Institute of Taiwan Literature Goes to Europe for
International Academic Exchange
To implement the international cooperation plan between National Taiwan University, the London University of UK and the Heidelberg University of Germany, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Kuo-liang Yeh, and Director of the Institute of Taiwan Literature, Dr. Chia-Ling Mei, took along all faculty members from the Institute of Taiwan Literature on a tour to the Heidelberg University to offer four-day intensive courses on Taiwanese literature and culture, and the teaching of the Taiwanese language.
During the European tour, a "Workshop for teaching Taiwanese" was set up, to which teachers from London University, Heidelberg University, and National Taiwan University delivered lectures on teaching Taiwanese and the compilation of materials for teaching Taiwanese. The final session was a round table forum in which Professor Barbara Mittler of Heidelberg University, Professor Bernhard Fuhrer of London University and Professor Hsiao Fang Yang of National Taiwan University discussed enthusiastically on the issues of the methods of teaching Taiwanese, the compilation of teaching materials with the attendants. The participants talked about the difficulties in learning Taiwanese for foreign students, and arrived at the conclusion that, if aspects of Taiwanese culture which are familiar to the foreign students were incorporated into the teaching materials, the students would stand to gain both in learning the Taiwanese language and Taiwanese culture. In the future, the three universities will collaborate with one another to compile materials for teaching Taiwanese.
The themes of the three-day intensive courses organized by the teaching staff of NTU's Institute of Taiwan Literature included "Taiwan's Social Customs and Culture", "Taiwanese Literature and Culture during the Japanese Occupation," "Modern Taiwanese Literature in the Post-war Era," "Looking at Taiwan from the Movies,", etc. These intensive courses gave lectures on Taiwanese literature both during the Japanese occupation and post-war era. Using the time frame as the vertical axis, and the cross national cultural integration as the horizontal axis, these courses allowed foreign students to comprehensively grasp the contextual developments of Taiwanese literature and Taiwanese culture, while allowing them to develop a profound academic perspective on the issues of Taiwanese literature under the trend of globalization. In essence, the European tour of the Institute of Taiwanese Literature was able to achieve results both in learning and teaching.
During the run of the courses, teachers from the Institute of Taiwan Literature arranged individual talks with the students from Heidelberg University in an effort to provide further assistance. The students were quite enthusiastic and kept asking for more. After the courses were over, Professor Barbara Mittler and Professor Chia-Ling Mei exchanged books and souvenirs, and signed agreements for future academic cooperation and student exchange. The signing of these agreements bore witness to the profound friendship between NTU and University of Heidelberg, while opening up new avenues for cooperation in the teaching and research of Taiwanese literature.
After the intensive courses were over at Heidelberg University, the delegation from National Taiwan University went to the Leiden University of the Netherlands for a courtesy visit. Professor Maghiel van Crevel and Professor Tian Hai from the University's Sinology department received the NTU delegation and gave a briefing on the status quo of Taiwanese language and literature learning at Leiden University. Upon learning the needs of Leiden University in the area of learning Chinese, the NTU delegation promised full support and assistance. NTU's visit to University Leiden promoted bilateral academic cooperation and exchange between the two universities, and helped to launch the topics of Taiwanese literature onto the European academic circuit.
Judging by the success of the European tour taken by NTU's Institute of Taiwan Literature, the research on Taiwan literature has gained attention from the prestigious universities of Europe, and has laid a solid footing. NTU's experience and achievements can certainly be a valuable example for other universities of Taiwan.