The decision to move a Harvard University study-abroad program from Beijing to Taipei starting next summer is expected to offer students and teachers a wider scope of learning experiences, a spokesman for the Harvard Division of Continuing Education (DCE) said.
The US university decided to relocate the summer program from Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) in the Chinese capital to Taipei’s National Taiwan University (NTU).
DCE associate director of communications Harry Pierre said that the new arrangement “presents a different opportunity for our instructors and learners to broaden their educational experiences.”
Program director Jennifer Liu told the Harvard Crimson in an Oct. 7 report that the program was relocated due to a perceived lack of friendliness from the host institution in Beijing.
Liu said that program planners had experienced difficulties accessing the classrooms and dorms they needed at BLCU, and that they were told in 2019 they could no longer hold a party celebrating the US’ Independence Day on July 4.
“Given the condition they provided, we really couldn’t run the program with the quality that we are hoping to deliver to our students,” Liu said.
Liu suspects that the unwelcoming environment could have been due to a change in the Chinese government’s attitude toward US institutions.
The DCE Web site says that the summer program in Taipei is to incorporate the same rigorous language curriculum while providing participants the opportunity to be immersed in the dynamic and diverse society and culture of Taiwan.
On Tuesday, NTU said that 60 participants selected for the program are expected to attend the eight-week program at NTU from June 24 to Aug. 20 next year.
In addition to offering Chinese language lessons, NTU said that the program is also to include field trips to famous attractions in northern Taiwan along with a series of cultural activities.
Talks between NTU and Harvard University began in 2019, NTU said, adding that the program in Taipei was originally set to begin last year, but was been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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