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Introduction of 2023 Global Young Entrepreneur Star: Crystal Bien

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Young Entrepreneur Star Crystal Bien Inspired by Faith to Share Wisdom through Her Art Platform RiverBien

Sola fide: Cultural Shock from Church while Pursuing a PhD in the U.S.

Crystal Bien, known for citing bible verses in her creative works, reflects on her journey within Christianity. She recalled that she always knew her mother was Christian, but for Crystal, her passion for church started in college, when peer influence led her to discover the positive values within Christianity.

In 2012, when Crystal arrived at Purdue University in Indiana for her doctoral studies, the transition proved challenging. The college town differed starkly from the vibrant city life in Taipei that she was used to. She had trouble adjusting to the biting cold, with temperatures plummeting to minus 20 degrees Celsius. Amid demanding coursework, she also grappled with teaching undergraduates, navigating the pressures of interacting with native English-speaking American students.

It was then that she decided to attend gatherings with predominantly white people. She wanted to improve her English speaking to better instruct her students. This was the revelatory moment, which she jokingly calls, a period of "culture shock."

During these church gatherings, Crystal noticed that many service members and volunteers are accomplished individuals outside the church. They, like Crystal, experienced immense stress from their jobs but are still able to make time to serve the churchgoers, predominantly international students, like her, who would leave Indiana after they graduate, seeking employment elsewhere.

Upon reflecting, she thought about the book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. In the book, the author talks about how givers are more impactful than takers and matchers. This understanding sparked a newfound appreciation for serving others in church and in school. It also planted the seeds for a later venture: RiverBien.

Sharing Life Stories: RiverBien is Created Out of Love for the Arts

Crystal thinks back to her passion for drawing and painting, which started when she was just a child. She had always believed that art would be her true calling. She admits that she was never formally trained in the arts but she always loved reading comics and her parents signed her up for many different art classes. This has ensured that her passion for drawing and painting remained a constant companion in every stage of her life.

When asked about what inspired her to establish RiverBien after she graduated, Crystal recalled a pivotal moment during her time at Indiana. During a sermon, a pastor posed a profound question: "Why do people face adversity?" Initially expecting a response centered on personal fortitude, she was surprised when the pastor answered, "Our hardships and setbacks can be blessings for others." This perspective led her to introspect, realizing that what she perceived as personal struggles were stories meant to resonate with others. She embraced the notion that sharing these narratives could foster empathy and enrich lives.

And so, while working in a high-stress Silicon Valley job, Crystal started sharing her creations on social media and she started connecting with amateur artists who resonated with her belief in sharing. Driven by their shared philosophy, these artists joined her journey, inspiring Crystal to establish a platform providing a stage for these artists to showcase their work.

RiverBien Hosts Art Exhibition in Taipei & Publishes New Illustrated Book for Art Education

Apart from organizing exhibitions, RiverBien actively participates in NPO fundraisers, remaining true to its core value of "sharing" and ensuring that their creations contribute to helping more people. This year, Crystal Bien delved into early childhood art education, guiding and encouraging children to explore the realm of art, and nurturing their confidence and creative abilities.

RiverBien also published its first book, an illustrated book titled Things I Wish I Knew Earlier. When asked about her inspiration, Crystal shared that she wanted to encourage her younger self and also share her wisdom with other young people as well so that they find answers and solace when faced with similar changes.

Crystal expressed that she was grateful and moved by OCAC's recognition in the form of the Global Young Entrepreneur Stars Award because her studies abroad were enabled by scholarships provided by the Taiwanese government. With the award, she really feels that overseas students are never alone and that there is always a supportive government behind them to catch them when they fall.

In 2023, Crystal Bien, a Global Young Entrepreneur Star for her work with RiverBien, published her first illustrated book: Things I Wish I Knew Earlier.
Crystal Bien hosting a tea party for the RiverBien Art Show at The Jardin in Taipei City.
Other than curating exhibits and publishing books, Crystal Bien also expanded into early art education to encourage and instruct young children in the arts.
RiverBien organizes art exhibits and art education events and participates in NPO fundraisers.

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