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33. Why I chose to study in Taiwan?

On December 2010, I graduated from two majors, and started thinking what should I do next in my life, some would have chosen to start working, but I focused myself on keep studying. I wanted to study a master degree on the psychology field and what a better option than doing my master degree in Taiwan.

The options where many, and it was a difficult decision at the beginning until one of my friends that were studying in Taiwan at that time told me about it. Once I knew about it started investigating about it, and I found out Taiwan offered very good scholarships for the students of their partner countries. Therefore I decided to go to the Taiwanese embassy in Nicaragua, where I was very politely welcomed and decided to apply for a scholarship to study a master degree at National Taiwan Normal University. From then on, I didn’t apply for any other scholarship or investigated about other countries that could offer the same program because I was convinced that Taiwan was the best option of all.

       After four long years of hard work the day was finally here, it was my college graduation; I was now officially a psychologist. I couldn’t be happier; it was a time for celebration. Once our diplomas had been handed out, our tassels had been moved to the right side and all our friends and families had toasted to our success, it was time, to figure out what would be my next step.

        As the majority as my fellow graduates I thought about finally leaving the books behind and finding a job. I was in the process of doing precisely that when a good friend of the family, a Taiwanese, told me about the ICDF scholarship program. I was curious because I had never heard about this program and began to investigate. After a couple a phone calls and a quick internet search I found out I had all the requirements I needed to apply for a scholarship to obtain an MBA in International Human Resource Development from the National Taiwan Normal University, and this is where my decision began.

This time I am asked why I chose Taiwan as a destination to study, and my answer is simple, because Taiwan is the best place in the world to study.

For many years when I heard about Taiwan, an unknown and remote country in Asia that was completely unknown to me, I always had a good impression of that distant country (I'm from Colombia), I was always surprised about its technological advances and the economic politics of a country that despite being small in size and with half of the population of my country, is an economic and industrial giant in the world, then by that time I got fascinated by this country, so I started to find out more about of their culture and history.

I found that despite what I thought, Taiwan is also a country rich in history, tradition and culture, some sources say that a group of Japanese conquered the island in the XII century and, from the XV century onwards, Japan considered the eastern half of Taiwan as its possession. But Taiwanese known history begins with the arrival of the Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch this, Taiwanese history is full on information, is a captivating history, more exciting, more rich; a history with many stories that deserve to be told, stories like when the army of 25,000 men of Zheng Chenggong (known in the West as Koxinga), a former pirate under the orders of Ming Dynasty, organized the first wave of Chinese settlers on the island, gradually moving inland to the Aborigines. Koxinga and his descendants created the independent Kingdom of Tungning, but motivated by their power tried to regain mainland China, decision that end in 1683 when they surrendered to the Manchu Qing Dynasty and Taiwan started being held by China for the first time. Or when in 1895 after the First Sino-Japanese War

, China was forced by the Treaty of Shimonoseki to cede Taiwan to Japan in perpetuity, and this coast to impose a strict monopoly of all products, and militarily repress to any resistance. Too many, actually countless stories like this, evolved this small but big country, with many conflicts but with a long history, with many problems but offering even more solutions, full of brave and proud people, in short, a great country.

 

I have always nurtured the desire to pursue my educational ambitions to the highest academic level possible.  I am happy to be pursuing a graduate degree programme in Taiwan, but an important question to ask would be: “why did I choose to study in Taiwan?” I had options to study in countries other than Taiwan, but the latter was my preferred choice. This is my story.

A girl who had already earned a bachelor’s degree had reached a stage in her life where she had to make a choice about whether to move on to the next stage of her educational pursuit or not.  She sat, confined in her room, and gave it a serious thought.  She said to herself: “this is indeed serious business.”  What does she need to do to make such an important decision in her life?  At that point, she did not know where to begin. She thought deeply.  Notwithstanding, she definitely had to think about how to achieve her goals in life.  She bagged her first degree in her home country, and it was such a fulfilling experience, but she reckoned that it was time to spread her wings in the realm of academia beyond her borders.  Besides, the programme she wanted to venture into (International Human Resource Development) was not offered at her home country. She believed that choosing to study abroad would serve as a springboard to enhance her socio-cultural and academic experience. 

Hitherto, she had never travelled beyond the ‘smiling coast’ as The Gambia is fondly referred to, even though she had met people from other countries through her academic and professional interactions. She felt that the opportunity to make the long voyage abroad would enable her adapt to new changes and environments and accord her the rare opportunity to interact with other cultures and people.  She also believed that this would in turn enhance her personal growth as she gets to socialise with people from different backgrounds around the world.  This interaction would help her develop a global perspective and view issues from a different perspective.  Furthermore, coming from a developing country, this opportunity would expose her to state-of-the-art facilities which would rev her intellectual development. 

In addition to all the above-mentioned merits associated with pursuing her studies abroad, she was also cognizant of the enhanced employment opportunities a graduate diploma in International Human Resource Development from a prestigious western university would give her, given its global recognition.

 ​I choose to study my university program in Taiwan because my country the Gambia has a diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. As such I was fortunate to secure a scholarship to study in Taiwan. Growing up in the Gambia, my ambition was to travel abroad for my degree programs. I was always fascinated with people who travel abroad for education. The Gambia is a developing nation with only one national university, with a very limited courses offered. Therefore the need for me to choice Taiwan is of immense importance as I am learning a discipline that is not offered at the University of the Gambia. By the time I graduate here, I will be able to introduce new courses in the University of the Gambia to enable young Gambians have more diversity in course selection. I am always curious and interested in knowing more about the world. Taiwan gives me the diversity that I needed to live and learn more about different cultures and races in the world, which I wouldn’t have been exposed to if I were to study in the Gambia. It helps me develop a sense of understanding the world beyond the scope of imagination. Coming from a totally different background, every day of my life in Taiwan breeds new experience. I experienced so many things within a short period of my stay here, which I had not had the opportunity to know since childhood.