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30. My University and My Program

 I attend the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST), which is located in the south of Taiwan. Based on other universities I have visited, Pingtung is very different not only in landscape but in surroundings. NPUST is nestled in mountains away from the hustle and bustle of city life. If natural and relaxed is more your cup of tea, NPUST is definitely a prime candidate. Its’ surrounded by green rolling mountains which are absolutely breathtaking. From the school gate to the Main campus is roughly 3 km. Lined up along this long path are statuesque trees adding to the already naturally aesthetic landscape.  There are a number of lakes on campus which in my opinion not only  makes a good jogging route for the more active individuals but also a peaceful area to clear your head or lose yourself for a moment when the pressures of studying gets to you. When I visit the lake I enjoy feeding the turtles and ducks.

 National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) is the name of my university which was found in 1942. It is located in the south of Taiwan in Neipu, Pingtung. They have been said that it is one of the largest and beautiful campuses in Taiwan which is 704.25 acres (2.8500 km2). It has 24 departments and 27 graduate institutes offering Master's degrees and five Doctoral programs. These departments and graduate institutes are distributed among four colleges: agriculture, engineering, management, and humanities and social sciences. Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation is my department where I am doing my undergraduate in Tropical Agriculture. The school provides dormitory for both boys and girls where it has 8 dorms in total, 3 for boys and 5 for girls.

NPUST has evolved from a small agricultural institute, progressing through all of the hardworking successive presidents, teachers, students and staffs to become a university that is nationally and internationally recognized for its gorgeous campus which is at the piedmont of lofty Mount Da-Wu.

Schooling here in NPUST is the best choice I made because of the weather and its environment around. The weather here in the school is the best which is not too cold and less rainfall during winter compares to Taipei, the sun is always up which makes a fine weather every day. Every sunrise over the northern Mount Da-Wu is the symbol of life and growth in nature, and the rosy dawn of the Lover’s Mound is as exceptionally beautiful as the sunset scenery. It’s quiet elegant environment which filled with green, the tender grass pastures and a fruit-laden garden, indicates an apparent bumper harvest for the year underway. The school has its lake which it view is so admirable. The school life service office where they keep the animals in is another place in school where you can explore and see some kinds of animals. It also has the place where they recycle the water which is the Life Garden. It has a beautiful garden with flowers with any kind of fountains they create which is a very admirable place.

 Living in Taiwan for the past two and a half years has been very rewarding, especially because my university is located in and isolated area free from many distractions. What is special about my university, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, is the environment that surrounds it. For example, mountains, birds, trees, etc., making it so tranquil. Well, at least until the classes start. This peaceful scenario returns to normal at the evening time when all the professors and students leave the University for their Journey back home.

In addition to having one of the biggest campuses in Taiwan, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, offers many courses for the development of the Agriculture sector, as well as many other related fields that aims to bring awareness, proper management and protection of our natural resources and environment. For many of us foreigners who attend this University, the latter are very key factors that are affecting our countries so it is of utmost importance not to take the knowledge from our experienced professors in the department for granted.

 National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST) is located in the South of Taiwan. This university, located in the mountain sides is one of the biggest in Taiwan. The campus of NPUST is also one of the beautiful of this island with a really nice and large landscape which attract every week-end many visitors who came to relax and enjoy with the nature. NPUST is located outside Pingtung city center so live in this campus is pretty much quiet without the pollution of big cities. For my opinion, this campus is an ideal place to study, and particularly the agricultural Sciences and also many others. NPUST have around thirty five (35) departments within them we have the Department of Tropical Agriculture an International Cooperation (DTAIC) in which I’m belong. Dr. Charles Albert Linton is the chairman of this department. Actually a teacher in my department and also in the department of Biotechnology, he is also an ancient international student who did his Master Degree and his PhD degree here in Taiwan. In this department, there are many international students coming from all the continents who live with harmony with local students. Particularly in my class, we are 35 students within whom there are 20 local students. I’m really to be in this class because despite the cultural and racial differences, live really a perfect harmony. As an example, on the T-shirt we made two weeks ago, in the back it is printed: ‘’DTAIC, many countries, one family’’.  We wear it proudly last week in class! In the dormitory also, local students and international students realize a real cultural mix. I even have to admit that everything is going better than I have expected before my arrival here.

 I am a current student at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology (NPUST). In September 2011, I was admitted to Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation to pursue a bachelor degree in Plant Science.

Undoubtly, it was not a mistake coming to this university because it offers almost all academic requirements and recreations that is vital for the social, intellectual and professional development of any prospective student seeking oversea higher education. The university location makes it a peculiar place for us to focus on our studies. It is just on the outskirt of Pingtung city with a unique landscape. The Mountain View beside our dormitory makes it possible to feel the nature at a glance. Another significant factor in the university is the landscape design within the campus; there is a variety of ornamental flowers that gives the learning environment a very friendly place to study. NPUST is a special place especially during winter vacation when the campus almost empty after all local students have moved out to their home cities leaving only the international students. During this moment I felt very relaxed and always enjoyed the birds singing on the numerous tree tops within the campus.

 Hello, my name is Luis Valenzuela, I’m 22 years old, I’m from El Salvador and I’m studying my undergrad program at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation, specialized in Animal Production.

Well I don’t know if you have clear what do you want to study yet, but just in case here I have a wonderful suggestion for you, if you are into the agricultural sciences, NPUST is the best choice you can have here in Taiwan, not only because its facilities (is the biggest university in Taiwan), but also for all the qualify staff (professors, administrative staff, students) that is willing to help you and make you feel comfortable along your stay here.

Currently I’m in my second year of my program and I feel so excited about everything what I’m learning, I’m taking courses like Animal Nutrition, Feed Management and Technology (theory and practice) and I had taken others like Zoology (theory and practice), Introduction to Animal Science, Animal Anatomy and Physiology (theory and practice), Natural and Life Sciences (Agriculture Animal and Plant Protection), Introduction to World aquaculture, Livestock Environmental Physiology and last but one of the most fascinating experiences  is the internship at the university farm and in what I’m doing right now.

 Getting a closer approach to my program would be an adventure to involve you into the country side of Taiwan. Even thought NPUST, my wonderful university, is in the country side of Taiwan; the advance, potential and resources available on this campus are countless.

NPUST campus is the largest in Taiwan and all south-east Asia. There are swimming pools, a soccer field, tennis courts, more than 20 basketball and volleyball courts, billiards, table tennis, a full equipped gym, an Olympic track, and many other sport’s facilities. Concerning about the life on campus, it is quite comfortable once you have a scooter or bicycle at least. This is a huge place apart from the city and moving around may take longer than in other parts of Taiwan.

Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation (DTAIC) is the department where Bachelor, Master and Ph. D. programs in tropical agriculture are offered. I am currently a second year bachelor student. The bachelor is mainly focus on a general and global perspective of agriculture, with a specialization in either animal or plant production.

Throughout the four years of study in DTAIC, students have to take diverse courses related to Agriculture. Experimental Laboratory classes are included in every semester. Laboratories are in good conditions, fundamental knowledge of Chemistry is learned in the Labs, as well as more specific areas of plant or animal sciences. Practical outdoor courses are also learned. You will experience what is to work on a scientific farm. Taking care of high productivity animals as an animal scientist or growing up plants as a plant scientist.

 Coming from an animal science background, I came to NPUST with the idea of pursuing my Bachelor degree and most of all to learn as much as I can in that area. Back home in Belize, where I was involved in the agriculture sector, I was fortunate to work hand in hand with the Taiwanese mission providing technical assistance to farmers. I was always impressed with their technological approach towards development, one of the many reasons of coming to Taiwan, to get that first-hand experience. In September 2009, after receiving a scholarship from ICDF Taiwan, I was enrolled at the institution in Pingtung in the Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation (DTAIC). The curriculum at the department focuses on four main areas of interest particularly plants, animals, Agricultural business and Agricultural engineering.

Our Animal group consisted of only eight students. Being in a small group had major advantages over advantages especially in this field of study where practical sessions are necessary to learn and of course a more interactive approach in class. Our department, DTAIC, provides some classes for us, but most of our technical classes are taken in other departments here we need to interact with local students and make new friends. NPUST is the largest campus in Taiwan and from time to time I need to be moving from class to class, hence the reason for a scooter to facilitate the process. My favorite department on the campus is the Livestock Waste and Management department, as a matter of fact, that’s where I take most of my class. Personally, I think it is one of the busiest department on campus because not only do we take classes, conduct research and other academics but also because there is also a farm managed by the students of that department. The farm is very advance and developed and serves as a learning tool for students, a means of generating income and even provides employment. On the farm there are the major domesticated farm animals such as pigs, cattle and poultry species. I saw my first ostrich at the farm too, interestingly, as well as some complicated and interesting farm machinery, equipment and technology used in animal husbandry.

 I could still remember the first day I arrived to the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology on the 01st September 2011. When I first stepped into this university my jaw nearly dropped, this university is really big, it occupies over 10,000 square meters, and in fact this university is the largest in Taiwan. NPUST has 24 departments and 27 graduate institutes offering Master's degrees and five Doctoral programs. These departments and graduate institutes are distributed among four colleges: agriculture, engineering, management, and humanities and social sciences. NPUST's undergraduate school currently offers bachelor’s degrees to graduates of a four-year program and a two-year program. The four-year program admits students graduating from vocational high schools or their equivalents, while the two-year program admits students graduating from vocational institutes and their equivalents. NPUST has also established a night school to admit students with at least one year's work experience.

The first name given to this university was "Kaohsiung State Pingtung Extension School of Agriculture”, in 1992 when it was founded. In Japanese Showa Year 3 (1928), the school was extended and renamed as Kaohsiung District Pingtung Agricultural School. After the re-establishment of Taiwan, the school was renewed as Taiwan Provincial Institute of Agriculture in 1954, and then renamed once more as National Pingtung Institute of Agriculture in 1964.

The school is located on a hillside in northeastern Neipu Township in Pingtung, occupies 285 hectares adjacent to Da-Wu Mountain and Dong-Gang Creek with the largest and most beautiful campus in the nation. This university is so large compared to others in Taiwan that scooters are sometimes needed to get to class as quickly as possible because some buildings may be situated very far in this university grounds, scooters are not only useful to get to classes on time but also to go outside the main gate to have a snack as you will get bored of the foods served in the university’s cafeteria. This university has two cafeterias; the first cafeteria is located near the Girl’s Dorm and the second restaurant is located near the Boy’s Dorm.

 My university’s name is: National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, I currently study agriculture my major is Plant Science, when I first came to my university the first thing that crossed my mind was “oh my God what a BIG campus” I was really overwhelmed, since the moment I was coming  in the bus the very first time I was amazed by incredible amount of trees and plants, you can even see this long and beautiful green tunnel formed by all the trees at each side of the road, you can feel how they welcome all the visitors and future residents.  Throughout my way at NPUST I have learned to love every single detail that this campus offers, especially the sunsets that you can admire from your dorm window, these sunsets are unique and they give you the most amazing colors out of this world… or you can find the contrast of a beautiful night with a lot of stars or watch the full moon at the lake. The lake is one of my favorite places in the whole university, you can spend a really nice afternoon or evening with the friends or simply relax after a very long day

The first days at NPUST were pretty nice. The first thing that comes to my memory is me walking to the gate and being able to appreciate all those big buildings and the beautiful green areas in between. Besides NPUST offers a lot of advantages, like having a “7-eleven” right there, you could say it saves our lives every once in a while, also we are very lucky to have a restaurant in each dorm that offers a splendid variety of food and each and every one of the people that tends are always willing to help you with a warm and nice smile at any time of the day, that makes it a very nice place to eat at.