Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries

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

Chien Samphoas/ National Taiwan University

Nationality : Cambodia
Major : Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Global health program

Taiwan Museum_edi.jpg 

I am a Ph.D., Student at National Taiwan University, College of Public Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Global Health Program (graduate student). I have been here almost 2 years, as I know that I am a 2nd person from Cambodia that enrolled at NTU for Ph.D., degree. As I know Taiwan until now there are not many Cambodian people living in Taiwan even applying for the degree here (Taiwan).


1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?

Taiwan is not only famous for its technology development but also its gourmet food. One of a good way to experience this multicultural society is by taste buds. From StreetSide food stands to upscale restaurants, there are always mind-blowing cuisines for discover. Taiwan also a country and the best choice for me to take for gaining my knowledge, experiences, culture... Taiwan is really good for me even it's a small island but so beautiful island to me.

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

I am a Ph.D., Student at National Taiwan University, College of Public Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Global Health Program (graduate student), I do love Taiwanese people, they're so kind and helpful, first time I have arrived here I didn't know much about Taiwan even how to use bus or MRT or map, totally it's different from my country, people living in Taiwan are smart and lovely. Especially students studying in my college, smiling to me and say hello all the time that we meet at the college. One more thing the weather here in Taipei is cool (I do like cool weather) in my country is so hot sometimes. Moreover, the quality of education and experience of all the professors are very excited and reliable and the best. Most all of them are graduated from the United State. Eventually, the lecture follows the standard of the United State. Those all made me very excited about studies in Taiwan, study here also the same study in European countries.

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)

I actually cannot be compared Taiwan to my home country because I know Cambodia is a developing country and low-middle income country as well. So, regarding teaching quality as I know that I am graduated, Master Degree but the knowledge still limited, the environment there still not better even some infrastructure in the capital city, it's not so clean city as compare to Taiwan, I do like the environment in Taiwan. Well, if we talk about school equipment as in my college I can see that those are perfect and high technology modern use and standardized follow as Japan or the United system, not even in my college either in Taiwan Center for Disease Control-CDC the types of equipment or system are very perfection, totally I cannot compare to my home country but it's the best way to learn from modern technology here and apply some developing country as Cambodia so on.

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

Of course, before I apply for Taiwan, I truly didn't know much more about Taiwan even environmental or the situation or people or economic status, actually I start to know Taiwan during I apply for the degree. Before I know that Taiwan is part of China even, mean that Taiwan is the city of China. But I did my Visa to come here, I was surprised that why I have to go to Hochi Minh City or Bangkok? that question made me crazy to know more about Taiwan, then I asked some people around me, the answer was that Taiwan is Taiwan, it's dependence country, it also one of country same as Cambodia. I was shocked because I really didn't know about that, respectively. We have the disconnect with Taiwan for a bit a long time ago due to government situation, in 1997-198 Cambodia has two Prime Ministers, so another one PM dislike Taiwan at all then he removed Taiwan embassy out of Cambodia. From that time until now (a little bit better than before) the current PM was quoted that " We are welcome to all Taiwanese people to invest in Cambodia". I did an official letter to declare that I got a scholarship to the Ministry of Foreign Affair but they said that no way I can go to Taiwan because they respecting the policy " One China One Policy", I truly hate this word. I felt so exhausted to prepare those things with the difficulty to get a permission from my country but I didn't give up, I try all my best. Some of seniors friend or professors said that NTU is the best high ranking university in Asian either better than the University of Singapore. those all the reasons why I am applied for NTU in Taiwan.

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

In this question, I have 3 major components to explain here below.

First, I would like to be back to my home country to teach or working as any parts to develop same as to Taiwan and my country was currently as a developing country.

Second, it should be a great an opportunity to applying for post-doctoral here or other countries, if I have the ability to do it.

Third, I would be happy if I have the ability to find some opportunities to work in Taiwan, I would be appreciated if I could do that. Because Taiwan is a great place, it's a beautiful island including people, environmental, cleaning city, nice weather, policy and especially the leadership in Taiwan. The top priority for me in Taiwan more than other countries in ASIA.

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

Of course, that is a sensitive question and I have to answer this question due to Cambodia is lack of health policy management, currently, Cambodian people spent more than 63% out of pocket payment, most people do not rely on the quality of patient treatment, so there are many Cambodian people go to Vietnam or Thailand seeking a better treatment, seem like the government careless for the people even poor family. However, Taiwan has a good health program and policy management like National Health Insurance, this NHI was created since 1995 (healthcare system) and covers almost 100% of Taiwanese people in Taiwan. The security here in Taiwan has differently from my country if I compare that. This made me very disappointed with health and policy management in my home country, I hope after I got this potential academic in my life would be better-upgraded knowledge and can benefit more in my home country, respectively.

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

  • Quality of education and leadership also including health policy and policy management then apply what I have been done here to develop my country.
  • The health policy and management here are so good I could follow this system and try to apply it in my home country due to Cambodia still lack and knowledge and system improvement.
  • The quality of lecturing and experiences from each professor are gold potential for me to learn from them.

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

  • Economic development, modern technology, and healthcare system and insurance
  • Leadership management and kind of Taiwanese people including environmental
  • Foods security and beautiful island in the Asian Countries.