The 2020 “International Experience Exchange Workshop on Post-Pandemic University Campus Anti-Transmission Measures” drew to a successful close on August 17 at the Taipei campus of Tamkang University. The workshop brought together 95 attendees from 52 colleges and universities throughout Taiwan, including directors of international affairs and related staffers.
The Director General of Department of International and Cross-Strait Education, Ministry of Education, Andy Cheu-An Bi opened the event in address noting the impact of COVID-19 on international collaboration, and the rapid deployment of effective countermeasures including remote video communication, online education and online international conferences. “I’m very happy to see you again,” he said, “and I want to express my appreciation for the recent non-stop efforts and dedication of all my colleagues in international affairs from all of Taiwan’s colleges and universities in assisting foreign students to return to their studies in Taiwan, from arranging airport transportation to arranging flexible class attendance measures. Now, as the storm continues to rage, Taiwan is emerging as one of the first in the world to reopen its borders to international students, and among the first in which on campus education is returning to relative normalcy. The whole country has made history together, and greatly raised the global profile of Taiwan’s higher education.”
President Jenny Huey-Jen Su, Chairperson of the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education Taiwan (FICHET), said that the continuing pandemic and need for social distancing presents clear obstacles to close collaboration and interaction. “However, despite our current challenges, I’m gladdened to see so many of my colleagues and partners in international affairs in education come together today. I am deeply moved, and hope that everyone will continue to support the promotion of international education, and that we can collectively learn from this experience and emerge from this stronger than before, with new ideas and new models that will enable us to work together more effectively to continue to drive Taiwan’s higher education sector to new achievements.”
At the workshop, Professor Trong-Neng Wu, Vice President of Asia University and a renowned expert in environmental public health and with considerable experience in international exchange, explained the challenges presented by COVID-19 and measures Taiwan needs to take to prevent community spread, particularly on campus. Ms. Elizabeth Yu-Feng Chu, former R.O.C. ambassador and Administrative Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs discussed how international affairs offices can improve cross-cultural communication to ensure smooth quarantine and how to effectively maintain safe social distancing on campus for students of different cultural backgrounds.
In addition, the workshop invited senior members of the international offices, including Head of Global Students Division, Andrew Tsung of National Taiwan University, Program Coordinator, Irene Ho of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Deputy Director of International Relations Division, Cindy Su of National Cheng Kung University, and Director Yu Mei Wang of Cross-Strait Affairs Center, Soochow University, to explain measures taken by their respective institutions to ensure campus safety during the pandemic. Their discussions covered how colleges can care for overseas degree students and exchange students, to promoting international and cross-Strait cooperation and exchange through video conference. Vietnamese PhD student Nguyen Thu Hang also contributed her perspective and experience of studying in Taiwan.