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NPUST Makes Boarding Call: “Explore the World, Explore Yourself”
National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) has pulled out all the stops in its internationalization efforts over the years and has seen continuous growth in its overseas enrollment as a result. This year, 750 students coming form 46 countries around the world are on the roster at the university and excited to be part of the international NPUST family. On November 12th, NPUST hosted an international fair at the university library to get more students thinking about embarking on overseas learning adventures. The activities were organized to provide local students with information on a variety of channels the university has developed over the years to help students go abroad, explore the big world out there, and learn new things. The fair was decorated to give the participants the sense that they were walking through an airport to catch a plane. Students had to make their way to the “NPUST Airlines” counter to check-in, collect their boarding passes and proceed to passport control to receive a stamp. Once the passengers arrived at the gate, the captain, played by Professor Shang-min Ma, made a special announcement to encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to go abroad for learning. “Captain” Ma, explained that “the international education fair was organized by the NPUST Office of Academic Affairs, Office of International Affairs, and Center for Interdisciplinary Development to introduce students to a variety of channels for overseas learning opportunities so they can improve their competitiveness, broaden their international outlook, and equip themselves for future employment.” The university also invited the Fulbright Foundation for Scholarly Exchange, British Council, and Richmond International Travel to set up information counters at the fair to provide students with additional information which could help them to plan out their studies abroad. Food and culture booths were also set up by NPUST students from Malaysia, Macau, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Eswatini, Mongolia and Japan. So without even boarding a plane, the participants had a chance to meet new friends from around the world and experience foods from ten different countries. It was a great opportunity for them to broaden their worldviews and learn new things about the international students currently enrolled at the university – and also a great opportunity for them to start thinking about where their academic careers might take them in the future. Currently, NPUST has sister-school relationships with 252 schools in 43 counties and 5 continents. Under principles of reciprocity, students have the opportunity to take part in short-term exchanges at these schools and apply the credits they earn while away to their degrees at home.
Club Med Overseas Internships Have Brilliant Results
In 2013, the NPUST Department of Recreational Sport & Health Promotion entered into a cooperative relationship with the world renowned resort organization, Club Med, to training students in resort management and open up opportunities for overseas internships. The relationship is the first of its kind in Taiwan, and over the past five years, many students have already travelled to Club Med Resorts around the world to take part in internship training. Through a comprehensive training program, students learn about workplace expectations and demands early on. They are also encouraged to acquire relevant certifications and apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to the real world during internships with Club Med and in their careers. For the students who successfully land overseas internships, they will also have a very eye-catching item to add to their resumes. On November 2nd, 2018 at university stadium, the NPUST vice-president for administrative affairs, Dr. Chao-lin Tuan, and the Club Med vice-president for the greater China area, Ms. Yvonne Zhu, jointly hosted an opening ceremony for this year’s session of the “Human Resources Training Program”. Dr. Tuan made some remarks stating that “our university’s diverse approach to education teaches students technical knowledge in such fields as agriculture, forestry, fishing, and animal sciences, but it also integrates the domains of health and leisure. For instance, currently, the university is promoting Green tourism and healthy vacations – which are current trends of development. And so, we encourage students at the university to take part in interdisciplinary studies. Integrating Club Med’s expertise in business administration with the knowledge students learn at the university will open them up to more opportunities in the future.” Ms. Zhu stated that “Club Med offers more than work experience. It is also providing a path for personal growth. Seventy students from NPUST are already working for Club Med and we hope that through this program, we will be able to cultivate even more talent”. Recreational Sport & Health Promotion Assoc. Prof. Ming-Hung Chen is responsible for the program’s planning. He explained, “originating from France, Club Med is the leading brand in premium, all-inclusive holidays. With its 80 top-end resorts, it is currently the largest resort group in the world. The main people working to organize all of the activities at the Club Med resorts are called Gentle Organizers (G.Os). To become a G.O, in addition to having a good attitude and special qualities, you need to have foreign language skills. This November, recruitment of second- and third-year students at the university began and evaluations focused on foreign language ability, professional certificates and aptitude. In the preliminary selection, 20 to 30 students are chosen to undergo training. The training period lasts for 3 months, with classes on the historic development of Club Med, work content and culture, occupational demand and certifications. After the training is completed, the students will be given priority to take part in overseas Club Med internships for half a year. “The results from last year’s training class were brilliant. 25 students were recruited, from the departments of Recreational Sport & Health Promotion, Applied Linguistics, Tropical Agriculture, Child Care, and International Finance. Following a rigorous selection processes and matchmaking, 12 of the students were selected to go to Club Med resorts in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Mauritius, and France for internships. The job performances of the students were all regarded highly by the management at the resorts, demonstrating the quality of the talent selection processes and training. Students who take part in the program are given an opportunity to understand overseas work content early on so that they can prepare themselves to cooperate with businesses in the future.” This year, the target is to select 15 students to go to Club Med resorts for internships. This cooperative relationship between NPUST and Club Med opens up new resources for both parties and will also hopefully attract more talent and create more opportunity to cultivate people with international frames of reference. It also allows students to prepare themselves in advance to enter the job market and move closer to the goal of finding employment immediately upon graduation.
NPUST Hosts Vacation School
Students from Thailand were on “vacation” for two weeks at Taiwan’s National Pingtung University of Science and Technology as part of a new program which has been created to give students from Thailand a chance to learn new language skills and experience different cultures. Running from October 28th to November 11th, the “Thailand Vacation School Culture Camp for Language Learning” was developed by the NPUST Office of International Affairs and the Chinese Language Center in response to the Ministry of Education’s New Southbound Vacation School Project. An opening ceremony for activity was held on October 29th at the Second Meeting room at the university’s Administrative Building with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Chung-Ruey Yen, the Director of the Language Center, Dr. Han-sheng Wang, and Dean of the Office of International Affairs, Dr. Pomin Li, present to welcome the students. Nineteen Thai students coming from Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Maejo University, Thammasat University, and Mahasarakham University participated in the vacation school program. The program involved a set of activities that were designed to help students diversify their approach to academics and expand their fields of view by cultivating “cross-domain thinking”. For 14 days, the students had a chance to improve their Chinese language skills, experience new cultures and get acquainted with the NPUST approach to higher education. Field trips were organized to a variety of attractions where students could observe historic and culturally significant architecture and also enjoy some of Taiwan’s natural mountain and seaside beauty. The activities followed the approach of “learning while doing and doing while learning”, integrating language studies with cultural experiences and incorporating some of the local style and features of NPUST. The students were introduced to Hakka and aboriginal culture, tried out local cuisine, and got familiar friendly life philosophy of southern Taiwan. NPUST’s development has been centered on tropical agriculture, biotechnology and Green engineering and the agriculture program offered by the school has already earned a world-wide reputation. NPUST Vice-President Chung-Ruey Yen said that the number of of foreign students applying to NPUST has been continuously growing. From the year of its establishment in 1924 to the present, NPUST has had more than 1800 foreign students coming from 50 countries enroll in its programs. The number of foreign students registered at the university in 2017 constituted more than a third of that total, with 750 students representing 40 countries on the books. Under the New Southbound Policy (NSP), the largest representation of foreign students is coming from Malaysia, followed by Thailand. NPUST also has a significant number outstanding Thai alumni who have gone on to see considerable success in academic, business and governmental sectors in Thailand. This academic year (2018), 498 international students coming from 14 NSP countries are enrolled in formal studies or taking part in short term exchanges at NPUST. Hopes are that the vacation school, which has attracted 19 students from four of NPUST’s sister-schools in Thailand, will not only allow students expand their fields of view and get more acquainted with Taiwan, but will also inspire them to return to NPUST in the future to continue their education at the university.