Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries
Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.
Leong Szi Lin/ National Cheng Kung University
Nationality : Malaysia
Major : Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
My name is Leong Szi Lin, currently 22 years old, I from Malaysia and lives in a small city called Ipoh which located in the Perak state. I’m currently in my 3rd year studying Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering in National Cheng Kung University. My family consists of six members including me, my parents, sister, brother and grandmother. My father works as a production manager in a small welding factory while my mother is a housewife, mainly taking care of my grandmother since she’s been diagnosed to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. My sister is studying Electrical Engineering in Munich, Germany while my brother is a year one student in the same university with me, major in Biomedical Engineering.
1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?
The one of couple reasons is the tuition fees here in Taiwan is more affordable than studying in my hometown, so that serves as an important factor because I don’t come from a wealthy family. The second reason is that although most universities here have cheaper tuition fees, they provide strong and good education system and faculty, thus can help me further my education here without having to experience serious financial stress. Besides that, my Mandarin language is quite decent, which can help me to adapt the culture and environment here with ease. Last but not least, the principal from my high school also recommended us to strongly consider Taiwan as a place to further our education.
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’m a Year 3 student from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The program was established to promote the extensive graduate education and research in aeronautics and astronautics and in related fields. In simple words aircrafts designing, engines repairing, doing research for space shuttles and rockets, something like that. I need to study all subjects of dynamics such as Thermodynamics, Fluid dynamics, Aerodynamics etc, I also need to study aircraft design, structures, engines and more. I enjoyed the most in my studies is that I can have a hand in designing or making gliders and aircrafts other than just studying theories of how these works, but I know that I still have a long way to go in order to refine my knowledge.
3. How does studying in Taiwan compare with studying in your home country (e.g., teaching quality, environment, school equipment, facilities, etc.)?
First of all, the teaching language medium in most of the universities in Malaysia is English whereas in Taiwan, Mandarin is the main teaching language in every university. Furthermore, the average tuition fees of universities in Taiwan are relatively much lower compared to the universities in Malaysia, even for the national universities in Malaysia. In addition, there is a wide variety of scholarships offered to overseas and foreign students who study in Taiwan compared to universities in my country, which don’t offer many scholarships for both local and foreign students, and the scholarships are also more difficult to apply for. My university located in Tainan, which I think is a very great environment for me to focus on my studies because unlike a lot of universities in my country which are located in urban areas, there certainly will have a lot more distractions that can cause students to easily lose track on their studies, but I think that’s a different case for universities in areas like Taipei and Kaohsiung.
4. What has been the greatest challenge you faced in applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome this challenge?
In my opinion, I think that the greatest challenge I faced when applying to study in Taiwan was that I had to write my autobiography and statement of purpose because I never gave too much thought about my study motivations and future study plan, hence I needed to give serious thoughts about them. At that time I was applying for National Cheng Kung University and National Tsing Hua University, I spent a lot of effort and time to write them cause I really wanted to get enrolled there. My high school teachers also gave me some advices in the writing process to help to perfect them.
5. What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan? Why?
I don’t have too much of a plan right now but if everything goes well, I think I’ll further my education here to study master after finishing my bachelor degree, because I think the teaching quality, environment and education here is great and well-developed, which can certainly help me to strive for a more complete academic career. If unfortunately I missed the chance to study for master, there’s a great possibility that I’m going to stay here to look for job opportunities related to the field or industry I studied and involved in since the aviation and aeronautics industry is pretty developed here, thus gives me a great reason to continue staying in Taiwan.
6. How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?
Personally, I think studying in Taiwan can benefit my future career because of the interpersonal connections that I built with the locals and also people from other countries, that opens a lot of opportunities for me to work together with the in the future. Moreover, I will be able to look for advices or help easily when I encounter difficult situations or problems in my future career. I will also be able to get to know a lot more about Taiwan during the four years studying period here, the culture here, the way of life and work here plus the people here, I believe this will help me to learn how to think and react in different perspectives and ways when overcoming or solving my difficulties in the future.
7. What do you see as your key achievements during your studies in Taiwan?
Firstly, for me one of the most important achievements is my personal growth, I’m now a more mature person comparing with the last few years me and had developed a better understanding of myself, I learned to become independent without relying too much on my parents because studying overseas means that I will have to do and solve almost everything by myself in a new and strange environment. Second, I think I improved communication skills this past few years, I can now interact with people without getting too awkward because I was a shy kid. Lastly one of the important achievements I had reached is good time management skills, I learned to arrange my priorities, what’s important and what’s urgent so I can finish my assignments, projects and work on time. I believe this is very crucial for every student.
8. What advice do you have for other foreign students who may want to come to Taiwan to study?
In my experience, I would strongly recommend them to take deep considerations to study in Taiwan because the education system here is very well-develop but still comes with relatively low tuition fees in most universities. Make necessary comparisons between schools, countries and consider their family financial ability before deciding whether they want to study in Taiwan, abroad or stay in Malaysia. For students who had decided to come to Taiwan to study, always stay open-minded and ready to accept new changes in order to adapt better and faster to the environment and culture here. Finally, there’re many types of scholarships and student loan offered and provided here in Taiwan to aid foreign students and reduce their financial burden, so for students under poverty line, there’s no need to worry about financial problem.