Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries
Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.
Arcega Rachelle Anne / National Cheng Kung University
Nationality : Philippines
Major : Food Safety/Hygiene and Risk Management
My name is Rachelle Anne D. Arcega. I’m currently working towards a Master of Science Degree in Food Safety/Hygiene and Risk Management at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan as a distinguished international scholar. I like living a simple yet adventurous life, and I’m also dedicated in everything that I do. I enjoy reading poetry, watching wartime movies, travelling, and playing with cats. I also enjoy being surrounded by nature. Most of the time, I enjoy exploring new places and things by myself. But I also do enjoy meeting new people and spending quality time with my loved ones. Recently, I’m into exchanging postcards with my family and friends and sending them love from here in Taiwan.
Ako ay si Rachelle Anne D. Arcega at ako ay kasalukuyang nagaaral ng Master ng Agham sa Food Safety/Hygiene and Risk Management sa National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) sa Tainan bilang isang iskolar. Ang aking pamumuhay ay payak ngunit puno ng abentura. Mahilig akong magbasa ng mga tula, manood ng pelikula tungkol sa digmaan, maglakbay, at makipaglaro sa pusa. Kadalasan, mahilig akong magdiskubre ng mga bagong lugar at bagay nang mag-isa. Pero ikinatutuwa ko ring makakilala at makisalamuha sa mga bagong tao at maglaan ng kalidad na oras para sa aking mga mahal sa buhay. Mahilig akong magpadala ng postkard sa aking pamilya at mga kaibigan sa Pilipinas.
1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?
During my undergraduate study, I was sent to National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) in Pingtung, Taiwan to conduct my research and internship. During that 6-month period, I became truly engrossed about research. I wanted to put myself in a competitive environment and wanted to seek more opportunities beyond my limited horizon. One way I can achieve that is by applying for a graduate school abroad. I decided to come to Taiwan because I saw how the Taiwanese government and universities value research, a field that is so often overlooked in my country. To top that, Taiwan is a very beautiful country with a rich culture and kind people. These, along with my eagerness to pursue things out of my comfort zone and a desire for continuous learning, have motivated me to study in Taiwan.
Noong ako ay nasa kolehiyo, ako ay pinadala sa National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) sa Pingtung upang gawin ang aking thesis at internship. Sa loob ng anim na buwan, ako ay tuluyang naengganyo sa research. Gusto kong mapalibutan ng mapagkumpitensyang paligid at maghanap ng opportunities na hindi abot ng aking tanaw. Isang paraan upang makamit ko iyon ay sa pamamagitan ng pa-apply sa graduate school sa ibang bansa. Napagdesisyunan kong mag-aral sa Taiwan dahil nakita ko kung paano pahalagahan ng gobyerno at mga unibersidad sa Taiwan ang research – isang bagay na hindi pinagtutuunan ng pansin sa aking sariling bansa. Bukod dito, ang Taiwan ay tunay na napakagandang bansa na mayaman sa kultura at mababait na tao. Ang mga ito, kasabay ng aking kagustuhang makamit ang mga bagay na hindi sakop ng aking comfort zone, ang nag-udyok sakin upang mag-aral sa Taiwan.
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 studying Food Safety/Hygiene and Risk Management. In this program, we are trained to address food safety and health issues by conducting toxicological experiments and risk assessment, communicate the results to people, and provide necessary measures to prevent the risk. The core courses in this program are Food Chemistry, Toxicology, and Health Risk Assessment. What I have enjoyed the most in my studies is that I can apply what I have learned in Biological Engineering to my current field of study. Apart from that, I’m also grateful that I have friends who are very welcoming and are willing to help me. Finally, I have very supporting advisers who inspire me to stay focused and motivated.
Ako ay nag-aaral ng Food Safety/Hygiene and Risk Management. Dito, kami ay tinuturuan na tugunan ang mga isyu na patungkol sa kaligtasan ng ating kinakain at ng kalusugan. Pinagaaralan naming ang Food Chemistry, Toxicology, at Health Risk Assessment. Ang pinakanasiyahan ako sa aking pag-aaral ay nagagamit ko ang aking mga napag-aralan sa Biological Engineering sa kasalukuyan kong larangan ng pag-aaral. Bukod dito, masaya rin ako na mayroon akong mga lokal na kaibigan na malugod akong tinanggap at handang tumulong sa akin. Masaya rin ako na mayroon akong mga guro na sumusuporta at nagbibigay inspirasyon sa akin upang manatiling focused at motivated.
3. How does studying in Taiwan compare with studying in your home country (e.g., teaching quality, environment, school equipment, facilities, etc.)?
The teaching method in Taiwan requires you to think more critically and logically. It encourages classroom participation and discussion, which is helpful in grasping the content of the lecture. In Taiwanese universities, at least based on my experience, all the resources needed for your research are never limited – such as analytical instruments, reagents, and laboratory tools. The school environment is very conducive for learning. NCKU has two big libraries full of research resources. The campus is wide and has plenty of green spaces where I can hang out and study with my friends. Lastly, Taiwanese universities and the government offer a lot of scholarship opportunities to its local and international students.
Ang paraan ng pagtuturo sa Taiwan ay kinakailangan kang mag-isip ng kritikal at lohikal, at hinihikayat kang makilahok sa talakayan. Batay sa aking karanasan, ang lahat ng iyong kakailanganin para sa research ay hindi kailanman limitado - tulad ng mga instrumento na analitikal, reagents, at mga gamit sa laboratoryo. Bukod dito, ang gobyerno at mga unibersidad sa Taiwan ay maraming inaalok na scholarship para sa mga lokal at internasyonal na estudyante.
4. What has been the greatest challenge you faced in applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome this challenge?
The greatest challenge I faced while applying to study in Taiwan is the language barrier. In Food Safety program, very few courses are being taught in English. I pondered if I could finish my degree equipped with confident knowledge about Food Safety knowing that I won’t be able to understand the lectures taught in Mandarin. Upon starting my studies, I overcame this challenge by learning few helpful Chinese words and by making extra effort in reading and studying beforehand the English reference materials provided to us before every lecture. My classmates were also helpful by translating key points of the lecture to me. Even with this difficulty, I decided to take on this challenge to bring out my best while being in a competitive learning environment. Afterall, speaking Mandarin is now a valuable skill for any international career.
Ang pinakamalaking hamon na aking hinarap ay ang desisyon na mag-aral sa Taiwan kahit na ang program na aking kukuhain ay hindi lahat tinuturo sa Ingles, at bagkus ay sa Mandarin. Nang simulan ko na ang aking pag-aaral, nalagpasan ko ang hamon na ito sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral ng mas maaga bago magsimula ang mga klase.
5. What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan? Why?
I would like to find a food safety-related job in Taiwan after graduation. Taiwan values research and offers a lot of research-related career opportunities. Many Taiwanese companies are looking for southeast Asian employees thanks to the “New Southbound Policy.” I also plan to take additional Chinese language classes and hone my Mandarin as being bilingual is a good asset that can increase my chances of landing a job. Even with the language barrier, I believe that working in a foreign environment can improve my flexibility, adaptability, communication skills, and cultural awareness. Moreover, working with people with different viewpoints can improve my objectivity and fairness.
Ang Nais kong maghanap ng trabaho sa Taiwan matapos kong mag-aral. Pinapahalagahan ng Taiwan ang research at maraming oportunidad sa larangan na ito dito sa Taiwan. Bukod dito, marami ring mga kumpanya na Taiwanese ang naghahanap ng mga empleyado galing sa timog-silangang Asya.
6. How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?
I believe that obtaining my master’s degree in Taiwan can greatly benefit my future career. First, my 2-year study can give me plenty of time to interact with the locals – acquiring their mindset, work principles, and work ethics. Because of this, shifting and adjusting to a work environment won’t be too difficult for me. Second, a lot of companies are now attracted to international employees because they want to increase their global competency. Having finished my degree in Taiwan can increase my chances of employability. Lastly, if I ever go back to work in the Philippines, I believe that the experience and knowledge that I can acquire here in Taiwan, along with my bilingualism, could boost my CV and could be attractive to Philippine companies.
Naniniwala akong ang pag-aaral ko sa Taiwan ay makakatulong ng malaki sa aking paghahanap ng trabaho. Una sa lahat, ang dalawang taon na pag-aaral ay magbibigay sakin ng oras upang makipag-ugnayan sa mga lokal. Dahil dito, hindi ako mahihirapang mag-adjust sa work environment. Pangalawa, maraming lokal na kumpanya ngayon ang interesado sa mga internasyonal na manggagawa dahil nakakatulong ito sa kanilang global competency. Dahil dito, tataas ang aking tsansa na makahanap ng trabaho balang araw.
7. What do you see as your key achievements during your studies in Taiwan?
Academic-wise, the most important achievements that I have attained during my studies in Taiwan are my three publications in scientific journals. Another achievement was being able to present my undergraduate research in an international conference. I was also able to do poster presentation for the first time while I am studying in NCKU. But personal achievements matter more to me. During my stay here in Taiwan – being away from my family and out of my comfort zone – I learned new things about myself and improved the bad things about myself. I became stronger, wiser, and more independent. I am also slowly learning how to speak a beautiful language. I treasure the personal growth that I had achieved while staying here in Taiwan.
Ang mga pinakaimportanteng bagay na aking nakamit habang nag-aaral sa Taiwan ay ang mag-publish ng tatlong research article sa mga scientific journal. Ngunit ang aking nakamit na mas importante ay ang pagkilala ng lubusan sa aking sarili habang ako ay naririto at malayo sa aking pamilya.
8. What advice do you have for other foreign students who may want to come to Taiwan to study?
As an international student, you will face a lot of challenges. But do not worry. Instead, see this an opportunity to expand your horizons. Do not be afraid of the language barrier and cultural differences. Taiwanese people are kind, hospitable, and friendly. You will also meet a lot of people from all around the world with different opinions, which is always good for one’s personal growth. As for your studies, stay focused, motivated, and believe in your capabilities. Taiwanese universities will give you a hands-on experience and the diverse student bodies make classroom discussions interesting and thought-provoking. Studying in Taiwan is an enriching experience that will help you grow into a better individual and will equip you with skill sets that are helpful for your career as a professional.
Bilang isang internasyonal na estudyante, nais kong sabihin na ito ay hindi madali. Ngunit, huwag mag-alala. Isipin na ito ay isang oportyunidad upang palawakin ang pag-iisip. Huwag matakot sa language barrier dahil mababait ang mga Taiwanese. Marami kang makakasalamuha na tao mula sa iba’t ibang bansa at ito ay makakatulong sa pagpapalawak ng iyong isip. Ang pag-aaral sa Taiwan ay isang karanasan na papayamin ang iyong pag-iisip at ihahanda ka para sa iyong karera sa buhay bilang isang propesyonal na indibidwal.