Going to Taiwan in Fraught Times: Affordability, Learning Productivity, and Positive Student Experiences
Keywords:Affordability, grant, positive student experience, productivity, Taiwan
This study adopted a participant observation method and reflected on planning and operating a nine-week nine-credit Taiwanese culture and Mandarin study abroad program. The program ran successfully in the face of surging COVID-19 cases in Kaohsiung and increased political tension associated with Nancy Pelosi’s visit in Taiwan during the summer of 2022. This program resulted from a new international partnership between West Virginia University (WVU) in the United States and National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan (NSYSU) through the Taiwan’s Huayu Bilingual Exchanges of Selected Talent (BEST) initiative funded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education in 2021. This paper discusses how the administrative and pedagogical collaboration between WVU and NSYSU has made the study abroad programs affordable and accessible for students and productive for WVU student and faculty participants alike. The primary objective of the paper is twofold. First, the faculty lead’s experience is shared to offer insights for higher education institutions in the U.S. and Taiwan interested in taking part in BEST or other grant-funded programs as they evaluate their options for developing study abroad programs. Second, administrators and faculty who have completed their study abroad programs can reflect on the feedback from both students and the faculty lead in the study as they assess their programs.
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