Written by Hsu Tsu-Yueh. Image credit to News Center.
NCKU Signs Trilateral MOU with UCI and TECO-LA
“In this age of globalization, the critical importance of broadening our students’ global views and passing down the experience of global mobility to local society cannot be overemphasized.” National Cheng Kung University and University of California, Irvine, and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles signed a trilateral MOU on July 29 at the online announcement press conference. In the future, TECO-LA will represent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs providing fundings for three years to strengthen NCKU and UCI’s efforts in Mandarin education, bilingual education, and international academic exchange and collaborations, beginning a new chapter in Taiwan-U.S. Mandarin education.
Huey-Jen Jenny Su, President of NCKU, Howard Gillman, Chancellor of UCI, and Louis M. Huang, Director General of TECO-LA signed the trilateral MOU. With funding support from TECO-LA, NCKU will dispatch one Mandarin teacher to conduct teaching at UCI, and assist UCI students and teachers during their short-term visits and training arrangements in Taiwan. The signing of the agreement utilized electronic signature, demonstrating the vast academic exchange facilitated by innovative technologies.
Huey-Jen Su expressed that this collaboration is not only a language learning program, but a key to opening cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S.
“Language learning is one of many crucial aspects in cultivating future. Through encouraging understanding of different cultures, we create a deeper connection with the society for the next generation.” Huey-Jen Su expressed that this collaboration is not only a language learning program, but a key to opening cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S., allowing people of different races, ages, and genders to gain a more profound understanding of other cultures as a cornerstone to builing a mutual future. The Tainan city harbors diverse culture and preserves history of humanities, providing NCKU students an environment rich in culture and advanced in technology. Enabling students to learn in a culturally rich background is a precious aspect of the Taiwan society and an advantage of NCKU. The university hopes for future international students to experience a diverse learning journey.
Huey-Jen Su pointed out that NCKU has been supporting around 3,300 international students every year for short-term incoming exchanges or long-term degree-seeking studies in NCKU. Meanwhile, NCKU promotes over 78 exchange agreements with partner universities in the U.S., such as UCI and the Purdue University, including 15 dual-degree projects that have nurtured 48 dual-degree graduates. In addition to university-level collaboration, NCKU has the honor to be trusted by state-level authorities or NGOs to conduct cross-national projects; for example, the Critical Language Scholarship Program funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Taiwan-United States Alliance Global Ambassador Scholarship Program and Taiwan Huayu BEST Program supported by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, and the Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program launched by the American Councils for International Education. Over the years, 741 American university students have come to NCKU for study through these national-level programs. “I’m proud to be part of this special moment today,” Su said. With the support of the Taiwan Huayu BEST program, the trilateral collaboration opens a new chapter in cultivating next generation talents for Taiwan and the U.S.
Victoria Jones, Chief Global Affairs Officer and AVC Global Engagement of UCI, gave a lively description of a photo she saw on campus: hundreds of students in their gowns, holding their diploma, happily celebrating their graduation. She was deeply touched by the scene and wondered how many graduating students missed the chances to study abroad or to learn in another culture because of financial reasons. “The remarks I’m making today really are summed up in two words: ‘Thank you.’” Victoria Jones expressed her deep gratitude for partners pouring in resources to create a bilingual opportunity for students to learn in English and Mandarin.
NCKU has formed partnerships with three U.S. universities in conducting the Taiwan Huayu BEST Program, including UCI, Auburn University, and Utah Tech University. NCKU and UCI signed an MOU last May seeking to dispatch Mandarin teachers to the U.S., to establish Taiwan Huayu BEST scholarship, to provide online Mandarin courses, and to promote Taiwan online Mandarin tests. In February this year, the MOE approved grants to support NCKU and UCI to conduct the Taiwan Huayu BEST program.
Louis M. Huang, Director General of TECO-LA, expressed that he was honored to witness the development of the Huayu BEST Program. Longtime partners in education, Taiwan and the U.S. strive to strengthen international education. The academic freedom between Taiwan and the U.S. encourages bilingual education, cultivates talents who are fluent in Mandarin and English and embrace the Eastern and Western cultures and virtues, and promotes knowledge exchange between institutions. Representing the MOFA, TECO-LA establishes partnerships with NCKU and UCI, striving to nurture and inspire next generation leaders with bilingual competence. This collaboration between the East and the West incorporates cultures and virtues of both sides, bringing the betterment of human life from knowledge, societal, and professional aspects.
NCKU and UCI maintain beneficial interactions these years. In addition to online academic communication, Dr. Ruohmei Hsieh of UCI is visiting NCKU for two months over the summer and taking part in the bilingual universities EMI programs for teacher cultivation. The interaction facilitates the development of bilingual education, Mandarin education, and skill education for both universities.
The announcement conference on the 29th welcomed esteemed participants from all three parties
The announcement conference on the 29th welcomed esteemed participants from all three parties, including Huey-Jen Su, President of NCKU, Hsiao-Wen Wang, Vice President of NCKU Office of International Affairs, Charles Lin, Associate Vice President of NCKU Office of International Affairs, Shin-Mei Kao, Director of NCKU Chinese Language Center, Louis M. Huang, Director General of TECO-LA, Professor Hal Stern, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of UCI, Victoria Jones, Chief Global Affairs Officer and AVC Global Engagement of UCI, Tyrus Miller, Dean of the School of Humanities of UCI, and Jackson Yang, chairperson of the of J. Yang and Family Foundation. A new milestone was achieved through the trilateral collaboration.
Jackson Yang, chairperson of the of J. Yang and Family Foundation, which has for many years supported educational exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S., revealed that the Foundation will fully support one NCKU student to study abroad at UCI. “Taiwan is my homeland,” Yang expressed he always remembered the beauty of Taiwan even though he has now built his life in the U.S. In recent years, the number of Asians studying in the U.S. is rapidly rising, but Taiwanese students take up a smaller percentage among them. He hopes that through the scholarship program, assistances can reach outstanding university students to help them in their studies. He encourages more U.S. students to go to Taiwan to feel the down-to-earth and diverse culture and life in person, strengthening the bond between the two nations.
In early July this year, 10 UCI students began their summer courses at NCKU. On the press conference, the video made by four of these UCI students was played, showcasing their experiences in Taiwan. NCKU held events for them to share the American culture to Taiwanese students; Tainan First Senior High School students accompanied them in tasting local Tainan delicacies. In the video, everyone highly praised the Tainan delicacies and was most impressed by the CHIMEI Museum, Anping Treehouse, and the Dadong Night Market. The students expressed gratitude for faculty and students at the NCKU Chinese Language Center in helping them learn Mandarin. Through immersive learning, the UCI students are getting acquainted with the cultures and heritages of Taiwan while gaining professional language knowledge during their study in Taiwan.