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Taiwanese high schools increasingly choosing to study abroad

posted Aug 15, 2013, 8:31 PM by Chuang Tina   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 1:22 AM by Aramely Mendez ]

The national college entrance exam in Taiwan just released the admission result last week. Among quite a few local high schools, a growing trend has been found that more and more students give up their admissions to local top universities and are going for undergrad programs overseas. The generous scholarship and more international exposure at a younger age to gain competitiveness are key factors. Additionally, the parents and students are more and more open for diversified options instead of sticking to local top undergraduate programs. Taipei First Girls High School (TFG) and JianKuo High School (CKHS), the #1 public girls’ and boys’ high schools in Taiwan, both reported that the number of students choosing to study abroad over attending domestic  top universities is on the rise. 35 TFG students have committed to overseas undergraduate programs this year, a 52% increase from 23 last year. At CKHS, the increase is from 13 students last year to 16 this year. Other top public schools like Taichung Girls Senior High School (TCGS), the number jumped from 3 to 11; the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University (HSNU) has 14 students going overseas universities. In terms of elite private schools, Fuxing has 23 students studying abroad from its bilingual department, and Wego has 26 students, representing 11% of its graduation class. 

The Director of Academic Affairs at TFG, Chen, said that the school has been proactively assisting its students to pursue post-secondary degrees overseas by inviting overseas colleges for on-campus information sessions or alumni experience sharing panels. Among the 35 students, representing 3% of the total graduation class this year, there are 13 going to U.S., which has been the most popular destination. In addition to the US, 6 are going to China and 9 are going to Hong Kong. For the first time, there are students going to universities in Europe, such as Germany, France, UK, Switzerland, in all 6 students total, which shows the students and parents are more open to diverse options. One of the students, Ms. Cho, who was admitted by National Taiwan University (NTU), the top choice among Taiwanese high school students, deferred her admission to NTU and is headed to the UK for a foundation program, hoping that she will be able to be admitted to Oxford, where she hopes to  major in Economics next year. For her, the key to this decision was her international experience starting at young age, e.g. exchange student in middle school to Germany for a year, and her career goal to be a professional interpreter. 

As for CK, Chu, the Director of Academic Affairs, mentioned that due to the military obligation in Taiwan, there are fewer male students going abroad right after high school. However, he sees the growing trend since there will be policy changes about the military service in the near future. He also talked about the scholarship and international competitiveness are key factors when its students choose schools. In terms of destination, there’s no preference; this year, there are students going to Hong Kong University, where full scholarships are offered, Waseda University, which offers a USD 41,670 scholarship, universities in China like Fudan and Chiao Tung University, universities in the U.S., such as Stanford University, Columbia University, University of Connecticut, University of Washington(Seattle), and so on. 

At TCGS, last year, there were three students studying at overseas universities in Hong Kong or China. This year, the number has surged to 11 and the destination expanded to non-Chinese-speaking territories, like Canada and the U.S. The principal, Dai, said that this shows the parents and students are more open-minded and no longer limiting their kids to study at domestic top schools. On the other hand, schools like Hong Kong University, have been actively recruiting students from Taiwan for years. The advantages like a highly international environment and the school’s top global ranking  are the key attractions to students and parents, in addition to the generous scholarship. 

AT HSNU, those 14 students are going to Hong Kong University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Hong Kong Polytech, UCLA and a university pathway program in France. 

In terms of the bilingual department at Fuxing Private High School, the 23 students of its first graduation class are 100% admitted by overseas universities, such as Columbia University, Stanford University, Waseda University, and University of Tokyo.

Another private school, Wego High School has 26 students, representing 11% of its graduation class, going to study at overseas universities like UCLA, University of Illinois Urbana-Champagin, UC San Diego, University of Washington (Seattle), University of Toronto, Hong Kong University, HKUST, Chinese University in Hong Kong, Le Roche, and so on.

Click her for the original news in Mandarin: UDN; Chinatimes.com

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