English-friendly environment seen key to attracting Asian students


TAIPEI–Creating a truly English-friendly learning environment and engaging in deeper academic exchanges are the two keys to attracting more Southeast Asian students to Taiwan, according to university directors in Taipei.

In a telephone interview with CNA Jan.28, one director said that his university has been leading the way and currently has a foreign student body of 606, one of the largest among Taiwan universities.

“Ming Chuan has developed a bilingual English- Chinese hybrid learning environment since 1999 and is one of the universities in Taiwan that offers bachelor’s degree programs taught fully in English, “ said Liu Kuo-wei, director of International Education and Exchange at Ming Chuan University.

In addition, Ming Chuan has an international student advisor’s office, which foreign students find very useful, he said.

About 60 percent of the foreign students at Ming Chuan are from Southeast Asia and the majority of them are majoring in management, he said.

Earlier this month in a meeting with university presidents, President Ma Ying-jeou issued a call for Taiwan to be made a higher education hub in the region.

According to the Ministry of Education (MOE), as of December 2010, there were 24,732 international students studying in Taiwan — 12,555 taking Mandarin courses, 3,376 on exchange programs and 8,801 pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate degrees.

Among the international students seeking academic degrees, about 5,000 were from Southeast Asian countries, with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia being the top three source countries, the MOE said.

In southern Taiwan, there are some 600 international students at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), which is a dramatic increase compared to 100 five years ago.