Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries

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

Edwin R. Abucay/ National Cheng Kung University

Nationality : Philippines
Major : Geomatics


I am Edwin R. Abucay, 39 years of age, currently a Ph.D. student at the Department of Geomatics, College of Engineering, National Cheng Kung University. Back in the Philippines, I am an Assistant Professor at the College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines Los Banos. My research interest includes remote sensing, geographic information system, land use planning, and environmental planning and management among others.


1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?

I already considered studying in Taiwan way back in 2013 when I first had my visit to attend a Young Scientist Conference organized by START international. At the same time, I was involved in a research project with Academia Sinica. However, back then, I was involved with nationally funded research projects and was not able to apply. In March 2017, I was part of the delegates of the UP COOPERATE Program aiming to strengthen the collaboration, network, linkage and provide an opportunity for UP Faculty to study in Southern Taiwan. Moreover, the program I intended to study was fortunately with NCKU. Being not so distant to the Philippines also is an advantage that would allow a quick visit to my home country during semestral breaks. The rich and diverse culture of Taiwan is also an exciting reward for pursuing study along with excellent national universities already presenting itself to potential applicants.

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

Ph.D. in Geomatics is an international graduate program offered by the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. Geomatics deals with the science and technology behind data collection, analysis, interpretation, distribution, and use of earth-based spatial data utilizing the fields of surveying, geodesy, global navigation satellite systems, remote sensing, photogrammetry, cartography, and geographic information system (GIS). I am now in my second semester of the program and have taken subjects such as photogrammetry, GIS, remote sensing, spatial environmental data analysis and modeling. I learned a lot from these courses and enjoyed working with my co-student of various nationalities, background, and culture.

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)

The academic environment here is conducive to learning. It allows the student to do more research while taking the required number of courses. The facilities and equipment are also modern, some of which may not be present in my country due to its cost, e.g., terrestrial laser scanner. Needed software for students to study is also mostly available for free such as Matlab, ArcGIS, etc. The faculty are also well experienced and educated in their field. While the program is taught in English, some discussions and conversations in Taiwanese or Chinse cannot be avoided.

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

Being far away from home is quite tricky when studying abroad. However, technology allows constant communication with my family thru internet calls. The language barrier is also somehow a bit challenging at the start but learning conversation words along the way made it convenient for communicating with other people/students.

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

After completing my Ph.D. program, I intend to go back to my home country and resume and teaching and research duties for my University. I also need to go back to render service to my country through development and implementation of new research projects that would help in solving current environmental and societal issues/problems. I also hope to establish a laboratory dealing with data analytics using geomatics in my University. Additionally, I also aim for collaborative research projects with NCKU or any other national university in Taiwan after completion of my program.

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

The establishment of network and linkages with experts and researchers in Taiwan is a great benefit to promote inter-country collaborative high impact research projects. Moreover, upon completion of the program, I would be the first faculty at the University of the Philippines Los Banos to have a Ph.D. in Geomatics degree.

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

Completing my degree program is my most significant achievement allowing me to expand my linkage with other researchers and faculty in the field of geomatics and environmental science. The scholarship support provided by the national government of Taiwan also helps a lot for international students to cope with the necessary cost of living and to cover tuition fees while studying in Taiwan. Additionally, the exposure to the Taiwanese culture is also one the best experience that I had so far during my study.

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

would advise those interested overseas students to visit Taiwan and experience the culture, conducive learning academic environment, and excellent research-oriented degree programs. I encourage them to apply for available scholarships provided by the national government of Taiwan. The process of application is not that difficult; one should be persistent, confident and determined to pursue an education in Taiwan.