2018 NTU Spring Program concludes (1–25 March 2018)

17 May 2018

      From 1 through 25 March, four KyotoU students participated in the "NTU Spring Program – Chinse Language and Culture", hosted by National Taiwan University (NTU). The opportunity was offered by Kyoto University as one of its 2017-2018 short-term outbound multicultural collaborative learning programs.

      The students received language lessons at the NTU International Chinese Language Program (ICLP), the world's foremost Chinese (Taiwanese) language institution, and attended lectures by NTU faculty on religion, environment, and traditional arts. They also took part in field trips to experience and learn about the local culture, traditions, history, and environment through their five senses.

      The lectures were part of the regular NTU curriculum, and were included in the Spring Program with help from a KyotoU alumnus now teaching at the institution.

      Participants were also able to get to know a great number of people thanks to support from NTU "student advisors".

      In the course of the program, some KyotoU students developed an interest in studying abroad for longer periods, and others made discoveries of practical relevance to their graduate research. The organizers hope that the "seeds" brought home from Taiwan will sprout and eventually bear fruit in the lives of all participants.

      Report from a participating student

      Hitoshi Miyazawa
      Group leader for the 2018 NTU Spring Program – Chinse Language and Culture
      First year, School of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine
      (Report presented at a debriefing held on 29 March 2018)

      I was one of four KyotoU students who, along with 21 others from across the world, took part in the 2018 NTU Spring Program, which ran for three weeks beginning 1 March. The program was focused on mastering the Chinese language and deepening understanding of Taiwanese culture.

      For the language lessons, we were placed into four classes, based on the results of an exam given on the first day. Classes met on weekday mornings, and were taught entirely in Chinese except at the beginning level. The curriculum included presentations in Chinese that all of us were to deliver on the final day. Learning in Chinese and constantly speaking the language helped all of us achieve solid improvements in our skills.

      Weekday afternoons and weekends were spent attending lectures and taking part in field trips, all focused on Taiwanese culture.

      The lectures were delivered in English by NTU faculty, and addressed "Religion (folk beliefs and customs)", "Traditional Performing Arts", and "Nature and Ecology", all of which we appreciated as invaluable learning opportunities.

      The field trips took us to famous sites within Taipei, such as Lungshan Temple of Manka, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the 228 Peace Memorial Park, the Presidential Office Building, Zhongshan Hall, the National Palace Museum, Shilin Night Market, Taipei Zoo, and Maokong. We also explored historical destinations outside the city, like Yingge, Sanxia District, Jiufen, and Jing Tong. The tours included commentary in English to aid our understanding of Taiwanese history and local cultures.

      Throughout our stay in Taiwan, we were generously supported by student advisors and others from NTU, and grew close to many of them. It is thanks to them that we were able to not only visit a great number of places but also gain a great deal from each of these visits.

      We also had opportunities to interact and exchange information with participants from other countries, along with local students. Some of us were fortunate enough to get to know those sharing the same academic interests as ours, encounters that might eventually lead to research cooperation and exchange.

      In addition, the program has inspired some of us to seek further international experiences. Some of us are considering going abroad to study for a longer period, while others have strengthened their commitment to mastering the Chinese language.

      Of course, all of us hope to stay in touch with our new friends in Taiwan.

      For these invaluable experiences and encounters, I would, on behalf of the four participants from Kyoto, like to extend my profound thanks to everyone who had a hand in making the Spring Program available to us.

      It is my sincere hope that more students will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to expand their networks and achieve their goals.

      On the first day, with students from across the world

      KyotoU students presenting

      After a lecture, with NTU faculty who graduated from Kyoto University

      After the closing ceremony

      About the KyotoU short-term outbound multicultural collaborative learning programs

      Each academic year, Kyoto University sponsors seven short-term study-abroad programs (to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia) as opportunities for its students to hone their foreign-language and international skills as well as to interact with participants from other countries.

      The 2017-2018 programs were funded by Japan Student Service Organization (JASSO), the KyotoU Asian Studies Unit (KUASU), and Kyoto University (under its priority action plan), with the host institutions covering the tuition fees.

      Details on the 2018-2019 opportunities are provided in Section 2 of the following:

      2018 NTU Spring Program concludes (1–25 March 2018)
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