Nadia Andersson: National Chung Hsing University: Taiwan

Last changed: 04 January 2024
picture of a street market in Taiwan

I had a great experience doing my exchange in Taiwan. It thaught me about their culture, cooking, and gave me many friends for a long time to come. The two things I recommend is to travel a lot and to enjoy your time with both local students as well as other exchange student!

Why did you want to do an exchange?

I am a true traveler at heart and knew I wanted to use my opportunity while studying at SLU, Alnarp, to do an exchange outside of the EU. I have always liked the idea of combining traveling and studying to challenge myself, but to make the actual leap of faith my friend and I decided to go together. This made a huge difference for the both of us!

Which courses did you take?

The courses I took was:
3238: Environmental Science
We learned about climate change considering human impact on Earth,
and got very involved in the 17 Global Goals via presentations and lectures.

2544: Introduction of International Tea Production and Marketing
A course that taught me about the culture of tea production, from farming
to brewing, to tea ceremonies which is a very important part of Taiwanese culture. A very nice and interesting course to learn more about history and culture!

2113: Conservation Biology
One of the more serious courses where we had proper writing exams, and
this course included the perspectives of human impact of biodiversity and
extinctions caused by different man-made pollutants. A harsh but well needed course to learn more about how Earth’s population affects habitats, climate and ecosystems.

8008: Social Change and the Modern World
Even though this was on PhD-level, it was a very good course to take since
it mainly contained discussions about Taiwanese culture, feminism, problematic world leaders and food culture. The focus was mainly on Taiwan but also included global perspectives when discussing.

5115: Introduction to Geographic Information System
As a beginner of GIS this course was perfect for me. The teacher thoroughly went through the basics of GIS and I learned a lot from these weeks. Since it is not included in my programme in Sweden, this was a good complement in my work-life future!

6390: Special Study on Vegetation Engineering for Specific Sites
This course is the most hands-on course with learning plants and vegetation for retainments of slopes. The teacher was very good at explaining and we got to summarize chapters out of our coursebook and later on hold presentations about it, which made us all learn more than just listening to the teacher!

My experience of education at National Chung Hsing University was good! I did not think it was as many presentations in class as it turned out, but I really think it is a better way to learn than writing exams. Sometimes I did experience that the standard was not what we are used to in Sweden, in both ways! Sometimes not as good and sometimes better than Sweden's system. They did not have as many discussions with the students in class, basically no one asked any questions which led to a discussion, and some teachers just read straight from the powerpoint, which was disappointing. But the better part was well prepared powerpoints, a lot of presentations and group work which I enjoyed.

What was the student life like outside of your courses?

We got in contact with other exchange students which was a great community to have since I did not experience that the school was very inclusive with engaging exchange students in activities. But we traveled a lot together as exchange students and visited almost every big city in Taiwan which was great! But as we got to know students in our classes, we got engaged in Volleyball in my department which was so much fun. They had practice two times a week which got me more involved with Taiwanese students. We got emails two times about a trip for students to join, and both times I joined them. This was a good experience with well planned activities to get to know other students and travel around in Taiwan!!

What was your best experience during your exchange?

My best experience was traveling and learning about their culture, both through courses but also talking to locals. Since it is very different from Swedish culture, it was so interesting to learn more and more during my stay there. All of the local students as well as exchange students brought me so much joy during my studies, which was the best part!

What was the biggest challenge during your exchange?

To be exposed to a very different culture both within the university and the country. There were so many new impressions and things to learn and adapt to (which I luckily learned very quickly). But to get out of my comfort zone was a big challenge, and there was a huge language barrier between many of our classmates. But we were always greeted with smiles and tried to work it out through google translate!

Advice for future exchange students

Know that there is a lot of paperwork before and right at the beginning of your exchange (at least for Taiwan)! I had to go through (and pay myself) for lung x rays, vaccines, and blood tests, which I did not find out about until I was accepted to my university. But my biggest advice is to try to engage in a sport or other activity, since it is an easy way to find new connections and friends. I also experienced that those who lived in dorms had great friendships compared to me who lived in an apartment, so the one thing I would change would be to live in a dorm.

My email: andersson.nadia99@gmail.com

 

Facts:

Name: Nadia Andersson
Exchange at: National Chung Hsing University (in Taiwan)
Programme at SLU: Horticultural management: Gardening and horticultural production - Bachelor's programme
Period of exchange: Spring 2023


Contact