Education Division Director Visits Vienna Business School Akademiestrasse - the Oldest Business School in the German-speaking World
On Friday, June 25 2021, Dr. Elisa Hsian-yueh Wang, director of the Education Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria, visited Ms. Evelyn Meyer, the new principal of Vienna Business School Akademiestrasse and discussed possibilities for further cooperation in the fields of General and Vocational Education and Training, within the framework of the MOU that was signed between the Ministry of Education in Taiwan and the Federal Ministry of Education of the Republic of Austria in 2016.
Vienna Business School Akademiestrasse, founded in 1857, is the oldest business academy in the German-speaking world. Business schools in Austria are vocational secondary educational institutions with a focus on business and economics that offer 3-year programs for students for students 14 to 17 years old, and 5-year programs, for students 14 to 19 years old. They use modern teaching concepts designed to strongly develop students’ social and foreign language skills, as well as their specialist business and economics knowledge. What distinguishes the Vienna business schools is their international outlook and focus on practical learning: all students doing the 5-year programs must complete two year-long projects. The focus at VBS Akademiestrasse is on Entrepreneurship and Management, Information and Communication Technology – e-Business, International Economics - taught in English, Management, Controlling and Accounting.
Dr. Wang and the Education Division in Austria have a long-standing relationship with Ms. Meyer. Before taking up her new post in September last year, she was a teacher at a business school in Vienna’s 10th district, and in 2014, she organized a team to participate in the International Intelligent Ironman Creativity Contest (IICC) in Taiwan, and Dr. Wang helped the school receive a subsidy to do so from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.
The IICC is a 72-hour problem-solving competition that requires secondary students to draw on their knowledge, physical strength, hardiness, creativity, and good teamwork skills to complete tasks in three areas: natural science, social science, and physical fitness. They have to demonstrate their science and humanities skills, and creativity by fabricating a product that has never been seen before within 72 hours. During this time, the contestants are isolated from the outside world and from the other teams. They need to call on what they’ve learnt at school, their physical endurance, and team spirit to work out strategies and successfully complete the main project in this short time. The contest has the ingredients of adventure and innovation. The Austrian team performed extremely well and scored a fantastic third place.
Ms. Meyer and a colleague who accompanied the Austrian students immediately fell in love with Taiwan and participated in a summer course for Mandarin Chinese in Tainan the following year. When a delegation from Taiwan visited Ms. Meyer’s school shortly after, she was able to address the delegation in Chinese, using her newly acquired language skills.
Ms. Meyer continues to be a big fan of Taiwan; she often participates in events organized by the Education Division and keeps in touch with the calligraphy master she met during the summer course.
Dr. Wang told her that she hoped the principal will organize another team to take part in the IICC and let more Austrian students have wonderful memories of Taiwan. Ms. Meyer wants to do so and she is also keen to extend VBS Akademiestrasse’s international cooperation with Taiwan. She has a few projects in mind already and Dr. Wang assured her that Education Division will support and help her to set up cooperation networks, so that students from Taiwan and Austria can benefit from more international exchanges.