Fulbright Reflections – Taiwan

by Karin Chipman, Study abroad coordinator

For two weeks in March 2018, I was privileged to visit Taiwan as a grantee on a Fulbright International Education Administrator (IEA) seminar, and enjoyed beautiful weather, excellent food and meaningful cultural exchange with our hosts from the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan).  Our itinerary included visits to a variety of universities, from large research-oriented institutions to smaller schools focused on language learning and liberal arts.

On Elephant Mountain, overlooking Taipei 101

Along with the ten other international education administrators on the seminar, we met with government officials at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Taiwan Fulbright Alumni Association and the Taitung County government.  We had many wonderful meals and cultural experiences including the Fulbright Research Workshop with a special keynote speaker, none other than Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan.

Fulbright Taiwan IEA grantees at Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung

I was fortunate to visit two of Chatham’s Taiwanese partners during the seminar.  At Tamkang University in New Taipei City, we were greeted by the Office of International Affairs and a friendly group of student ambassadors ready with their umbrellas to shield us from the rain (that happily did not materialize).   As we walked up the promenade of the beautiful campus with flowers and greenery toward the library, the student ambassadors oriented us to campus and told us about student life at Tamkang University.  The campus was busy with a student run marketplace in full swing along our walk.  At Tunghai University in Taichung, we met with the International Office, enjoyed an informative video and presentation that included tasting the ice cream made at the university farm. Afterwards, we enjoyed a sunny campus tour and a visit to the Chinese Language Center.  There were many people enjoying the weather and the beautiful surroundings, including the iconic Luce Memorial Chapel, designed by I.M. Pei. This is an impressive structure with a peaceful environment for reflection and contemplation.

With international coordinator Doris Tsai, at Tungai University, Luce Chapel in background

The seminar included meetings with several Fulbright US student program grantees in Taiwan.  We visited three schools where English Teaching Assistants (ETAs) were placed.  I enjoyed talking to the Fulbright researchers and ETAs regarding their experience in Taiwan.  For any graduate or soon to be graduate looking for a wonderful experience conducting research, studying or teaching English for a year, I’d encourage you to apply for a Fulbright grant in Taiwan.

Fulbright ETA in action in elementary school in Yilan

Students who are seeking an exciting and safe study abroad destination should definitely consider Taiwan. Beyond Chatham’s partner institutions and many wonderful centers for learning Mandarin, there are institutions with programs taught in English in every academic area.  My Fulbright experience confirmed for me that Taiwan is a destination that can work for a variety of students’ needs. Taiwan is a beautiful country with modern conveniences, like excellent public transportation in cities, and the high-speed train for easy travel north to south. And the food is delicious!  Taiwan holds a wealth of incredible treasures for US students to explore further.

For more information on studying in Taiwan or applying for a Fulbright grant, please contact me at kchipman@chatham.edu or internationalaffairs@chatham.edu. Visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

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