Taiwan university inks agreement to expand U.S. student exchanges

Tainan, Jan. 13 (CNA) National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Tainan signed a memorandum of understanding with the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan) on Wednesday to allow broader exchanges with American students.

With the signing of the MOU, the university has become part of the Consortium for Study Abroad in Taiwan (CSAT), a pilot program launched by Fulbright Taiwan to encourage educational exchanges, according to the foundation.

Under the CSAT, students enrolled at any university in the U.S. are eligible to apply for NCKU regular semester exchange programs, intensive summer classes for Mandarin language learning and participation in hands-on projects, according to the university.

Following Wednesday’s signing of the MOU, the two sides will work out the finer details of the program, said NCKU, which is based in Tainan, southern Taiwan.

At Wednesday’s signing ceremony, NCKU President Su Huey-jen (蘇慧貞) said Fulbright Taiwan has been working for decades to enhance academic and educational exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S.

Through the extensive exchange program, American students will have an opportunity to explore Taiwan more widely, she said.

In turn, Fulbright Taiwan Executive Director Randall Nadeau, who signed the MOU with Su, said one of CSAT’s goals is to offer American students more flexible short-term exchange programs, with a wider range of options, which will allow them a deeper cultural and educational experience in Taiwan.

That type of experience would be extremely valuable to young Americans, who are seeking to explore the world, he said.

The exchanges will also give Taiwanese students more opportunities to communicate with their American counterparts and to interact with people from different social and educational backgrounds, Nadeau said.

Since Fulbright Taiwan and NCKU began academic exchanges in the 1960s, a total of 21 American academics have visited the university in southern Taiwan, while 41 Taiwanese from NCKU have visited American schools.

In 2014, the NCKU Fulbright Scholarship Program was launched to provide scholarships for exceptional American students to study at NCKU for master’s degrees in Creative Industries Design and Energy Engineering.

The Foundation, supported by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and Taiwan’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is one of the 49 bilateral organizations in the world established specifically to administer the Fulbright educational exchange program, according to its website.

AIT represents American interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang and Chung Yu-chen)


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