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National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with Middlebury College in establishing the “Middlebury School in Taiwan. Middlebury College is a prestigious liberal arts institution established in 1800 in Vermont, USA, and is renowned for its language education programs. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) cementing this partnership marks a significant milestone in fostering educational and cultural exchange between the two esteemed institutions.

This collaboration was initiated by a visit of the Dean of International Programs, Dr. Carlos Vélez-Blasini, from Middlebury in February 2023 and followed by a return visit from NSYSU Vice President for International Affairs, Dr. Mitch Chou. It was further solidified during an online meeting between President Laurie L. Patton of Middlebury College and President Ying-Yao Cheng of NSYSU on October 4. The meeting reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing educational opportunities and promoting cultural understanding through this exciting academic endeavor.

NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng points out that Middlebury College is an elite private liberal arts institution in New England and is regarded as a Little Ivies school. Middlebury College is also the first higher education institution in the United States to have the first African American graduate and the first college in New England to become a coeducational institution. Middlebury encourages students to go abroad for international experience and language acquisition; the C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad has already set up over 30 international programs in 17 countries in 10 different languages. The Middlebury School in Taiwan is set to welcome its first cohort of Junior-level students in the spring semester of 2024 to study for a semester or a year. Middlebury also opens these opportunities to students who have taken two years of Mandarin classes from other U.S. universities.

According to Vice President for International Affairs Dr. Mitch Chou, NSYSU will offer a core program focused on Chinese competency-based language. Additionally, students will be enrolled in 3 to 6 elective courses taught in Chinese, covering a wide array of subjects such as culture, politics, translation, media, geography, history, religion, environment, economics, and literature.

“This partnership offers a rich and diverse learning platform for Taiwanese and International students,” said Dr. Mitch. Students participating in the program have pledged to speak Mandarin exclusively in Taiwan to enhance language immersion and proficiency. This language pledge aims to bolster language acquisition and cultural integration.

Furthermore, students will reside with local Taiwanese students to facilitate a complete language and cultural experience, promoting cross-cultural interaction and understanding. This accommodation arrangement will allow students to fully immerse themselves in Taiwanese culture and forge lasting international friendships.

NSYSU is excited about this collaboration with Middlebury College and is optimistic about its transformative impact on students from both institutions. This partnership is believed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in an interconnected global society.
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