University of Mississippi Chinese Language Flagship and Project GO Students Spend a Successful Summer Studying Mandarin in Taiwan
As summer came to an end, 68 students from the Chinese Language Flagship and Project GO programs at the University of Mississippi finished a short-term study abroad visit to Taiwan with improved Chinese language skills and cultural awareness.
The university established its Chinese Language Flagship in 2003 with a grant from the U.S. National Security Education Program to educate professionals who have proficiency in Mandarin Chinese and the level of cultural understanding that is essential to work successfully in Chinese-speaking countries around the world. Project GO describes itself on its website* as “a nationwide program opens to all qualified ROTC [i.e. U.S. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] students offering fully funded opportunities in critical language education, overseas study, and cross-cultural experience. Through Project GO, future military officers develop linguistic and cross-cultural communication skills required for effective leadership for all Services in the 21st century operational environment”.
Two Taiwanese universities played host to thirty-nine Flagship students from the University of Mississippi for eight weeks. National Chung Cheng University in Chiayi hosted 28 students and Tamkang University in Taipei hosted 11. The visiting students all enjoyed experiencing the sights and cuisine of Taiwan, and the challenging but interesting classes, and appreciated the opportunity to learn the language and about Taiwanese culture firsthand. A student who completed the program in Chiayi said: “I've enjoyed the classes in Taiwan! For me, I think they were challenging but not to the point where the workload was overwhelming and impossible to complete. I also enjoyed the cultural sessions that we had and the language practice activities because we got to either travel elsewhere in Chiayi and Taiwan or gain more knowledge in a field.”
The university sends up to 25 ROTC cadets each year to study at Tamkang University in Taipei for eight weeks. Twenty-one students completed the program this year, and the students reported back with favorable comments: “I think the class sizes were ideal for learning. It allows all students to constantly participate in class and keeps us focused”; “I felt that all the material we covered in class as well as out of the classroom was very helpful in solidifying my ability with the language”; “The classes and the new environment was challenging at first, but it helped me grow and learn Chinese.”; and “I also thought that my teacher was excellent! I loved the Taiwan program overall.”
The success of all 68 students reflects the standards set by decades of mutually beneficial educational exchanges between the United States and Taiwan. The participants promised to share their experiences of Taiwan, and the partner universities in Taiwan are looking forward to welcoming more students in the future.
* Project GO website: https://www.rotcprojectgo.org/