The Taiwanese American Student Association, or TASA, is a dynamic and inclusive community that celebrates the cultural heritage of Taiwan while fostering connections among Taiwanese Americans within UCLA and in the wider Los Angeles community. As an organization that thrives on promoting cultural exchange, the activities, events and contributions all aim to generate relationships that last a lifetime, making it an essential part of many individuals’ collegiate experience. Whether you are a Taiwanese American or just curious about Taiwanese culture, join us in delving into the workings of the Taiwanese American Student Association.
TASA is a cultural club first founded in 2011 that aims to promote Taiwanese culture, history and traditions through the events it hosts. In the past school year, it has hosted various food events such as Make Your Own Boba, Mochi Making Workshop and Fantuan Night which have been popular amongst not only Taiwanese students but also those that are interested in Taiwanese culture in general. They also have a tradition of collaborating with other Taiwanese clubs throughout Southern California such as USC TAO, UCSB TASA, UCI TAO and UCSD in an annual event called Taiwanese Field Trip Invitational, also known as TFTI. These events aim to unite Taiwanese students that have come to the U.S. for university, as well as those of Taiwanese background that have grown up in the U.S. through various games and activities.
For many, becoming a Bruin was their first experience of separation from their parents, and like many other international students, their feelings of homesickness can be lessened by cultural communities like TASA. The club provides various smaller group structures to enhance the closeness of the individuals within. Every year, at the beginning of the fall quarter, they introduce their fam system, a system in which the larger group is broken into smaller ones that provide more frequent hang-outs, meet-ups and kickbacks for the members based on similarities of interests. There is also a big-little system in which more experienced TASA members, typically upperclassmen, are assigned to younger members to help familiarize them with the school or greater Los Angeles community. These structures are put in place to make the process of transitioning into university a less scary process all whilst being able to connect to aspects of their culture thousands of miles away.
The club has also taken steps towards expanding its influence and educating the wider collegiate audience. Back in 2022, after a four-year hiatus, TASA brought back Taiwanese Culture Night, or TCN. Inviting individuals from TASA, the Taiwanese Student Association and various students interested in Taiwanese culture, they collaborated in creating a show called “Make it With You.” The show highlighted the struggles of two high school students in the 1950s that face struggles of leaving their family and life behind in pursuit of a better life through the education that the U.S. offers. The play calls attention to the underlying obstacles that the characters face as they navigate the growing pains of relationships and what it means to be a filial daughter or son.
From cultural showcases and educational events to building lifelong friendships, TASA continues to make a lasting impact at UCLA. Their contributions serve as a testament to the value and importance of cultural diversity in creating a vibrant and inclusive campus community.
Photos courtesy of Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) at UCLA