Jen-Chien Hsu, also known as Jay, took a brave step and moved from Taiwan to the United States to study English. Because of his commitment, he is now living his dream of working as an interpreter for Taiwanese baseball players in America.
From Taiwan to the U.S.
Jay’s journey to the United States begins in 2004 when he was finishing his service in the Taiwan army. In order to improve his English skills, Jay studied with a private tutor, Paula Moore, who is now the current director of the English Language Institute Special Programs department. After trying to decide what to do next in life, Jay followed Paula’s suggestion to study at the English Language Institute in Springfield, Missouri. Jay had family in the U.S., and he knew that English was an important skill to learn, so he moved away from his home and began a new journey in life.
Years of Growth
In the spring and summer of 2005, Jay studied at the English Language Institute. After finishing his studies there, he began working on his Bachelor’s degree at Missouri State University-West Plains. Throughout his undergraduate career, Jay grew tremendously in English, academics, music, and self-confidence.
During his first year at West Plains, Jay had a roommate from Korea. Since he and his roommate did not share a native language, they had to practice English. As a result, Jay’s speaking and listening skills greatly improved, and he recognized the importance of overcoming fears about learning a new language.
In addition to his English experiences, one of Jay’s most memorable moments of inspiration and growth is from his music experiences at Missouri State’s Springfield campus. Growing up, Jay played piano and trumpet, but he would always get nervous when he was performing. As a college student, he learned from his band directors, Drs. Prather and Grant, that you have to do what you can to prepare for a performance. Then, when the day of the recital or concert comes, all you need to do is enjoy it. This advice followed Jay into his performances with Missouri State’s Pride Marching Band, concert band, and jazz band.
Finding His Place
In addition to studying English and music, Jay took classes in hospitality, administration, and finance. After switching his major a couple times, he chose to get his degree in Entertainment Management. With this major, he was able to pursue his true passion: sports.
Jay intentionally sought to build a variety of skills related to his Entertainment Management major. In 2007, he joined the Missouri State Club Baseball team to make friends and improve his English. He also worked with the custodian at the Hammons Student Center and JQH Arena, helping run concerts and events such as Disney on Ice.
In 2009, Jay got an internship with the Springfield Cardinals, a local Minor League Baseball team. In 2010, he interned as a Sales and Marketing Associate for the Springfield WolfPack, an indoor football league. After much hard work and dedication, he graduated from Missouri State with his Bachelor’s degree in 2011.
After graduation, Jay began the challenge of looking for a job and submitted his resume to several baseball teams including the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburg Pirates. Thanks to a connection with a Taiwanese friend, Jay got an interview in October 2011 with the Pittsburg Pirates. On November 1st, he moved to Branditon, Florida to work as an interpreter for left-hand pitcher Wei-Chung Wang and catcher Jin-De Jhang at the Pirates’ training facility there.
Since 2011, Jay has moved around and also worked for the Milwaukee Brewers, and he even did translation work for the Taiwanese Professional Baseball Player Association and several baseball clinics in Taiwan. In 2018, he began working for Minnesota Twins right-hand pitcher Kai-Wei Teng where he works today.
Living the Dream
Jay’s life has been an incredible journey of risks, bravery, and dedication. Despite the struggles that came, he pushed ahead and chose to be the best he could be as he studied English, music, and entertainment management. Because of his passion and hard work, he is now living his dream.
See what Jay had to say to these interview questions:
What is your favorite thing about your job?
“Share the American life experience with Taiwanese player. Help them learn to communicate with the culture. Right now they need help to find out everything. I know the feeling. They are scared to speak.”
What is the hardest thing about your job?
“Doing the teacher thing. These three players are three kinds of personality. Sometimes you need to remind them, sometimes you need to not baby sit. If I didn’t let them try themselves, after couple years, they won’t know how to do things on their own, then I am failed of my job! So finding the balance between dependent and let them go – this is not easy, and I’m always doing my best to look for it.”
What would you tell an English language learner?
“I would encourage them to come to Missouri State, to come to ELI.”
“Find a movie or TV show that you like and use English subtitles. Paula used Friends for me. In 2007, I started to take out the subtitles.”
“If we study English in Taiwan, we focus on reading and writing, but if you come to the States, you need to use English in everyday life. If they come to ELI, they have more chance to speak it out.”
Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up?
“The communication part was very hard for me in 2005, even though I went to class at the ELI every day.”
“When I was in jazz band in my first year, 2005, I would stand outside and I was afraid to go in because I was late for the class. I gave up because I don’t have the brave to go in talking to the teacher. When I came back to Springfield in September 2007, I restarted to find out the process how to do it and have more confidence to speak my thoughts out.”
“It was not easy for me to go into classroom without any Asian in the beginning. I did give myself a small goal to achieve it in every semester, like how minor league players to challenge themselves by every level of the minor league system: Rookie to A to Double A to Triple A, then make the big league! If I didn’t do it, I think I won’t have chance to work in my dream.”
“Wherever I go, Springfield, MO is always my hometown in the State! MSU and ELI is always my home.”
Find out more about Special Programs and the opportunities we have. We would love to help you reach your dreams, too!