Luisa's World of España ＆ Hispanoamérica
Luisa Shu-Ying Chang
NTU signed its first international agreement for student exchanges in 1979 and established the Office of International Affairs in 2007. As the OIA enters its second decade, it continues its long-term effort to promote international academic exchanges. In addition to managing exchange student affairs, the Office is also responsible for building the university’s international image. For example, the OIA introduced the campus brand SoNTU in order to give NTU students and alumni a stronger sense of identity with their alma mater. The OIA also enhances NTU’s international visibility by participating in international education symposia and jointly submitting papers with elite universities such as Harvard University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Tokyo.
Internationalization is like a spider’s web in that it must expand its contacts to all corners of the globe in order to be effective. The OIA is active in not only Europe and North America, but in Southeast Asia under Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy. Additionally OIA has developed partnerships in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Moreover, the OIA encourages the faculty members to cooperate with NTU’s international partners to initiate international research projects and acquire government funding in those countries.
More and more NTU students are venturing abroad as exchange students. The University has already signed more than 500 agreements for student exchange with more than 360 universities. The number of international exchange students visiting the NTU campus has risen significantly as a result of the OIA’s efforts. However, I believe the attitudes of NTU students who study overseas must change to acquire a broader experience. The exchange student experience allows students to expand their worldviews, engage in cultural exchanges, and learn foreign languages, while also providing opportunities to learn professional skills and develop competitiveness.
For students these days, the direction of their professional and academic careers is becoming increasingly important. The NTU Student Association seeks about opportunities for internships and hopes that the university will create more learning options, and even entrepreneurial opportunities, through industry-academia cooperation. The University is continually introducing new strategies in response to the needs of students. Not only is NTU’s offering of inter-departmental courses continuing to grow, its international exchanges are expanding as well.
I place a particular emphasis on quality and professionalism. The OIA stresses substantive cooperation and continues to raise the quality of the partner universities and student exchange organizations. Such cooperation provides internship opportunities at international research institutions and business enterprises. For example, NTU is Intel’s sole university partner outside of the United States. Through this partnership, students of the Department of Electrical Engineering can take part in internships and even obtain scholarships. Further, the OIA offers short-term study programs designed for international students year round. Enrollment in these programs has grown from just 17 students a year in 2007 to nearly 700 students currently.
NTU’s learning environment is comparable to that of any elite university. Taipei’s friendly people and accessibility have drawn many international students to Taiwan. Some even stay in Taiwan to marry and have what we call NTU Babies. We must remain confident that NTU is the first choice of international students who come to Taiwan to study.