“Taiwan Studies” Flourishes in Western Canada
In North America, UBC is ranked at the top for the number of students that study Mandarin Chinese.Currently, there are 1500 to 2000 students taking Mandarin Chinese courses each year. With the “Taiwan Studies” grant, in addition to the increase in the number of Mandarin Chinese classes, specific courses have been designed to focus on Taiwan; such as the Taiwanese and Taiwan culture, history, film, and fiction. UBC has always been keen on the students’ international learning experiences, and this grant enables them to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to study or to do research in Taiwan. Students continue to express gratitude for their wonderful learning experiences, during their study time in Taiwan.
From the cultural aspect, during the 2011 Taiwan Fest in Vancouver, a Taiwanese cultural festival that includes cultural elements such as food, music, games, dance, lectures, films and art, UBC invited Associate Professor Jolan Hsieh from the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures of National Dong Hwa University to speak on “(De)Constructing Indigenous Stereotypes and Identities in Taiwan”. This topic received really positive feedback, thus allowing citizens from Vancouver to better understand Taiwan and its cultures in a more in-depth manner.
The University of Alberta’s first year to implement the “Taiwan Studies” grant, has resulted in outstanding results. Currently, there are 28 Mandarin Chinese language courses attracting a record number of students, and the Department of East Asian Studies has been able to use part of the grant’s funding towards books for better resources in the library. As a token of appreciation to the Ministry of Education in Taiwan, all books include donor book plates in them recognizing the source of funding.
Additionally, the Department of East Asian Studies successfully organized a Lantern Festival celebration at the beginning 2012, with all the Mandarin Chinese language classes participating in Taiwan related programs, showcasing their efforts and success at language learning.
For the upcoming 2013 spring semester, the University of Alberta is starting a new program entitled “A Semester in Taiwan”, lead by Dr. Zeb Raft in conjunction with the National Taiwan Normal University for students to study Mandarin in Taiwan. The program is being widely promoted through the university’s website.
“Taiwan Studies” is a deeply rooted international program with comprehensive and successful collaboration with well-know universities. Educational exchange programs will continue to showcase to benefits and valuable resources that continues to make Taiwan an ideal international partner of influence.