A Feast of Summertime Memories: NTU Plus Academy Summer+ Programs
Every summer has its own stories to tell, and NTU always makes sure to spin an inspirational yarn and never leave a dull moment in its storybook.
NTU’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) hit the ball out of the park by organizing the 2018 NTU Plus Academy Summer+ Programs, pooling the assistance of 120 instructors and professors from 11 colleges throughout the campus to mentor 253 students from 105 schools located in 25 countries around the world (including the University of California in the United States, Imperial College London in England, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, the University of British Columbia in Canada, the University of Tokyo in Japan, Ewha Womans University in South Korea, the University of Sydney in Australia, Aalto University in Finland, and Heidelberg University in Germany, to name just a few).
The program was an extraordinary combination of professional learning and cultural experience that brought students up close to the kaleidoscopic facets of Taiwanese arts and history. The program offered 13 courses, covering Chinese language, research and lab courses, arts and culture, business management, technology and engineering, and natural and social sciences.
To make sure that the students got the most out of the programs that ran 4-6 weeks in duration, the OIA slotted a diversity of lectures, lab experiments, and onsite applications into course planning for the international students. Through the program, the students got more than just a superficial taste of Taiwan’s colorful folk customs, ecological makeup, dietary philosophy, historic substance, and cultural capstones – becoming international storytellers of the “places and faces of Taiwan.”
During the program, the students left their footprints in the National Palace Museum, Taipei’s Old Town area, the wharf in Tamsui, tea gardens in Maokong, the Shilin night market, the panoramic Lungshan Temple in Manka, the historic destinations in Dadaocheng, and Yilan. The internationally celebrated hospitality of the Taiwanese people was positively transformative for these foreign guests.
While applying themselves to serious studies, the young foreign scholars also basked in their summer cheer in a style uniquely Taiwanese. Twelve student advisors from NTU worked as both tour guides and companions to help put Taiwan’s best foot forward so that the foreign guests would have a full stock of memories to take when it was time to say goodbye. Laughter and impassioned conversations could be heard in the evenings at the Prince House, where the young scholars called home during their stay in Taiwan. They engaged in lively, thought-provoking talks about gender equality, transitional justice, and other social issues that stand front-and-center in Taiwan and the rest of the world. These starlit meetings of the mind were where Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts were shared and followed.
The saying, “time flies when you’re having fun,” rang true as the program drew to an unforgettable close. The young scholars from afar expressed their fast-growing love for Taiwan in their own ways. A dozen or so students from the University of California boarded the shuttle bus to the airport, each holding his or her last tumbler of bubble tea before leaving Taiwan. Phone numbers and emails were exchanged and group photos were taken as the moment of goodbye drew near. UC students extended heartfelt invitations to their student advisors to visit the Golden State to bask in its warm and charming sun.
Students from Indonesia, South Korea, and Singapore made the most of their last night in Taiwan by hitting a karaoke bar with their advisors. As the students belted out hit songs and golden classics, they urged the advisors to visit their homes for a culinary tour. They raved about rendang, a signature Indonesian dish; Bak-kut-teh, a popular Singaporean soup dish; and kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine. The boisterous bunch also discussed what it’s like to take a stroll along the majestic Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, and pose before Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul in traditional Korean costumes.
Before the evening came to a perfect conclusion, all of the students, advisors, and OIA staff members made a pact to meet again, whether here or elsewhere in the world.
The 2018 NTU Plus Academy Summer+ Programs may have ended, but the NTU campus’s endeavors toward internalization will not skip a beat. Its event calendar is quickly filling up with upcoming activities, including the Winter+ Program, Spring+ Program, and other specialized courses (such as the short-term program partnership with Kyung Hee University in South Korea, and EDGE-NEXT Program with the University of Tsukuba in Japan). As per the government’s New Southbound Policy, NTU is also poised to reach out to outstanding students in Southeast Asian countries and encourage them to come to Taiwan on a quest for excellence and friendship.
This article will also be featured in No. 68 of NTU Highlights (October, 2018).
NTU student advisors and University of Southern California’s young scholars kick it up.
NTU Vice President for International Affairs Luisa Shu-Ying Chang (張淑英) greets the young scholars from around the world at the orientation on the first day.
NTU student advisors and international students of the Summer+ Programs.
NTU student advisors and international students of the Summer+ Program.
NTU Interim President Tei-Wei Kuo (郭大維), Vice President Chang, and a number of faculty members are invited to attend the farewell party on Aug 9.