Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries
Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.
Tan Sen Cai/ Taipei National University of the Arts
Nationality : Singapore
Major : Fine Arts in Dance
My name is Tan Sen Cai from Singapore, I have come to Taiwan for about 3 years now to pursue my professional studies in dance. Due to the fact that men in Singapore have to serve 2 years of military service, I enrolled my first year of school at the age of 23 years old (about 5 to 6 years older than my classmates).
1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?
First of all, my first visit to Taiwan was 4 to 5 years ago where I was sent here to do my military training at Hukou. At the end of the few months of training, our troops were given a few days off to spend our time experiencing Taipei. Within that few days, it turned out that I really enjoyed my Taiwan experience. With delicious local delicacies and street food, my favorites are still fried chicken and minced pork rice. The people here are generally friendlier because you just have to polite to ask for help and they never fail to reject you. That was how I have survived my first year in school, catching up with the language and lifestyles here in Taiwan. Without my awesome Taiwanese classmates, I would not be able to blend in so easily. Speaking about the culture, I think Taiwan has its very distinctive culture. I enjoy every bit and pieces of local architectures such as temples and buildings that have a unique mixture of Japanese’s styles. Most importantly, Taiwan compared to other Southeast Asia countries are considered one of few countries very supportive of arts in terms of funding, a variety of stimulating performances by inviting up and coming dance troupes from local and overseas to perform. Therefore, coming to Taiwan is definitely a good choice to hone my artistic skills.
This is not a hard decision. For a girl who really wanted to step out of the comfort zone and try something new like me, Taiwan is my best choice.
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 studied dance and major in dance, for the undergraduate program here at TNUA, we do not do specialization because the school believes in training and preparing the students for the international platform in terms of choreographing and performing, therefore I am given many options and flexibilities to explore and choose the type of classes I want to take. Some of the modules I have taken in school are ballet, contemporary dance, taiji daoying and Chinese opera.
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 difference between studying in Singapore and Taiwan. The tutors here in Taiwan are generally encouraging and unlike in Singapore where academics are always very competitive. Being here studying in Taiwan has given me the space and freedom to continue to deepen my knowledge in arts without being confine to be results oriented. In my opinion, TNUA has one of the most conducive and best environment to practice arts and my dance department always has the students interest at heart to provide us with better and more facilities such as the recent gym room set up for the students. Being at Taiwan and a TNUA student I feel that I have been treated equally in school, opportunities are given a fair chance for every single one to fight for. Good news is, the school has selected me to represent them in a summer intensive at Paris this summer.
4. What has been the most difficult part about applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome the difficulty?
The only difficulties I had faced applying to study in Taiwan was making multiple trips down to the Taiwan representative office in Singapore to submit my application for Visa. A lot of effort was made to authenticate some official documents.
5. What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan? Why?
After my school completion, I intend to work in Taiwan if I have the opportunities to do so. If not, I intend to find job as a professional dancer in Europe. Taiwan is really a comfortable place to live and work in, given the fact that I have already been familiarized with this awesome environment.
6. How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?
Taiwan, in general, has one of the finest training methodologies in dance education. There are too many successful graduates that are prominent on the international level. Probably too many to name it all and due to the unique training being passed down from Cloudgate. TNUA being affiliated to Cloudgate dance company in some ways. The training will only make me more competitive at an international level.
7. What do you see as your key achievements when studying in Taiwan?
The key achievements for me, in my opinion, is having to study here in a beautiful and top-notch school in the whole of Taiwan and always to be aware of how much growth I have obtained since the beginning till this moment. Every opportunities and time invested here studying dance are all worthwhile.
8. What advice do you have for other interested overseas students who want to come to Taiwan to study?
My only advice for them is having an open heart to accept new things they are about to experience. My tutor in Singapore has given me this advice before I came here and I would like to share it with interested overseas students who want to come to Taiwan for their education. “Open your eyes to see, open your ears to hear, open all senses to feel”. Most importantly, do not be afraid to try and to pour your hearts out for the things you have chosen in life.