Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries

Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.

Nguyen Bao Ngoc/ National Chung Cheng University

Nationality : Vietnam
Major : Master Program in Educational Leadership and Management Development

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1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?

In Vietnam, there has been growing trend in studying abroad, especially in the Western countries such as US, UK, Australia, etc. However, to my observations, due to the significant differences in cultural and socioeconomic context, the application of knowledge from these developed countries is somewhat limited to Vietnam development context. Taiwan, once recognized as one of the Asian dragons, advanced in its technology and infrastructure, as well as democratic society, sharing relatively similar culture to Vietnam, offers a wide range of growth formulas and social arrangements which I believe highly applicable to Vietnam context.

2.  Briefly tell us about the program you are studying. What subjects are you studying? What have you enjoyed the most in your studies?

am currently enrolled in Master program in Educational Leadership and Management Development at National Chung Cheng University. The courses that I am taking this semester are Human Resource Development and Management, South East Asia studies, and Organizational Leadership. These courses along with the courses I took in the first semester here offer a wealth of knowledge and elicit my critical thinking dramatically. A number of professors constantly ask thought-provoking questions to challenge my old way of thinking, as well as provide credible sources of reference readings, which make me really satisfied with my learning process here.

3. How is studying in Taiwan when compared to studying and being a student in your home country? (Teaching Quality、Environment、School Equipment、Laboratory or others)

Compared to my home country university which I took my Bachelor degree, professors have higher qualifications as almost all of them were trained in Ph.D. level in prestigious Western institutions, school campus is way larger and environment-friendly, and most surprisingly, school library equips students with great diverse sources of books, both online and offline. I find it extremely convenient to look for extra reading materials as well as online journal articles, which are more accessible compared to university in Vietnam.

4.  What has been the most difficult part about applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome the difficulty?

I spent a significant amount of time on writing the essay since I also applied for Taiwan ICDF scholarship. I would not say it was the difficult task since eventually, it was the fun reflective process, and it truly helped me take my study plan seriously and objectively. In order to come up with the essay, I took small steps by firstly recalling all important events that shape what I am, selecting some of them as my relevant experience, and collectively sequencing them into the story. It did not struggle to me because what I did was simply tell my authentic life story, and share my dream of what I want to do to be the change agent in my country.

5.  What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan?  Why? 

I plan to come back to Vietnam and work on my participatory action research about place-based education in rural areas. I have always felt like my mind, body and spirit belong to Vietnam, where I take the deep roots of the people and the culture. It is my strong desire to come back as soon as possible, equipping myself with significant development lessons learned in Taiwan to take action and transform real changes to marginalized groups in Vietnam.

6.  How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?

It is the technical knowledge that supports my understanding of education system and issues around the globe, it is the learning attitude that reminds me to work hard and mindful of any available learning opportunities, it is the critical thinking and research skills that boost my capacity, and it is the international exposure that enriches my professional experience and teaches me to be open to all perspectives. All of the above-mentioned knowledge, skills, attitude, and experience will serve as critical stepping stone to my future career.

7.  What do you see as your key achievements when studying in Taiwan?

I have imitatively attempted to organize a number of workshops for Vietnamese student community in Chung Cheng University. Derived from my preliminary research on adaptation experience of Vietnamese students in CCU, I found it is necessary to provide the learning as well as playing platform to Vietnamese students here as part of their adaptation process to the different learning contexts in CCU, compared to their previous learning experience in Vietnam. So far, I have organized one workshop in Reading and Research techniques, one workshop in Reflective playing and one workshop in Zentangle drawing. All of them received positive feedback from the participants and their expressions to join in more workshops in the future.

8. What advice do you have for other interested overseas students who want to come to Taiwan to study?

You’d better be prepared to be surprised since what you get here will be your second-to-none life experience. Be flexible and open to any opportunities, step out of your comfort zone, you will learn a lot from here, not just from formal class setting, but also from local people that you talk to, school administrators that you interact with, and Taiwanese students that you are in contact with. They are all credibly indigenous source of learning from the powerhouse nation!