你為什麼要去加拿大讀書啊 (博士篇)?


Q: Why did you study abroad in Canada?


A: In a previous installment of my ?mini-novel”, I shared why I chose to pursue my master’s degree in the United States. Today, I’d like to delve into my decision to continue my educational journey with a Ph.D. in Canada. After finishing my studies in the U.S. and returning to Taiwan, I found myself at a financial crossroads. I had drained my savings and was facing significant debt.


I knew going back to my former career in teaching, writing, and consulting wouldn’t be a quick fix financially. That’s when the idea of online courses resurfaced. I’d actually launched an online course as early as 2017, but it didn’t take off as I’d hoped. However, the market for online education had matured significantly by the time I returned from the U.S.


I spent around half a year researching, scripting, filming, and collaborating with a couple of director-producer friends from the University of Southern California (USC). With the additional help from the team at VoiceTube and YouTuber Ray Du, we successfully launched a well-received course. The enduring support from our fan page followers was also invaluable.


So, how does this tie into my second stint studying abroad? Well, for the first time in a while, I had a breather—a few months to contemplate my future. Should I produce more courses, go back to teaching, open a tutoring center, or keep consulting? None of these paths felt right, so I decided to pursue a Ph.D. and turn over a new leaf in my life.


The allure of academia beckoned. I thrive on the interaction with students, the exchange of ideas among colleagues, and the intellectual challenges it offers. Additionally, I’ve always been stubborn and ambitious. I come from a modest background—a low-income, single-parent family—but I’ve carved out a path for myself. I’m confident that, despite future challenges, I can achieve even more.


Before taking the leap, I revisited questions about my goals, potential locations, job opportunities, living conditions, finances, and family expectations. After weighing all these variables, I settled on the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. I strongly recommend that you make such a life-changing decision with others. A balanced view requires both the perspectives of insiders and outsiders. Unfortunately, as I was planning my move, the pandemic hit.


Life can indeed be unpredictable. So, while offering online courses on media literacy and critical thinking, I also spent an entire year writing a book and pursuing my Ph.D. online through synchronous courses (13-hour time difference). I won’t sugarcoat it; the first year was tough. But I persevered. Many say that completing a Ph.D. is less about intelligence and more about persistence. I wholeheartedly agree.

唉,有時真是人算不如天算。在開設新聞英文與批判性思考的線上課程時,我也花了整整一年的時間寫了一本書和以線上的同步方式修習博士學程。頭一年真的很艱難,修課內容跟我的碩士學位差很大,哲學性的內容既密集又抽象。這個學程實在異常艱深,我數度萌生放棄的念頭。幸好,我還是堅持了下來。有些人說,能念完博士不代表你有多聰明,而是反映出你有多固執。我還蠻同意這個看法的 ><

Once travel restrictions were lifted, my wife and I relocated to Vancouver. The transition involved the usual steps: setting long-term and short-term goals, securing housing, networking, and continually fine-tuning our plans. For me, Vancouver offers a different vibe than Los Angeles.


Living in Vancouver is a joy—the fresh air, verdant landscapes, convenient facilities, and diverse culinary scene are all perks. And work-wise, it’s a hub for international students from Japan, Korea, and China, presenting ample job opportunities that align with my skillset. I feel a sense of belonging here.


Before making Canada my home, I had spent considerable time in both Taiwan and the United States. But I had yearned for a more tranquil environment, away from the hectic city life. Vancouver offers a quieter pace, allowing me to concentrate on my studies and work while also providing a conducive setting for my family. No place is perfect, but for me, Vancouver comes close.


In short, my decision to pursue a Ph.D. in Canada was far from impulsive. It was a well-considered move to advance my education, career, and family life. Whether or not you’re at this crossroad, it’s a decision worth thinking over carefully, given its long-term implications and costs.


To be honest, before pursuing my doctorate, I never anticipated settling in Vancouver. Life is always filled with unknown possibilities, and once a choice is made, it may be difficult to turn back. I chose the road less traveled by (as there are indeed fewer pedestrians in Canada), and that has made all the difference. Regardless of the outcome, good or bad, as long as there are no regrets, it is all worthwhile.

坦白說,在攻讀博士之前,我從未料到會定居在溫哥華。人生總是充滿未知的可能,一旦作出選擇,就可能難以回頭。我選了一條人跡罕至的路 (因為加拿大的路人真的比較少) ,而這個決定顯然改變了我的未來。無論結果好壞,只要不感到後悔,就值得。

Curious to know more about life here in Vancouver? Stay tuned for updates. If you’d like this post in another language, please let me know.


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