top of page

Interview with Winston Guo
Entering American campuses and workplaces, the dream-building process under cultural collision


Editers | Chao-Tung Ting, Shao-Kai Huang

Basic Introduction

Winston Guo graduated from the Department of Power Machinery at Tsinghua University and then obtained a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He currently works at General Motors as a Simulation Integration Engineer. While studying at National Tsing Hua University, he served as the leader of the power team of the first National Tsing Hua University Racing Factory and participated in the Japanese FSAE competition with the team. After being exposed to the student formula, he unexpectedly discovered his love for the automotive field and decided to go to the United States for further studies after graduation to get a glimpse of the forefront of the industry!


2022 - Present Worked at GM as Simulation Integration Engineer

2019 - 2022 Worked at Aptiv as ADAS Algorithm Developer

2017 - 2019 Studied at the University of Michigan, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Master's Degree

2016 - 2017 Military service and application preparation period

2012 - 2016 Studied at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering

Section Summary

  1. The starting point of the journey

    • The motivation for going to the United States for development

    • Arrangements for military service and study plans

    • Key points to consider when choosing a school or department

  2. Studying in the United States

    • Overcoming the adjustment period of living in a foreign country

    • Cracking the American Teaching Style

    • Differences in learning attitudes between Taiwan and the United States

  3. From students to working professionals: the difficulties faced by international students in finding jobs in the United States

    • Without identity, it is difficult to obtain a work visa

    • Companies focus on the purpose of work

    • Current state of the automotive industry

  4. The ideal is very rich, but the work content is often very skinny

    • Getting closer to your dream job

    • Observation on American Workplace Culture

    • A stranger in a strange land

  5. Summary

    • Advantages and Disadvantages of Studying and Working in the United States

    • Personal advice

The starting point of the journey - the budding motivation to go to the United States


Talking about the origin of his desire to study abroad, Wenyu said that the idea had sprouted in his mind since junior high school, but due to financial constraints and uncertainties, his ideal could not be realized. It was not until he joined the university's motorcade activities that he became interested in vehicle engineering and made up his mind to study abroad. When he was in his junior and senior years, he seriously considered studying abroad for graduate school, and began to improve his English and prepare to apply for schools.

Arrangements for military service and study plans

After graduating from college, Wen Yu faced the same problem of military service that every male student would face. Considering that the military service period at that time was relatively short, only four months, if he wanted to work abroad after graduating from graduate school and then return to Taiwan to serve in the military, it would affect his subsequent job search time and plans, so Wen Yu decided to complete his military service first and then go abroad to study.

During this period, he made a complete plan. He used this time to prepare for school applications before joining the army, completed the English test before enlisting, submitted the application materials during the military service, and successfully received the acceptance notice after completing the military service.

However, with the reform of military service, the length of service time will also make future juniors face a one-year gap. Regarding this, Wenyu believes that if you want to study abroad, you don’t need to stop. Although many people worry that delaying one year of study may affect their abilities and learning progress, Wenyu believes that this period of time also provides a rare time to relax, empty their mind, and think carefully. After entering the American study life, they will face greater pressure and challenges. This year of rest may be a good opportunity for physical and mental balance.

Key points to consider when choosing a school

Wen Yu mentioned that the professor's research projects and the school ranking were the factors that he considered when choosing a school to study in, as he believed that these two factors were of considerable importance to his personal development. When choosing a country to study in, Wen Yu weighed the overall economic environment, cultural openness, and work culture. Among many countries with mature automotive industries, he finally chose to study in the United States. The United States has an open culture, a high degree of ethnic integration, and a relatively high degree of acceptance in the future work environment.

Finally, Wenyu successfully started his study journey in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Those days when I was studying in the United States

When Wenyu first arrived in the United States, his first challenge was to adapt to the new environment.

Compared to Taipei, which has a dense concentration of convenience stores and a convenient living environment, the United States is vast, shopping and construction are not as sophisticated, and there are fewer food choices. Daily life must be communicated in English, which also made Wenyu, who had just arrived in the United States, go through a period of adaptation.

The first challenge - overcoming the language barrier

In campus life, Wenyu believes that the biggest challenge is that the classes are taught entirely in English. He often encounters words or expressions that he does not understand during class, which is also a problem faced by many Taiwanese international students. In response to this, Wenyu has his own set of solutions. He mentioned that many classes are now recorded. If they are not recorded, you can also record them yourself and save the audio files of the class. After class, you can replay the parts you do not understand when reviewing, so as to overcome the all-English classroom environment.

Is the moon rounder in foreign countries? Decoding the American teaching style

After two years of graduate school, Wenyu found that the theoretical knowledge taught in the United States was not more special or advanced. However, as a world power, the United States has an excellent advantage in expert resources and industrial foundation . Compared with Taiwan's education, there are more experts and resources in related fields, and the competition among professors is fierce. Professors are generally good at teaching, and many of them have published books. In fact, because the connection between professors and the industry is very strong, students can often learn in class through the professors' personal experience and obtain first-hand information.

Wenyu believes that during his study abroad in the United States, practical courses are the most valuable . Professors will set up a simulation environment to give students practical experience so that everyone can understand how it works. Although this type of course has more homework, it is still worth taking. In addition, the United States has more leading professional courses, new research and knowledge, and there may be no relevant experience or researchers in Taiwan at the same time. In summary, the learning resources in the United States are still richer and more solid than those in Taiwan.

Differences in learning attitudes between Taiwan and the United States: Focusing on one's own learning

Wenyu observed that most students in the United States pursue a master's degree out of interest and academic pursuits, which is different from the trend in Taiwan where most students pursue higher academic qualifications. International students in the United States also pay a considerable cost of learning, so they have a higher motivation to study, and the difference in learning attitudes is also reflected here.

The atmosphere among peers is good because everyone comes from different backgrounds and focuses on themselves, which reduces the comparison mentality among classmates and instead creates a healthy competitive mentality.

During his graduate school days in the United States, Wenyu often felt that he had a lot of homework and was always chased by time, which put him under considerable study pressure. However, he also had many different learning methods and ways of cooperation to deal with these pressures. Some students may prefer to cooperate with their classmates and share the study pressure through communication and mutual assistance with classmates, while others prefer to study independently, follow their own pace, and adjust their mentality.

Wenyu believes that if you have the ability to enter this school, you don't have to worry about not being able to graduate. The most important thing is to gradually find your own learning pace in the process.

From students to working professionals: the difficulties faced by international students in finding jobs in the United States

After the epidemic, the employment situation in the United States is relatively sluggish, and a large number of workers are facing the possibility of being laid off. In addition to the impact of the macro environment, international students face more challenges when fresh graduates are looking for jobs compared to local students. Next, we will take a look at the actual situation of job hunting in the United States in 2019 through Wenyu's personal experience of job hunting after graduation in the United States.
The stumbling block for international students in their job search: Residence visas

If a company wants to formally hire a foreigner, it must help to apply for a long-term residence visa. In addition to the cumbersome administrative procedures, additional fees are also required. Therefore, residence visas have become a stumbling block for international students to find jobs. As a foreigner, you must work harder to demonstrate your abilities during the interview.

“Why should the company hire me instead of other Americans?” Turn your resume into a compelling story

Wen Yu said: "The school's twice-yearly job fair is a valuable opportunity. Presenting the results of previous projects in the form of PPT can not only express your experience more specifically, but also leave a deep impression on the other party, making them feel that they can't live without you!"

Simply put, when looking for a job, it is not enough to simply write down your personal experience on your resume. The ability to tell a story in an appealing way is very important!

Wenyu shared that most companies in the United States pay great attention to personal motivation: Why do you want to take this position in our company? Why is this position in our company suitable for you? These two questions are crucial to the interviewer. When we really have clear ideas about these two questions, we can naturally give sincere and convincing answers.

Employment in the U.S. Automotive Industry in the Context of Time and Space

In 2018 and 2019, a large amount of hot money flowed into the self-driving car industry, and start-ups recruited a large number of talents related to the automotive field.

However, in recent years, as the industry has gradually matured and new technologies have not been valued by the market, the demand for talent has also dropped significantly. In such a prosperous market, most companies hope to find ready-to-fight talent. Wen Yu also believes that after graduating from university, working for a period of time before returning to graduate school, having work experience is also a good plus point, which is worth considering in depth.

The ideal is very grand, but the work is very skinny

In school, we often learn the latest knowledge in academia, but we have a relatively weak understanding of the actual work content. Will those cool knowledge really be implemented in work?
The gap between ideal job and reality

“Everyone dreams of being a developer of cutting-edge technology, but there are very few of these positions.”

In business, the focus of product development is mostly on how to scale up mass production, and general engineers usually focus on how to implement technology and develop new technologies with higher monetization capabilities. Everyone dreams of becoming a developer of cutting-edge technology, but these positions are rare.

Wenyu mentioned that the development of core technology is actually very difficult to achieve, and almost all of them require a PhD to have sufficient ability and opportunities. During the interview, Wenyu gave his advice, saying that you can first look at the requirements of your dream jobs and set them as long-term goals. At the same time, in the process of changing jobs, just like collecting seven dragon balls, you can collect them step by step, and slowly you will have the opportunity to enter the core of the industry!

Is the American worker's layoff nightmare real or fake?

When many people hear about working in the United States, they imagine intense competition and layoffs. But is this really the case?

In response to this question, Wen Yu replied, "Competition is indeed fierce in California. For example, there are companies like Netflix and Amazon that frequently lay off employees." Wen Yu also cited the example of his own company's GM, who did not have a layoff policy in the past, but recently introduced something like PIP (Performance Improvement Program). This shows that frequent layoffs are not a common culture of all American companies. It varies depending on the industry, and the company's leadership is also a key factor.

The overall employment environment in the United States is very diverse, and corporate culture is not monotonous. Ultimately, it all comes down to what kind of environment suits you. It all depends on personal choice.


After nearly eight years in the United States, Wenyu’s American dream began to take root when he was in junior high school. Working and living in the United States may seem beautiful and enviable, but the hard work and careful consideration of reality are the keys to realizing the dream.

Studying abroad is a huge investment. Wenyu reminds fellow students who are considering studying abroad that they must assess the risks and challenges they will encounter in the future, including market development trends, talent demand, and even salary levels. These are all factors that must be carefully considered on the road to pursuing their dreams.

bottom of page