Special Program Set Up for Taiwanese Students with Overseas Study Plans On Hold
In light of the worldwide disruptions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Education has recently announced a special program allowing Taiwanese students studying overseas to transfer to universities in Taiwan, including NTHU. As for Taiwanese students who were planning to begin studying overseas in the fall, many have had to postpone their plans. With this latter group in mind, NTHU has set up the Weigong Academy, allowing such students to study at NTHU until they are able to go aboard.
Vice president for academic affairs Chiao Chuan-chin said that schools in 185 countries have been forced to suspend classes because of the pandemic, and many may not be able to reopen in September. Thus the Weigong Academy will be accepting undergraduate and graduate students for the 2020 academic year, and is also open to Taiwanese students returning from overseas.
Chiao said that students in the program will be allowed to attend whichever NTHU courses are of interest to them (including lab courses, practicums, and physical education classes), and will receive a certificate detailing their studies.
The Weigong Academy will also provide participating students with customized counseling, individually or in groups, focusing on coursework and career planning. Participants can apply for on-campus accommodation, and will be allowed to participate in student clubs and other activities, and the Weigong Academy will have a dedicated space for conducting its activities.
The Weigong Academy will be led by Prof. Huang Yi-long of the Institute of History. Amongst the program’s impressive array of mentors are Chiang Ann-shyn, dean of the College of Life Science and director of the Brain Research Center; Li Chia-wei of the Department of Life Sciences; Tsai Nun Sian, director of the Research Center for Archeology and Antiquities Authentication; Peng Shin-yi of the Institute of Law for Science and Technology; Fu Li-yu, recipient of Best Animation Prize in the Golden Bell Awards; and Charles Hsu, founder and chairman of eMemory Technology.
A time to prepare, a time to network
Huang said that the Weigong Academy is intended to meet the exigencies of an unprecedented situation, and that all of the program’s mentors are volunteering their time so that participating students can make the most of the delay in commencing their overseas education.
Noting that the first semester of overseas study is often the most challenging, Huang said that the Weigong Academy will provide students with an opportunity for some extra preparation, especially in language skills and difficult subjects.
Huang added that the program will also provide participants with an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded people prior to commencing their overseas education.
Helping students prepare for study overseas
Amongst the students who have expressed a strong interest in applying to the Weigong Academy is Jiang Yuen, a senior high school student in the Bilingual Department of the National Experimental High School (NEHS) at the Hsinchu Science Park. He has been admitted to the Missouri School of Journalism in the United States, but the pandemic has thrown his actual matriculation date into question. Jiang is planning to become an investigative reporter, and is planning to do some advance preparation at NTHU by taking classes in such areas as journalism, writing, video narrative, big data, and information technology.
Jiang has been strongly encouraged to apply by his father, Jiang Sen, who said that he was highly impressed with the wide range of general education courses at NTHU, and is confident that gaining some university experience prior to going abroad will benefit his son immensely.
As for cost, the Office of Academic Affairs has indicated that Weigong Academy students will be required to pay the regular tuition and fees, but will be eligible for a partial refund if a change in the pandemic allows them to go overseas prior to completing the semester; low-income students will be exempt from tuition and fees.
NTHU has set up the Weigong Academy for Taiwanese students forced by the coronavirus pandemic to postpone their overseas study plans.
The Weigong Academy will be led by Prof. Huang Yi-long (second from right) of the Institute of History.
Students of the Weigong Academy will be allowed to attend whichever NTHU courses are of interest to them.