Australian Office

Kuo Mei-fen

This week, ‘40 years, 40 stories’ brings you Kuo Mei-fen, a lecturer at Macquarie University's Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures, where she teaches and researches modern Chinese history with a focus on diaspora identity and transnational mobility. Dr Kuo, who was born in Taiwan and completed a master’s degree in history here, met her husband Eric Chen at the 2017 Australian Alumni Awards Gala Dinner. Dr Kuo became an Australian citizen in 2013. She shares her story.


I never thought I’d call Australia home when I first came to Australia as a PhD student in 2002.  I am deeply grateful for Prof John Fitzgerald’s guidance during my PhD. While studying at La Trobe University, I was surrounded by wonderful students and colleagues and overwhelmed by the generosity of my Italian-Australian host family in Melbourne. My friends and colleagues have been, in every way, at the centre of my journey.

In January 2017 I received a visiting fellowship at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica for four months. The fellowship also gave me a chance to visit my family in Taiwan. On 19 March I was invited to the Australian Alumni Awards Gala Dinner in Taipei, organised by the Australian Office and Trade and Investment Queensland. The night was one of the most magical moments of my life because it was there that I met my future husband, Eric Huang-ta Chen. His table was next to mine and we exchanged name cards. Since then we became best friends and got engaged in less than a year. I could not begin to describe my happiness at our engagement party.  Eric later moved with me to Brisbane and we now live in Sydney.

At Macquarie, I am currently working with one of my colleagues, Dr Roger Huang, on a project called ‘Taiwan's democratisation and implications for Australia-Taiwan relations from 1990s to the present’.  This research investigates whether Taiwan’s successful transformation and consolidation into a highly competent and robust democracy has had any observable and meaningful impact on Australia’s Taiwan policy.  We were fortunate to have received a grant from the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy to support this project.”