Jump to the main content block

MIT Chinese Abroad Program at NSYSU Brought Students to Explore Indigenous Culture for the First Time


National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) is the only collaborating university in Taiwan with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. This year, NSYSU was once again selected as the host institution for the off-site teaching of the MIT Chinese Abroad Program. The number of students studying in Taiwan this year has doubled compared to last year, reaching 19; the number of accompanying faculty has increased to 2, and the program has also been extended from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. A special feature of this year's program is the visit to the Wutai indigenous tribe in Pingtung, with Rungudru Pacekele, Assistant Professor of the Department of Sociology at NSYSU, guiding the tour. Dr. Pacekele is a member of the Rukai Tribe who specializes in indigenous agriculture and environmental research. Through his humourous and in-depth introduction, the students experienced and learned the culture and spirit of sustainability and mutual support of Rukai.

In addition to the courses, this off-site learning program included the practice of martial arts and Tai Chi, a Light Rail city tour, and visits to the neighboring attractions, such as the outer island of Cijin, Zuoying historical sites and temples, Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. Students also had the chance to go on an ecological tour of Liugui to learn and experience the development of Taiwanese tea culture. The program also arranged for the students to go to Taipei, including visits to the Dihua New Year Market, Taipei 101, and the National Palace Museum. The MIT Alumni Association in Taiwan also arranged historical tours for students to understand the development of the Dadaocheng area in Taipei and the old town of Tainan. The students were excited and thrilled about the richness of the experiences they had in Taiwan.

Dr. Haohsiang Liao, Director of the MIT Chinese Language Program, said that the MIT Chinese Language Program came to Taiwan for off-site learning for the first time in 2023 and chose NSYSU to be the local partner. Students from last year's program gave very positive feedback, so MIT decided to continue the cooperation with NSYSU and added 40-minute one-on-one oral practice sessions with NSYSU undergraduate students every day. Through intensive conversations with language partners, MIT students not only improved their Chinese speaking skills but also learned from their language partners about the warmth and openness to the cultural diversity of the young generation of Taiwan. Dr. Liao expressed that combining language courses in the mornings with field trips in the afternoons enhances students' learning motivation, making learning more efficient because of the integration of knowledge and action.

MIT students said that the living environment and vibes in Taiwan are pretty safe; the climate in southern Taiwan is pleasant, and the transportation in Kaohsiung is also very convenient. The Kaohsiung MRT is clean, fast, and punctual, and the beach at Sizihwan Bay is also very neat. However, the most impressive thing is the friendliness of Taiwanese people. The hospitable NSYSU local students warmly interacted with MIT students, taking them to experience various activities and taste local foods, such as meatballs, shaved ice, hot pot, rice balls, egg pancakes, etc., allowing MIT students to taste new things while also feeling full of human touch.

Dr. Mitch Ming-Chi Chou, Vice President for International Affairs of NSYSU, emphasized that the University encourages students to engage more in international exchange activities, expand interpersonal relationships, and broaden their global horizons. He is pleased to see the exchanges and interactions between NSYSU and MIT students and the sharing of different cultures. He hopes NSYSU’s beautiful campus and diverse and inclusive humanistic qualities can bring rich learning experiences to MIT faculty and students and build long-term international friendships.
Click Num: