Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries
Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.
Ong Liang Yu/ National Taiwan Normal University
Nationality : Malaysia
Major : Department of Education
My name is Ong Liang Yu and I am from Malaysia. I am an outgoing person and I like my life to be interesting. Thus, reading, swimming, playing table tennis and badminton, playing guitar and piano, jungle trekking, pottery making, gardening are some of my ways to enjoy my life. I also developed the interest in photography few years ago. Besides, I like to travel and observe different culture, people and different places. I love my life and always strive to live my life to the fullest. “Carpe diem” is my life quote. Other than loving my own life, I care a lot about others too. I believe that education is the key to alter the world and change the heart of Men, thus I chose to further my study in education field, striving for social justice and I have been working on what I believe for more than 10 years.
1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?
The quality of education is one of the first things for me to consider when I think about tertiary study. Some of my closest friends in Malaysia studied in Taiwan before, and I heard so much about how great is to study and live in Taiwan and how they don’t wish to be back to their homeland, thus I believe that Taiwan’s education can be trusted and the life here is very attractive. Moreover, I have an amazing experience travelling in Taiwan before I decide to come to study. The sceneries are breath taking, the environment is comfortable and clean, and the most important would be the people are friendly and helpful.
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 in Department of Education in NTNU. We have Studies in Multicultural Education, Studies in Educational Philosophy, Studies in Sociology of Education, Methodology of Pedagogy, Humanism & Education, Studies in School Culture and etc. The classes are taught by experienced professors who done amazing work in research and practical. I enjoy studying about the different kind of theory interpreting and depicting human nature. In the education field, we got the chance to equip ourselves with different lenses, each of them provide me the opportunity to view the world in different perspective—from micro to meso to macro, from psychology to sociology to philosophy. I think that studying in education has widen my horizons.
3. How does studying in Taiwan compare with studying in your home country (e.g., teaching quality, environment, school equipment, facilities, etc.)?
There’s two kinds of university in Malaysia—the private university and the public university. The teaching quality, courses, teachers, environment, facilities and etc. in private universities are first grade, but the tuition fee is expensive and not quite affordable. There are about twenty public universities in Malaysia; the best public university in Malaysia is Malaya University. However, even it is the top public university in Malaysia, the quality and ranking is not as high as those top universities in Taiwan such as NTU and NTHU. Moreover, the environment of public universities are not very comfortable due to the budget of the government does not go much into the field of education.
4. What has been the greatest challenge you faced in applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome this challenge?
When I decided to pursue my study in PHD in Taiwan, the most challenging thing I find in the applying progress is different universities has different enrolment requirements and the deadlines are according to the universities. While we have our options to apply for different universities, I grabbed the chances to apply for two universities and three different department/graduate schools. Due to the different requirements, I have to write different papers to apply for different university and it made me quite nervous when the clock was ticking and I just simply haven’t finish them. I overcame it by making a working schedule for myself. I found that planning ahead and work according to the schedule was very useful and it did calm me down and able to stay focus.
5. What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan? Why?
I wish to find a job in Taiwan upon my graduation. Taiwan has given me the chance to study and nurture me to become a better person, thus I hope that I can make some contribution to Taiwan in return. Besides, I love my life in Taiwan. The food, the transportation, the weather, the scenery, the people are all wonderful and I don’t really feel like going back to Malaysia too soon. I believe that I could gain very different experiences in Taiwan due to we have different working culture and I am sure that it will be fruitful and rewarding.
6. How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?
Studying in the Department of Education in NTNU has provided me a good sense in what education is really about and what I can do to improve our education system in Malaysia. The experiences, the knowledge, the skills and critical thinking that I have learned here in Taiwan equip me and train me to become a more sensitive and more thoughtful person. I believe that a person should have wide horizons and deep thoughts no matter what field he/she is going to work in. Thus, studying in Taiwan has given me the chance to become the person I mentioned above and I believe that it is important for me to first be a Human Being before I become a worker/educator.
7. What do you see as your key achievements during your studies in Taiwan?
The most important achievement I have reached during my study in Taiwan is I make Taiwanese friends who treat me like family. I got the chance to visit to their house, meet with their parents and travel around the country. They helped me out when I have trouble like finding a decent apartment to stay and help me to move as well. When I was sick, they took care of me and stayed beside me when I need a hand. I used to hear from my friends in Malaysia saying that Taiwanese is very friendly, now after I came to study here in Taiwan by myself, I have the experience myself.
8. What advice do you have for other foreign students who may want to come to Taiwan to study?
I suggest that to those who wish to come to study in Taiwan prepare the application as soon as possible. To gather sufficient information in order to have a smoother application process, you need to get to the right path and surf the right website (such as studyintaiwan.org) to gather your information. Start the process once you have made your decision and schedule your working progress so that you won’t be panic when the deadline is getting closer. Other than that, I believe that you can always try to connect to the association in your country (e.g., we have Malaysian student association in Taiwan) and they will give you a warm helping hand.