My name is Cheng-Tsung Pan, and most of my friends call me Pan because it is easier to pronounce. Some of my Spanish friends laugh when they are trying to pronounce my name because in Spanish, ‘pan’ means bread, and they think it is pretty funny! Some of my older friends often want to pick a good English name for me. Sometimes they call me “Peter Pan” because of my last name. It’s easy to remember, but I’m not sure it leaves the best impression of me. Honestly, Peter was my very first English name when I was 11 years old. My elementary English teacher picked it for me!
Pan, bound for Washington next fall, earned top-3 finishes this year at the Scratch Players Championship and Azalea Invitational, and was medalist at the Western Amateur. He made it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur in 2007.
Ok, enough about my nam. I am from Taiwan, and I have been in the United States for three years. I go to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. I have a big family – four sisters and one brother – and I am the youngest kid in my family. When I was five, my parents introduced me to golf. My mother used to work at a golf club as a caddie. In Taiwan, players are required to use a caddie to play a round of golf. Because of my mom’s job, I had a solid basic understanding about golf. My father was a golf lover as well, so he always brought me to the golf course with him to practice. This was the start of everything. I really appreciate that they gave me this chance to play every day to fulfill my life’s dream. Moreover, I have verbally committed to the University of Washington. I am going to be one of the Huskies! I am really excited at the thought of going to college and playing golf.
Today, I want to share my experience of living in a foreign country with all of you. I felt brave in making my decision to leave Taiwan. Three years ago, I decided to come to the United States because I believed that the most competitive tournaments and best players were here. Also, I knew that I had to leave to see what the world was really like beyond Taiwan.
Things did not go so easily for me in the beginning. I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered, especially the language difference. I took ‘English as a Second Language’ classes in my first year, but it was very difficult to express myself and communicate with my teacher. I remember that in the first class, the only words I could say were “yes” or “no.” I was the only student in the class at the time, so the teacher paid extra attention to me. I could not even try to be quiet or hide. I had to speak and concentrate all the time. Once, the teacher asked me to write a one-page short story about the relationship between Taiwan and China. I know it may sound easy, but for me it took two hours to write a paragraph, not even a page!
What makes me so proud is that in three years I have learned how to speak and write well enough to share my experiences with you! It is a great life achievement for me. In the future, I will share more about myself, my golf experiences, social life and student life with you.