National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) is to offer full scholarships of six months to one year starting this semester to undergraduate students studying abroad on exchange programs, the university said.
It is the first university in Taiwan to offer full scholarships for students on exchange programs, it said.
The university is to budget NT$40 million (US$1.27 million) for the program and hopes to send at least 330 students on exchange programs, NSYSU president Cheng Ying-yao (鄭英耀) said.
It has exchange programs with 248 institutes in 41 countries, Cheng said.
“We want students at National Sun Yan-sen University to see the world,” he said.
NSYSU has exchanges with Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, the University of Pennsylvania and the National University of Singapore, among other major universities worldwide, he said.
There are plans to include NSYSU graduate students in the program, which would increase its total annual cost to NT$50 million, he said.
The new subsidies would be a welcome development for the families of the approximately 1,100 new students that NSYSU enrolls per year, Cheng said, adding that yesterday he conducted an information session on the program for families of incoming students.
Students who are approved for exchange programs would still pay annual tuition to the university, but it would provide them with NT$10,000 per month to assist with living costs while studying abroad, he said.
Outstanding students who are financially disadvantaged will be eligible for full subsidies, including airfares, he said.
There are about 300 students per year who enter exchange programs, but NSYSU hopes to eventually lift that number to about 2,800 through subsidies and scholarships, he said.
The weighting of grades and foreign-language skills in the evaluation of scholarship applicants has been increased from 25 percent to 50 percent, Cheng said.
The university canvasses large businesses and alumni for funding for scholarships, he added.
“Taiwan’s development relies on talented people. I want students to have diverse study experiences that give them an international outlook and opportunities to take risks,” he said.
Many Taiwanese students lack ambition to study abroad, but through the promotion and subsidization of exchange programs, hopefully more of them will develop more international mindsets and become more independently motivated, he said.
The university administration has asked its 27 graduate colleges to each have at least one joint-degree program with a foreign institution, Cheng said.
Its Institute of Political Science has a joint doctoral program with the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.
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