I met my professor when he visited my university in Cebu, Philippines. We had a good rapport when discussing his research and my studies. He invited me to visit FJCU and tour Taiwan. I visited for 2 weeks and found the research environment in FJCU to be very engaging. The university is inclusive and has a diverse student population (international and local) in various programs. I think this is important to enrich my experience and learning.
Furthermore, Taipei is a pleasant place to stay. You can hike in mountains, go to nature parks, and at the same time be close to the sea -- all within a couple hours’ drive from the city. Most importantly, the many opportunities for international students studying in Taiwan that I probably wouldn’t be able to easily access in my home country eventually made me decide to pursue graduate studies in Taiwan.
Currently, I am taking immunology and seminar classes. I had classes on biomaterials and advanced spectroscopy during the previous semester. My program allows me to enroll in classes in various subjects, such as Physics and Chemistry, aside from my major, which I think makes students highly competent after graduation. Also, I can enroll in classes at other universities in Taiwan that can be highly specialized within my field. This goes to show that Taiwan has capabilities and expertise that students can learn.
Aside from my studies, what I enjoy most is interacting with Taiwanese students. I am able to learn more about the country’s culture through them and vice versa. I find it interesting that in my studies, even though there is a slight language barrier, we can communicate our ideas easily and that our field has somewhat bridged that gap for both countries.
Studying in the biotechnology program in Taiwan gives me a competitive edge with other international students abroad because the training that I get here is at par with universities abroad. The fact that I am able to study in an environment that is culturally different and be able to successfully adapt gives me the confidence to capably work in other countries and in various situations. Those reasons alone increase my chances of having a good career in the future.
I would say my key achievements studying in Taiwan are that I am able to gain experience and learning that I probably wouldn’t get if I did my graduates studies in my home country. In the future, when I start to establish my career in the Philippines or elsewhere, I can also share what I learned with other people. Not only that, I also believe that as an international student, I am enriching the community in Taiwan by interacting with local students. Especially communicating in English.