I am Agnes from Indonesia. I came to Taiwan to pursue both my Master’s and PhD at two different universities. I just completed my Ph.D.’s final defense this month but I am not yet officially graduated since I still have to finish one compulsory course this semester. My passion is in education and women empowerment.
1. What made you decide to study in Taiwan?
First of all, it is because Taiwan has been noted as one of the most leading countries in science and technology. Its production in micro/nanofabricated devices is acknowledged worldwide. Being quite attractive for people to build careers in such industry, its cost of living is not as shocking as the other developed countries, such as Japan or Singapore. What Taiwan owns had impressed me and seemed to fulfill my desire for a profound learning to a higher degree after completing my bachelor’s degree in Food Technology. Secondly, it was because Taiwanese universities had granted me a generous amount of scholarship the way other country had not offered throughout my experience in scholarship hunting.
2. Briefly tell us about the program you are studying. What subjects are you studying? What have you enjoyed the most in your studies?
I am currently studying at the Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering, Chang Gung University. This program has elaborated biological science with engineering fundamentals to develop novel medical devices. During the study, we are involved in multidiscipline courses ranging from biological, chemical, materials, electronics to semiconductors principals. The lessons are mostly delivered in English which in my humble opinion is not designed to solely aid foreign students but also to create an interactive atmosphere for everyone in the class. The use of English is essential in the Ph.D. program since it is the major language for the publication every student has to fulfill. I do enjoy all the teaching process in this department where students gain knowledge not only in the classroom but also in the real medical scenes such as through the internship program at one of the most outstanding hospitals in Taiwan, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.
3. How is studying in Taiwan when compared to studying and being a student in your home country? (Teaching Quality、Environment、School Equipment、Laboratory or others)
My homeland, Indonesia, has actually been developing and growing rapidly in the past decades. The scholars, professors, and experts of diverse fields are born within this period marking the rise of the nation. The main issue in a country as big as Indonesia is the volume of students which makes it difficult for everyone to access a proper education. With its compact size pertaining to its land area, Taiwan has been endowed the most conducive environment for students to strive for excellence. The teaching quality in Taiwanese universities meets the international standard where most of the lecturers are professors graduated not only from the best universities in Taiwan but also from remarkable campuses all over the world. Not only that, Taiwanese professors are very active and aggressive in research even within their gridlocked teaching schedules. On the contrary, in Indonesia, due to the lack of professors, Master’s graduates are somehow eligible to teach the college students. From school environment point of view, Taiwanese universities offer a completely supportive studying and living environment for the students where school and dormitory are within walk distance and cafeterias are assured of their hygiene, cleanliness and nutrition value. When it specifically comes to laboratory, Taiwanese universities are facilitated with advanced machinery. These facilities consequently enhance technical confidence of students especially when they enter the industry in the future. Such an investment has not yet been well applied in most Indonesian universities. These invaluable aspects are precious assets for the students after they graduate and struggle for a job.
4. What has been the most difficult part about applying to study in Taiwan? How did you overcome the difficulty?
In applying to study in Taiwan, the most difficult process to me was VISA application. The administration clearance took time as letters from universities and other supporting documents might not arrive together. While after reaching Taiwan to start to study, the most challenging part was mostly coming from language barriers. Even though English is prevalently used, yet, Mandarin/ Chinese is the major language. Joining free Chinese course provided by the school has been the most effective solution to learn the language and understand the culture better. An intense communication with Taiwanese colleagues, students and mates would be a great alternative as well.
5. What do you plan to do after you have finish your studies in Taiwan? Would you like to stay in Taiwan? Why?
Staying in Taiwan after graduating from a Taiwanese university, honestly, is financially promising. But, reasons may vary for each individual. To me personally, staying in Taiwan has been a future target. For now, after the graduation, my plan is to go home to seek an opportunity to join Indonesian government research center as a researcher. I wish that one day I can be back to Taiwan for sorts of research collaboration or partnership supporting and benefitting both countries.
6. How do you think studying in Taiwan can benefit you in your future career?
In my field of study, biosensors and biomedical engineering, Taiwan has achieved international recognition. All the knowledge in this area gained during my study in Taiwan could be applied in any nation especially in developed countries where point of care units are urgently required and aging community are dominant. I am very optimistic my academic background obtained from Taiwan will be impactful in building my career pathway.
7. What do you see as your key achievements when studying in Taiwan?
Taiwan has transformed me into an independent learner. Numbers of research facilities and resources during my study were the platforms to realize my idea. Throughout this process, I finally discovered that research is no longer done for fulfilling my graduation requirement only but it is my future.
8. What advice do you have for other interested overseas students who want to come to Taiwan to study?
Studying in Taiwan is truly an amazing experience. Taiwan will embrace you with its great education system and environment and bring you toward your dream career.