Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Students' interpersonal skills honed on 'blind dates'

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Finding a date on the Web has often been portrayed as risky, but a professor at National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) believes such behavior might actually help students get out of their comfort zone and improve their interpersonal skills.

Chen Ying-yu (陳膺宇), a professor at NCTU’s Center for General Education, told reporters yesterday that he launched a project this semester asking his students to seek out individuals on the Internet for “simulated dates.”

Students were asked to design activities and prepare conversational topics and jokes prior to the meeting, Chen said.

The students were also required to document the date by taking pictures or videotaping the meeting, Chen said.

Chen said the assignment was meant to help shy students learn how to date because many male students often failed to take the initiative and pursue girls they like, later regretting it when they see the girl become someone else’s girlfriend.

“Many students do not have problems chatting or establishing interpersonal relationships with strangers on the Internet, but they often do not know how to talk to strangers in real life,” he said.

Chiu Wan-ling (邱婉凌), a student in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, said she invited an “upper-class man” on a date to Yangmingshan.

“I felt a little bit embarrassed at first because I didn’t know what to say, but later we got talking,” Chiu said. “I am very lucky to have made one more great friend and I learned a lot from the date.”

Hsu Meng-hong (徐孟弘), a junior in the Department of Electronic Engineering, said he ended up on a date with a girl from National Tsing Hua University by using the college bulletin board system.

“It was different getting along with someone you didn’t know. I learned different perspectives and lifestyles and to try something new. I think life would be more fun this way,” Hsu said.

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