Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries
Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.
Hoang Thi Phuong Tram/ National Taipei University
Nationality : Vietnam
Major : GMBA in Finance
My Vietnamese name is Tram. I am currently a first-year student at National Taipei University. My major is MBA in finance. I love reading novels, watching movies, traveling and hanging out with friends when I have free time. My favorite life quote is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” I always try hard in everything I do and think as positively as possible. Because I believe will power can make everything happen and that everything has its own good sides and solutions, life is short why we all keep dwelling on bad things?!
1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?
There are a lot of reasons why I decided to study in Taiwan. The first one is Taiwan has high- teaching quality with high-ranking universities in the world for example National Taiwan University, National Chiao Tung University, National Tsing Hua University... One of my friends who have been studying Ph.D. in Taiwan also told me that Taiwanese professors are more friendly and supportive than other countries. Furthermore, compared to the other Asian countries, with the same teaching quality, the living cost and tuition fee in Taiwan are much lower than these countries. In addition, many Taiwanese universities offer lots of good scholarships for foreign students, especially ones who are from Vietnam like me. Finally, I found Chinese culture very fascinating and want to discover more about language, local people and food. Therefore, I have decided to choose Taiwan as the destination for achieving my Master-degree. I believe that it is a worthy and life-changing decision.
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 studying GMBA in Finance at College of Business of National Taipei University. This is a completely English-taught MBA program with a concentration in finance and accepts only international students who would like to share their learning experience and interact with local students. The program aims to train students thoroughly to be future financial leaders equipping them with both global and Asian perspectives. Students are required to accumulate 35 credits and 6 credits of thesis.
This semester I am studying 5 subjects: Financial Technology, Investment, Seminar on Behavioral finance, Bond Market and Trading Analysis, Theory of International Finance.
When studying Master-degree in NTPU in Taiwan, I enjoy most in the facility that the school offers, for example, we have lots of study rooms (belongs to both each of college and library) They are ideal places for us to study and research. In addition, I love the topics or questions that professors give us to help us think critically and have a deep understanding of a specific subject. I find fascinating every time we have discussions in class as everyone tells their own opinions, so we can exchange knowledge and learn more from not only teachers but also international friends.
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)
Teaching quality: I think teaching quality in Taiwanese universities much better than my home country. Especially, most Taiwanese professors achieved PhD. in famous universities in America and other top countries in the world. Compared to Vietnam, the number of public research papers in Taiwan universities is much more than Vietnam. Taiwan also focuses more on science researches. Teachers in Taiwan are giving lectures very detailed and carefully. This is the part that I appreciate most.
Environment: In my opinion, study environment in Taiwan is not so competitive as my country. In Vietnam, students are quite stressed when taking entrance exams to high schools and universities as they must compete hard with other students. Students are required to study with a heavy workload every semester. Furthermore, our system focuses much on scores, which is not quite good to reflect exactly a student’s ability. One more thing I have to say is that there is no balance between study and social activities because Vietnamese students only focus on study and study. They do not have much free time for other activities. They do not join many other social and sports activities. In contrast, I can see that Taiwanese students are encouraged to both academic study and sports activities. Students are not forced to have high scores. Instead, they have time to join clubs, sports activities, which help them much in developing social and other soft skills.
School equipment: I agree that school equipment plays important role in helping students study and do researches easily. In Taiwan, school facility, especially in NTPU where I am studying, is more modern and complete. It not only meets the study and research requirements but also support our study and research a lot. We have a huge beautiful library in the middle of the campus in Sanxia. This building is the one that I feel impressed most as I like its architecture (like owl’s head wearing a graduate cap) and the atmosphere whenever I come to study. It is very cozy and comfortable with various books, many spaces, and modern computers for self-study and research.
Laboratory or others: Our program has one big study room for all GMBA students, which I found extremely useful and necessary for my degree. As after class time, I could stay there to study until night, or at the weekend, I could also go to my study room to study instead of studying at dormitory, where is a bit convenient and hard to concentrate. Public study spaces or study rooms are the ones that my home country does not offer many for graduate students, so I do like these facilities of Taiwanese schools.
4. What has been the most difficult part about applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome the difficulty?
From my viewpoint, the most difficult part of applying to study in Taiwan is my new major for Master-degree: Finance. As my undergraduate is International relations, obviously I did not have any background in Finance or Business. Therefore, the decision to study higher in Finance is the hardest and bravest one because I know that I must try harder than other students. However, I had two-year working experience in a Financial company in Vietnam. With the position as an Assistant to Sales Director, having a lot of chances to access working procedures and a thorough knowledge in financial products of my company, I believe I could do it, so I came to apply Finance to study in Taiwan. Consequently, and undoubtedly, it is difficult to apply for scholarship in Taiwan universities as I know that not many schools in Taiwan offer high scholarships in Finance, except students, show that they have excellent background (have studied Finance for Bachelor-degree) or how to persuade them to give you scholarship when you did not have strong background about that.
Therefore, to overcome the difficulty, I wrote a very clear and high-determined letter of purpose to show that I had interest in Finance and finally got a partial scholarship from GMBA program in NTPU. This is what made me try my best studying new knowledge. During the first semester, I applied what I worked in Vietnam to the study and read as many materials as I could, learned theories well and started to learn how the theory was applied in real cases. I studied hard in a group as I think we can study each other faster than in books. I also asked professors whenever I have questions. Eventually, after the first semester, I got high study result (GPA: 93.7/100) and got higher scholarship from GMBA which helped me a lot in studying and living in Taiwan. I felt thankful and proud of what I have achieved and gone through. No matter how hard the situation is, I did try my best.
5. What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan? Why?
My long-term plan is that after I finish my study in Taiwan, I would go back to Vietnam, find a job related to finance major and work there. I prefer going back as I could stay with my family every day. However, I also would like to stay in Taiwan for a short time if I have an opportunity as I want to experience the working in Taiwanese companies and know more colleagues, culture as well as local people here.
6. How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?
I strongly believe that studying in Taiwan with a Master-Degree, especially from NTPU will benefit me a lot. I am going to choose Finance as my future career, so with a Finance degree from Taiwa,n I believe that when I graduate, I can easily find a job witha better salary, especially when I come back to my country. In Vietnam, recently, there are many Taiwanese companies, branches that need more human resource who could communicate well in Mandarin and English. Furthermore, Finance is also a hot and stable career. As a result, I am convinced that studying MBA in finance in Taiwan do give me many advantages in my future career.
7. What do you see as your key achievements when studying in Taiwan?
The first achievement is I have got good study results after the first semester at NTPU. The second is that I do enhance my critical thinking and academic writing, which I believe is quite important in studying higher. These two things are the ones I were not good in the past. While studying in Taiwan, I can see that I am improving them day by day. Last semester, there was one subject that professor asked us to write an essay about Globalization and after that she made detailed comments and suggestions about each of our work. I really appreciated that as I could see all my strengths and weakness in academic writing. She also uploaded everyone’s work so that we could learn from each other too. In most subjects that I have studied, professors have always put up a lot of questions for students to think and discuss. We work in group and each group will research about one topic and together we have enthusiastic discussions about it in each class. I am quite sure that by joining those activities, I have improved my critical thinking and academic writing a lot.
8. What advice do you have for other interested overseas students who want to come to Taiwan to study?
From my perspective, they should find a major they love and find a school that has advantages for that. For example, I like Finance, so I decided to study at NTPU as I know the school is good at business teaching and has a program for international students to study finance. College of Business of NTPU is one of the top schools in Taiwan that teach good business knowledge for undergraduate and graduate students.
The second is foreign students should have basic Mandarin, at least speaking skill as we do need it to communicate with local people. Taiwanese would prefer foreigners who could speak in Chinese.
The last is that please come to Taiwan to study if you have an opportunity as I am quite sure that it would be an awesome experience for you not only to upgrade your knowledge but also experience the high-quality education, reasonable tuition fee, and living cost.