Alexa

Non-profit pitches Taiwan as best study destination

Students from around the world gather at the Study in Taiwan Summer Education Fair held at National Taiwan Normal University on June 24.
The fair attracts students from different countries with different culture backgrounds.
Two Filipino students collect information about schools during the fair.

Students from around the world gather at the Study in Taiwan Summer Education Fair held at National Taiwan Normal University on June 24.

The fair attracts students from different countries with different culture backgrounds.

Two Filipino students collect information about schools during the fair.

The number of international students in Taiwan has grown double from around 8,000 in 2004 to this year's 19,496, including those who come to learn Mandarin, earn a degree, and come as exchange students, according to statistics issued by the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET).
To promote Taiwan as a study destination for international students, FICHET invited 20 universities to hold the Study in Taiwan summer education fair on June 24 at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). The fair featured international students from around the world singing, dancing, and acting to manifest their appreciation for their education in Taiwan.
"Internationalization is a significant part of higher education, especially in recent years," said Lee Si-chen, FICHET Chairman and principal of the fair. "Recruiting more international students is the most conventional and direct way to build an internationalized environment in the school campus."
"The Mandarin Training Center at NTNU is the largest language center which annually receives 6,000 international students, 30% of those who learn Mandarin in Taiwan," said Yuan Hsiao-wei, CEO of FICHET, "that's why we chose to hold the education fair here."
During the fair, twenty universities from around Taiwan set up booths to introduce programs for international students, such as English-taught courses, free Mandarin sessions, various types of scholarships, and housing plans. Around 500 persons visited the one-day fair, estimated the organizer.
Taiwan's strong points
All the participating schools would like to attract more international students to enroll in their programs. While their goal is the same, they have different strategies. Some provide tuition waiver, financial aid on housing, and various types of scholarships. The scholarships are offered by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Science Council, and each school.
Others claim to provide more care for students, opportunities to join exchange students programs, better resources and language-learning facilities, all kinds of student societies, or beautiful campuses.
"Taiwan is the only democratic country in the Chinese-speaking world," said the pamphlet at the booth of National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan.
In addition, modernity, biodiversity and hospitality from the locals are what make Taiwan a unique choice to receive higher education.
"Our College of Management is a popular choice among international students since we are ranked No.49 worldwide by the Financial Times of the U.K.," said Patty Tsai, program coordinator in the office of international affairs at NSYSU.
"I think many of our exchange students chose us for the scenery, and the beach of Hsitzu Bay, where we are located," she said.
Also located in southern Taiwan, an official from National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) said the school is preferred by students who enjoy a quieter life.
"We have around 470 international students earning their degrees in NCKU," said Cindy Su from International Student Affairs Division, "The Institute of International Management, which is taught fully in English, and College of Engineering are popular among international students."
NCKU invited Dr. Aaron Ciechanover, 2004 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, to join its faculty in 2007 as a visiting professor. According to the school's flyer, NCKU was the first and only Taiwan university to have done so.
"Eighty percent of our graduate level students enjoy full tuition waiver, which is a major attraction for a lot of international students," said Su.
Samantha Daniel is soon to finish her Bachelor's Degree in Life Science at the National Chung Hsing University. The 24-year-old Taiwan Scholarship recipient from Saint Kitts said she has been lucky that whenever she needed help, there was always a Taiwanese classmate willing to offer a hand.
"My university is famous for Life Science and Agriculture," said Daniel, "I knew where Taiwan was since my childhood, because of the diplomatic ties between Saint Kitts and Taiwan. My education is fully covered by the Taiwan Scholarship."
"Studying here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said. Daniel will pursue further studies in medicine in the U.S.
She likes to sing, enjoys going to karaoke frequently, and always learns a new Chinese or Taiwanese song each visit. Karaokes are rare in her hometown.
Angelina Shkel is a Russian PhD student at the Graduate Institute of Comparative Literature, Fu Jen Catholic University. From her point of view, the school provides both academic and social life.
"I have been studying at Fu Jen for five years," said Shkel, "from the language center to the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, and now studying my PhD in comparative literature, which is Fu Jen's strong point."
"There are 90 student societies to choose from, which are great opportunities to befriend local students," said the Taiwan Scholarship recipient. "I enjoy the friendly, safe and beautiful campus very much."
An official from the Office of International Education said that since Fu Jen is a private school, its budget for scholarships is lower than public schools, therefore the university emphasizes on the opportunities it provides international students to interact more with local students. For example, the International Friendship Community is an on-campus organization that promotes such interaction.
"We work closely with international students who join the community," said Agnes Chang from the office," through their interaction with local students, we get to know more about how they feel and what their needs are."
Taiwan is a repository of Chinese culture, an ideal place to learn Chinese, a free and democratic society with affordable tuition and living costs; these are the reasons why Taiwan is an attractive study destination, according to a FICHET pamphlet titled Study in Taiwan.
On the one hand, many traditional ways of life are well kept, and on the other, Taiwan ranks second on the IT Industry Global Competitiveness Index. The modern and the traditional intermingle in Taiwanese society.
This island has a highly developed transportation network. The High Speed Rail has brought the northern and southern parts closer than ever. For international students, travel around during the school breaks further enriches their stay.
FICHET
The Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan is a non-profit organization founded in 2005. It currently has 114 member universities and acts as a platform for international cooperation between Taiwanese and foreign universities. FICHET seeks to promote Taiwan higher education overseas, enhance academic collaboration with similar associations in other counties, participate in international education fairs, and supervise overseas Taiwan education centers.