Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries
Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.
Sharon Ho Siew Voon/ St. John’s University
Nationality : Malaysia
Major : Fashion Administration & Management
I stopped pursuing further education after I attended high school and went into work as my family was not able to support me financially. Before I came to Taiwan, I was a working person. While working, I realize the importance of lifelong learning, hence I decided to go back to school, continue to pursue tertiary education to better myself to be more competent and competitive.
1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?
I chose to pursue my tertiary education in Taiwan for two reasons, namely the friendly environment and the affordable tuition fee. Taiwanese government agencies is well-known for its efficiency, besides that, Taiwan has created a friendly environment to cater the needs of international community who visited Taiwan, not to mention to study or work in Taiwan. I had opportunities to visit Taiwan before I decided to study in Taiwan. I experienced the convenience from the moment I arrived Taoyuan International Airport, free wifi in the airport, subway stations and trains, the comprehensiveness of the public transportation system, the convenience of the chain convenience stores, this friendly environment has impressed me. Secondly, Taiwan universities’ tuition fee is more affordable compared to other countries, this allowed students to access quality tertiary education at a more affordable cost and provide them opportunities to interact and bond with international society.
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 Fashion Administration and Management, this course mainly focuses on venturing into fashion industry. The subjects to be studied under this course including fashion products development, e-commerce, English, Laws, Economics, Marketing, Psychology and so forth. I enjoyed reading and watching the books, reference materials that recommended and prepared by my teachers. They complemented the content in our textbooks and it is an eye-opener to me into fashion industry. Not to forget that, St. John’s University offers a lot of interesting forum and talks that aimed to help preparing student for future job opportunities. The University also provides exchange or learning programs for students to go abroad to explore and experience different education system and cultural difference.
3. How does studying in Taiwan compare with studying in your home country (e.g., teaching quality, environment, school equipment, facilities, etc.)?
Studying Taiwan allowed me to interact with students and people from different places and ethnicity. The interaction between us gave me an insight into their culture and traditions. My teachers are experienced and expert in their profession, they are passionate and helpful to students. My university although in terms of student population may not as big as other university, but the school officials tries as much as possible to help student to access to education resources and financial assistance, to produce competent human capital that able to match labour market’s demand. Taiwan’s universities provide more learning facilities to student compared to Malaysia’s Universities. Due to financial constraints, some higher learning institutions in Malaysia cannot provide adequate facilities to student, whereas Taiwanese universities is better in this aspect.
4. What has been the greatest challenge you faced in applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome this challenge?
Everything was smooth in the process of applying to study in Taiwan. The university’s Malaysian alumni was helpful in providing holistic information about the school and courses and applying student visa with Taiwanese authorities. We were taken good care by school officials to ensure our safety and comfort in studying 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?
I am going to look for a job after I graduate. I am also thinking of starting my own business. Well, I will cross the bridge when I come to it. I may or may not stay in Taiwan, it depends on the job opportunities available at that time. However, I enjoy living in Taiwan, the sophisticated public transportation, the convenience of public utilities, for example the sports and recreational facilities, are the things I like the most, they are affordable and accessible. I can travel to anywhere I want in Taiwan, by using trains or buses, literally. I can also go to the sports and recreational centres set up by the government to work out at a very affordable price, this initiative by the government is good in encouraging a healthy lifestyle among the people. Last but not least, the people of Taiwan, most people I met in Taiwan are good people, they always lend me a hand when I am in need, for instance, my neighbors will always help me whenever I need help, although we do not know each other much, but they helps me without asking any returns.
6. How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?
One thing in common between Malaysia and Taiwan is that both of these governments practice democracy system. I am blessed to grow up and live in this two unique societies that shape me into a more considerate and thoughtful person to be in other people’s shoes and be more open to different voices and opinion. I am also impressed about Taiwanese creativity and innovative, these can be seen in various campaign and advertisement slogans, they are catchy and addictive. In terms of competitive, I believe working environment in Taiwan is more competitive than in Malaysia, the workers I met here are professional and efficient in completing their task. I believe my experience would help me to understand and get accustomed to different working environment and culture better. Other than that, Taiwanese government has provided more resources for student to acquire more skills and techniques, this is helpful in inculcating talents that able to meet market’s need.
7. What do you see as your key achievements during your studies in Taiwan?
I get to access more education resources and more opportunities to learn new knowledge in Taiwan. Most importantly, I get to know nice and kind Taiwanese that lend me their hand when I am in need. This shall be my precious experience in Taiwan. The convenience of the public amenities also allow me to explore Taiwan more conveniently at an affordable cost, I get to go to public libraries, museums via buses and visit museums at an affordable price.
8. What advice do you have for other foreign students who may want to come to Taiwan to study?
Know exactly what you want. Be prepared for the challenges before you. Be open to everything, literally everything, be it sweet or bitter. Before going to Taiwan, try to learn all information about Taiwan, the living cost, the environment, transportation, telecommunication service and so on. Prepared related documents, adequate money (in case any emergency). Ask your teachers or course mate anything you do not understand, grab all opportunities available to learn. Finally, learn to be independent in your study and in life. Make more new friends, experience different culture and embrace each other’s uniqueness.