Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Students set for 22-day Africa trial

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eight Taiwanese graduate students and their teachers will embark on a trip to Tanzania tomorrow on a 22-day mountaineering challenge that will see them climb the two highest mountains in Africa.

The students, who hail from the Graduate Institute of Recreation and Leisure Industry Management at National Taiwan Sports University, will test their limits by climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya, university president Chou Hung-shih (周宏室) told a press conference yesterday.

Calling the adventure course a “breakthrough” for Taiwanese higher education, Chou said more than 50 students from the school have participated in similar activities since 2005, including a successful scaling of the 6,189m Island Peak in the Himalayas last year.

“I am always worried to death when they go on these trips ... but encountering danger is part of the learning process,” said Moh Chi-Yung (莫季雍), chairman of the institute.

Hsieh Chih-mou (謝智謀), one of the professors leading the students, said the objective of the course was to shape the vision of the nation’s “future leaders” by helping the students develop empathy, a global perspective, team spirit, communication skills and powers of execution throughout the preparation for the trip.

Before leaving, the students were responsible for raising funds to build school toilets in Tanzania to help improve sanitation conditions, Hsieh said, adding that the students would also do community service during their stay in Tanzania.

“We are taking learning outside the classroom,” Hsieh said.

Lai Yu-chen (賴妤甄), 23, said she took the course because she wanted to break the stereotype that Taiwanese children born in the 1980s and 1990s are as weak as “strawberries.”

Chang Ya-chi (張雅期), a 29-year-old student who previously went through one year of chemotherapy for treating lymphoma, said she insisted on joining the adventure because she needed to seize the opportunity.

“If I don’t do it now, I probably won’t have the opportunity to do it in future,” she said.

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