College and high school students fall short of a general understanding of the global village, and most of them acknowledge that they lack the ability to speak English, according to the results of a recent survey.
The survey found that one-third of the students responding to the poll do not know of the World Health Organization, while only half of the respondents have learned that the 2012 Olympic Games will be held in London.
About 74 percent said they usually take a glance at major world events at least once a week, paying the most attention to world events, entertainment news, war reports and sporting news, in that order.
Only 16 percent claimed they follow international news every day. TV news, the Internet, and newspapers and magazines are their three leading sources.
China, Japan and the US are the top three foreign countries that students are most familiar with, and the three are also pointed out by a majority of the students as the most unfriendly toward Taiwan, the poll indicated.
Nearly 90 percent pointed to China as the most hostile foreign country to Taiwan.
Some 82 percent or respondents believe that it is very important for a private individual to have an international perspective in present-day society to enhance personal vision, help upgrade national status, improve social quality and boost the nation's foreign trade.
As many as 81 percent think that having foreign-language abilities, reading foreign newspapers and magazines, and learning international social rituals are good methods to build one's international outlook.
Around 84 percent admitted that they are unable to freely communicate with foreigners in a foreign language, while 67 percent said that they lack experience in dealing with foreigners.
As to the question of how Taiwan would join world bodies, almost 60 percent of respondents said that the government should improve the nation's political system, ahead of 52 percent who suggested strengthening foreign trade and commerce and the 48 percent who hoped the country could further step up its participation in international activities.
In terms of international affairs, 73 percent of local students are most concerned about environmental protection, followed by economic gaps and cultural conservation.
The King Car Education Foundation released the poll results on Thursday based on 2,295 valid questionnaires. No margin of error was given.