The number of students who come to Taiwan to pursue dual degree programs have increased in recent years. The program allows students to complete the requirements of their home and host institutions within two to five years. Unlike regular student exchange programs, the dual degree track requires more time and effort, yet it undoubtedly provides students with the competitive advantages of two degrees coupled with in-depth global immersion.
National Sun Yat-sen University’s Dual Degree Program
Fang-yu Kuo is a student of the Global Human Resource Management English MBA program at National Sun Yat-sen University. In October 2016, she applied for the GHRM MBA dual degree program offered by National Sun Yat-sen University and Nottingham Trent University. Upon completing four months’ worth of courses, a three-month internship and other dual degree requirements, she would be able to attain master’s degrees from both universities.
When asked about her reason for applying for the dual degree program, Kuo responded,
“I studied business management in my previous school, and went to Japan as an exchange student for a short time, so I was interested in long term programs that allow students to explore the local culture such as dual degree. Besides, I wanted to experience the western education environment, and compare it to that of Taiwan and Japan; It was a good chance for me to do so.”
National Sun Yat-sen University and Nottingham Trent University’s cooperation on the dual degree programs started in March, 2016. Chris Crabot, Nottingham Trent University’s College International Manager, explained that providing students with a program that ran smoothly required extensive preparation. This did not simply start with the contract signed in March; it started three years ago when the schools’ faculties met to discuss the consistency and efficiency of the GHRM MBA program.
Chris Crabot explained that although the concept of a dual degree is fairly new in England at post graduate level, Nottingham Trent University has taken advantage of the opportunity that it presents. Moreover, he was very certain about the various experiences and advantages students stand to gain from internships. Therefore, it is a requirement for the dual degree. Nottingham Trent University has attached much importance to knowledge application during internships in order to help students obtain employment after graduation.
The Dual Degree Provides Students with Excellent Training in a Global Context
Dr. David McConville, an assistant professor with the GHRM MBA program at NSYSU, mentioned that the program will be offered to GHRM and Nottingham Trent students next year. (Editor’s note: The program has already started since January 2017.)He continued by emphasizing the advantages of such a program:
“I think the dual degree will provide students with an excellent overall understanding of business and human resource management in a global context. This is a fantastic agreement for both GHRM students at National Sun Yat-sen University and Nottingham Trent University students. We are confident that both sets of students will gain an enormous amount from their experiences studying in a different country, and will become much more employable as a result”.
Facing the unknown challenge of studying overseas, Fang-yu Kuo hopes that she can adjust to the academic life and living environment in England: “I took the GHRM MBA in English as a challenge, and I would like to take internship in an English company for more related experiences if I achieve the dual degree”.
Dr. McConville went on to note that students “with a genuine passion and enthusiasm” to study business and HRM are selected during the recruitment process as “A strong motivation and desire to achieve one’s potential is important”.
Dual Degree: Great Passion for Knowledge, Great possibilities for the Future
Chin-wen Kuo, Director of International Affairs at National Sun Yat-sen University revealed the reason behind the collaboration between the two universities:
“The reason why Nottingham Trent University chose National Sun Yat-sen University to practice dual degree was that our school of management obtained the certification of The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in 2005.”
Director Kuo further explained the international cooperation history of the school:
“…it has been more than 10 years since we started dual degree cooperation with foreign universities; we focused on social science and management at the beginning just like the others, but we started several dual degree of science and technology 5 years ago, and there were more and more foreign students, especially those who came from Southeast Asia.”
He ensured that National Sun Yat-Sen University will continue to develop its English-taught courses.
Brawijaya University in Indonesia is National Sun Yat-sen University’s important partner in the dual degree program; the International Master’s Program in Electric Power Engineering and the International Master’s Program in Telecommunication Engineering, are two of the programs offered.
Soraya Norma Mustika, Rezki El Arif, Aliva Kosasih and Nyoman Wira Prasetya are all students at Brawijaya University. Soraya, Rezki and Aliva recently began the new semester in Taiwan, while Nyoman is about to complete the courses of the joint degree there.
The three new students’ deepest impressions of Taiwan all included their friendly teachers and schoolmates. Though they expressed difficulty with some non-English taught courses, they were provided with English worksheets and exam papers in order to help them catch up with the rest of the class. Soraya, donning a hijab, told us that her classmate helped her to avoid pork and alcohol–dining taboos associated with her religion, Islam. The friendly and considerate Taiwanese schoolmates, they noted, not only helped them adjust to the local culture, but also learn and experience Taiwanese daily life.
Why did they choose Taiwan to earn their dual degrees? Nyoman, the oldest student, told us that he had initially thought about applying for a degree in other countries:
“However, Taiwan offered better scholarship. I was the first student from Brawijaya University, and this was an honor to me. Besides, I liked the sea, and National Sun Yat-sen University was the school of sea. It did not let me down,” Nyoman responded. To him, a student who carried the reputation of Brawijaya on his shoulders as its first student, spending graduate school in the university of the sea, was indeed a dream come true.
When asked about their plans after graduation, the four Indonesian students all agreed with the idea of working in Taiwan if there were promising opportunities available. Upon being asked whether they would recommend Indonesian students to study in Taiwan, Rezki, Soraya and Aliva all pointed at Nyoman and laughed, “We all came to Taiwan because of his recommendation!”
From their reaction, we could tell that although they faced challenges while pursuing their respective dual degrees, their courage, perseverance and determination would result in greater achievements and a brighter future with limitless possibilities for them all.