The flexibility of KBS allowed Ben to take advantage of serendipity. Ben first traveled to Shanghai for an internship, conducting market research on solar panels and digital products. Thanks to a happenstance meeting there, and to his Taiwanese mother who had taught him Mandarin Chinese, Ben was recruited as an English conversation partner for Wen Zhang, a renowned movie actor. Ben quickly called Marianne Lewis, the Director of KBS, and they developed a plan for him to stay in China longer.
Once on the job, Ben’s roles expanded. He started helping the director, Stephen Chou, with translations. Ben was even listed in the credits for “Journey to the West” as “Special Assistant” and was called to be a celebrity guest judge on the Chinese equivalent of an “American Idol” show.
Ben has since returned to China as a co-op, and is looking forward to life there after graduation. Ben says there is “no doubt I want to work abroad in China, Shanghai especially. I want to put my skills to the test.” When he returns to UC for his senior year, he is looking to add a minor in Asian studies and perhaps learn another Chinese dialect, like Cantonese. He also now enjoys taking acting classes at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music.