Love Boat Taiwan: Interview with Asian American Studies Professor and Filmmaker Valerie Soe Ep 66

10 March 2020

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

For many overseas born Chinese and Taiwanese, the Love Boat Taiwan language culture study program was quite the cultural phenomenon and rite of passage. We are dedicating two episodes of Talking Taiwan to the topic. The first will feature Asian American Studies professor and filmmaker Valerie Soe who’s made a documentary film called Love Boat: Taiwan. Learn more about the Love Boat program, the lasting impact on its participants- college and high school-aged individuals away from home for 6 weeks in Taiwan. It was the quintessential summer camp experience.

What’s interesting to me is that the Love Boat program, which was started and run by the Chinese Nationalist government (aka the Kuomintang) set out to aggrandize the Republic of China (which at one time claimed to rule all of China), but instead, what it seems to have done is to solidify the difference between Taiwan and China in the minds of Love Boat participants.

In the next episode of Talking Taiwan, I’ll be speaking with New York Times Bestselling author, Abigail Hing Wen, a Love Boat alum herself about her debut young adult novel, Loveboat, Taipei.

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • What the Love Boat program is
  • How the Love Boat got its nickname
  • How the program evolved over time
  • The lasting relationships and Love Boat alumni connections
  • Selection of the Love Boat program counselors
  • Escape routes that Love Boat program attendees used to sneak out at night
  • The Baby Boat or Tugboat program
  • Typical rites of passage for the Love Boat participants
  • Why Valerie had to stop working on the documentary for a year
  • How to raise money for an independent documentary film
  • What advice Valerie has for documentary filmmakers
  • What Valerie would like people to take away from her film
  • The influential alumni of the Love Boat program

Related Links:

Love Boat: Taiwan website:

Love Boat: Taiwan Facebook page:

Love Boat Study Tour Wikipedia page:

Love Boat: Taiwan trailer:

Valerie’s blog:

Love Boat television show theme song:


Our Talking Taiwan listeners may be interested in these related posts:


Grace Lee: Documentary Filmmaker on A-Doc Ep 76


Auntie Sewing Squad Combats Covid-19 One Mask at a Time Ep 75


Love Boat Taipei: An Interview with Best Selling Author Abigail Hing Wen Ep 67