23 Students Awarded “Taiwan and Austria Higher Education Science and Research Seed Funding” Scholarships for travel to Austria to Gain Productive Experiences through Study and Research or Exchanges
With the purpose of enriching Taiwan’s outstanding students’ international exchange experience, the Ministry of Education (MOE) in 2019, for the first time, established the “Taiwan and Austria Higher Education Science and Research Seed Funding” Scholarship, in the form of government-to-government cooperation with Austria. 23 students from Taiwan were selected to go to Austria to study, undertake research, or complete exchanges from September, 2019 to February, 2020. After returning to Taiwan, these students recounted how their journey to Austria for study and research or exchange through this scholarship was more productive than they had anticipated before their departure.
12 undergraduate students and 11 postgraduate students from 15 departments of four universities and colleges were selected to go to the following five schools to study and undertake research or exchanges: Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Management Center Innsbruck, the University of Applied Sciences – Fachhochschule Kufstein FH Tirol, the University of Applied Science (UAS) Technikum Wien International, and the University of Applied Science Upper Austria. The distinctive academic fields of these five schools include Design and Product Management, Innovation Management of Tourism, International Business Research, Technology Management, Mechanical Engineering, Natural Science, and Global Sales and Marketing Research which were in line with the professional backgrounds of our students.
Students learned and communicated with local students and international students from all over the world through class and extracurricular activities, experienced different teaching models and also culture shock. Mr. Liao, a student from the mechanical engineering department of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology shared his one-semester Austrian exchange experience, indicating that in the very beginning he was not used to the Austrian teaching models that were different from Taiwan. These models he experienced were in the laboratory courses and how teachers led students to think and solve problems in a guided way. After several discussions, he realized that learning was his own responsibility, and he should take the initiative to ask or figure out the solutions to any questions. Moreover, he could even complete a project under the instruction of teachers, finding his ability to collect information and report it within the learning process had made great progress.
Students learned to solve problems, take the initiative to learn, internalize and introspect about setbacks occurring during the period of study, research or exchange in Austria. After stepping out of their comfort zones, this exploration enabled students to experience and adapt to different teaching models and cultivate a more expansive vision. The MOE will keep enhancing the foundation of the promotional interchange network between Taiwan and Austria, so as to enrich the international exchange experience of outstanding students in Taiwan.