I was born in Melbourne, Australia. My family is Taiwanese and moved to Australia for better business opportunities, before moving to Singapore a few years later. This allowed my brother and I to enroll in one of the world’s best education systems. I associate Melbourne with my childhood memories, Singapore with my English comprehension and vocabulary skills, and Taiwan with my family memories.
Influencing hearts and minds
From an early age, Fiona has grown up in diverse contexts and surroundings. The Taiwanese student was born in Melbourne because of her family’s business venture and moved to Singapore for her early education. In the 2010s, after almost two decades living away from home, her parents decided to move back to Taiwan. Now, Fiona’s based in Spain where she’s enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.).
IE University caught her eye when she was attending her former high school’s Annual College Fair. She immediately contacted the representatives of IE University at the fair, eager to continue developing her Spanish skills and step outside of her comfort zone for this next big life stage. Fiona’s application was successful, and she was even awarded a four-year scholarship for academic excellence.
She jokes that she can “proudly say that my college application acceptance rate is 100%.” This is because she only applied to IE University—she was always certain exactly where she wanted to go. After arriving, it immediately lived up to expectations, and she says she found it to be a very open institution. People were eager to share their contact details, often within the first three minutes of meeting them!
As for the program itself, Fiona cites a number of reasons for her choice. She sees many opportunities for women today in the legal sector and she also appreciates the importance of developing professional skills that are valuable at an international level. This is an area in which IE University’s program particularly excelled, as it follows a comparative approach that allows students to learn about various countries’ jurisdictions.
At the beginning of 2020, Fiona was one of the students whose degrees were impacted by the global pandemic. But not only did she take this unfortunate situation in her stride, she also sees it as a point of pride in the institution itself. When asked about the University’s response to the crisis, she said, “It was fearless, knowing that as long as they take the necessary precautions, learning shall not be disrupted by the pandemic.”
She goes on to make special mention of the hybrid learning which allowed individuals to join class, even if they weren’t able to make it in person. Fiona also credits their responsiveness to feedback. Just after returning to campus, the screen that displays the remote students was placed at the front of the classroom, meaning the professors often had to turn their back on the in-person students. After communicating this to the tech team, Fiona says they immediately took action to rectify the situation.
Outside of the classroom, Fiona has decided to run for StuGov president, alongside her partner Pedro. Their goal is to continue improving the general environment at the University to better accommodate students and their needs. She says the experience took her out of her regular environment and gave her the opportunity to learn more about students from other degrees.
One of Fiona’s defining characteristics is her thirst for knowledge, which manifests itself in her rather unconventional hobby: scouring Wikipedia for information. She can spend hours reading about all kinds of subjects, and is particularly curious about historical leaders. Aside from this, she enjoys running and, after COVID-19 prevented her from going outside for a while, working out on the rowing machine.
Looking beyond her time at IE University, Fiona appreciates how the program is preparing her for the future. She has been able to take part in the Legal Clinic, which has allowed her to work with a real company even though she’s only in her second year. The experience she’s gained with a global data foundation that specializes in the neurotechnology industry will be invaluable for future prospects. Aside from this, Fiona has worked for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry France Taiwan, and is set to collaborate with one of her professors to gain experience over summer. When combined with the various Moot Courts and law challenges on offer, graduation is sure to be a stepping stone to a long and successful career.
As for her plans for the future, Fiona sees herself pursuing a career in Taiwainese politics. She says that inconsistent political stances have led to people losing common ground on subjects, their sense of identity and their national pride. With the goal of “solidifying people’s hearts and minds,” she seeks to make people proud to be Taiwanese.