the day came that must have seemed like kismet for Miranda. Walking through the school's corridors two years ago, she picked up a copy of a magazine, sat still for an hour or so in a coffee shop, and after going over the pages, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. “I was not really into English Literature, but I knew I had to finish the four-year course in school and it frustrated me. I chanced upon a magazine's special edition for education and it featured stories on how young people around the world travel to know themselves, to learn and gain experience, and I said to myself 'This is it! I know what I want to do!'”

The excitement in Miranda's own eureka moment dwindled when she started to realize she was quite unsure how to pursue it. She recalled thinking, “I'm only a poor student, how will I manage to do it? And because I was so determined, I decided to talk to my parents, but they didn't listen. So I wrote them a letter and did research on Australia, about how their government was offering a work-holiday visa.”

Four months and seven pages of hand-written letter later, Miranda had the go signal from her parents but faced strong opposition from her grandfather, whom she referred to as the head of the family. “But I knew, if I could convince my father, I could convince him too,” added Miranda. With the help of an uncle living in Australia for 15 years, Miranda succeeded in persuading her grandfather.

The Outback Odyssey

With bags packed and “feeling nothing sentimental just pure excitement,” Miranda arrived in Australia and started going to an English school with a Taiwanese friend. During free time, they traveled around until her friend went back to Taiwan after two months of schooling. “I started to panic! It was the start of the real adventure!” she exclaimed.

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This undated picture shows Miranda Chen holding a copy of her book titled “19歲的世界,旅行” during an interview done by a campus reporter at National Chengchi University in Taipei. ...

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