Perceptions of Students from Southbound Countries

Read about the perception of students from soutbound countries to share the insight of studying in Taiwan.

Purswaney Priya Lalwani/ National Taiwan Normal University

Nationality : India
Major : Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation

Tatung University Outstanding Alumnus Award 2019 - Priya NTNU.JPG

Hello, my name is Priya and I am the first Indian university student in Taiwan. I came to Taiwan in 1987 and got admitted into the Business Management Department of Tatung University (Tatung Institute of Technology at that time). After I completed my undergraduate education, I stayed in Taiwan and worked briefly, before going on to do my MBA at National Taiwan University. After that, I helped to set up the India Taipei Association (ITA) as an assistant to the first Indian representative in Taiwan. Since 1997, I have been an interpreter between Mandarin and English, and later joined the National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation for my PhD.


1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?

Since I decided to study in Taiwan because it offers a very wide range of majors and study areas, has very good quality higher education institutions, and all of this at a reasonable cost. In addition, studying in Taiwan offered me a good opportunity to learn a new language, Chinese, in a friendly environment. Also, studying in Taiwan for undergrad meant that I could stay with my family since my parents were here too. After they went back, I decided to stay in Taiwan for my masters because I got admission to one of the best MBA programs in Taiwan, in a top university. My sister initially left Taiwan as well, but came back here later to do her undergrad in IT also from NTU.

2.  Briefly tell us about the program you are studying. What subjects are you studying? What have you enjoyed the most in your studies?

The program that I am currently studying in is the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation (GITI) of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). NTNU is a teacher training university, and GITI offers masters and doctoral programs in this field. I am currently doing my PhD in GITI, and my area of specialization is simultaneous interpretation of market research focus groups. I had to complete 30 credits for my course, and the subjects I took include Theory of Interpretation, Teaching Translation and Interpretation, Sight Interpretation, Community Interpreting, Consecutive Interpretation, Simultaneous Interpretation, Qualitative Methodology, Quantitative Methodology, and lots more. Learning is my passion, and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to attend all the courses, learn from the professors, and interact with other classmates.


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)


I Compared with my home country, Taiwan offers a somewhat different learning environment. Most of the universities have good facilities, like well lit classrooms, large libraries, etc. My university also has the latest teaching technology in each classroom so that the teacher is able to create engaging curriculums and content for the class. Science and Engineering departments have well equipped laboratories. The number of students in each class is usually smaller, so students and teachers are able to engage in productive discussion during the class. Universities also offer many scholarships for students from my country. Teachers are hardworking and have a genuine desire to impart knowledge. Another benefit is that Taiwan is very convenient and very safe. On the other hand, I also noticed that many students here are shy, so class discussion is somewhat limited compared with other countries.


4.  What has been the most difficult part about applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome the difficulty?


The When I was applying to study in the universities in Taiwan, it was a very long time ago. At that time, the procedure was not very clear, and it was hard to find the right person to help. Each university had a different set of rules and deadlines. Also, I had to give Chinese language tests and I found that to be quite a challenge the first time. Never having learned the language before, I had to work very hard to learn the basics of Mandarin Chinese from zero. I overcame that challenge by completely immersing myself in a fully Chinese speaking environment and taking every opportunity to speak it. And now, the Taiwan government has the dedicated Study in Taiwan portal to help international students navigate these challenges.

5.  What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan?  Why? 


I After I finish my studies, I would like to continue to stay in Taiwan. One of the reasons is because I have already started a small company providing language services, like simultaneous interpretation, translation, trilingual event hosting, voice recording, and so on. Once I get my doctorate, I also plan to start teaching interpretation in a local university. I believe Taiwan can also provide a good environment for me to raise my own children. Taiwan has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit, and provides excellent opportunities for hard working people, including foreigners. Most importantly, Taiwanese people are very kind and friendly and warm, and Taiwan is a very safe and convenient country to live in.

6.  How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?


After I think studying in Taiwan has already helped my career so much. It is because I studied here that I was able to learn Mandarin so well, and since I work as an interpreter, this is my most valuable skill. My management degrees have helped me in managing my business well while I do the work that I love. Studying translation and interpretation has also benefited my career. During my PhD program at NTNU, I was able to co-author a book on Chinese – English Translation. I hope I can publish more books in the future. Once I finish my doctorate, this degree will help me in a future teaching career. Since there is currently a shortage of native English speakers to teach Chinese to English Interpretation courses in universities, I hope to be able to fill that gap.

7.  What do you see as your key achievements when studying in Taiwan?


I have reached many important achievements during my studies in Taiwan. For instance, in 1995, I was selected by the first Indian representative in Taiwan to help in establishing the Indian office in Taipei, ITA. I still continue to work closely with ITA in promoting Indian culture in Taiwan. As a consultant to the Indian Museum in Taiwan, I have hosted the Indian Culture Festival for 17 consecutive years. Over the past two years, I have had the honor of being the English interpreter for Mayor Ko of Taipei City and Mayor Hou of New Taipei City. Last but not least, in 2019, I was the youngest alumnus to receive the Outstanding Alumni Award presented by Tatung University.

8. What advice do you have for other interested overseas students who want to come to Taiwan to study?


My advice for other foreign students who are thinking of coming to Taiwan to study would be “Just do it!”. As mentioned before, Taiwan is among the safest countries in the world. It is a developed country with excellent infrastructure and convenient facilities for studying and living. Taiwan is a world leader in many fields, such as IT, semiconductors, biotech, nanotechnology, etc. Studying in Taiwan gives you the extra bonus of an opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. Equipped with a Taiwanese degree and Mandarin skills, you will be able to find a good job in many of the Taiwanese companies looking to expand to other markets. So if you are looking for a place to go for your higher studies, do seriously consider Taiwan. The reason it was named Isla Formosa by the colonists is because it is truly a beautiful island.