Representatives from the National Penghu University of Science and Technology in Taiwan signed an initial student exchange agreement with Texas State officials Monday.
The agreement, signed by Ying-Wei Wang, president of Penghu University, among others, will begin laying the foundation for Bobcats to spend the summer at Penghu while Taiwanese students study at Texas State.
According to Rosario Davis, a learning specialist with the Intensive English program., said the agreement states the two colleges will cooperate together. She said the Penghu students will most likely attend Texas State between July 1 and Sep. 26, 2014, primarily during the university’s summer break.
Jon Ahlberg, associate director for the International Office at Texas State, said the Taiwanese university is on a small island off the coast of the mainland, about four hours away by ferry ride.
Ahlberg said the island would be a nice place for Bobcats to spend the summer. The Penghu University representatives said the students studying in Taiwan will enjoy the island’s nice beaches.
Ahlberg said there are currently 400 international students attending the university, and Taiwan is ranked in the top 10 countries regarding the number of exchange students enrolled at Texas State. There are more foreign graduate students than foreign undergraduates, Ahlberg said.
Davis said the focus of bringing Penghu students to Texas State is to improve their language and international business skills. Ahlberg said he is working to make sure the program is in compliance with federal law.
Texas State has a history of programming events to help foreign students learn more about state and American culture, Ahlberg said. He said department officials have organized trips to rodeos in San Antonio in the past and are planning other kinds of trips for the future.
Ahlberg, Davis and the Penghu representatives then discussed and explained more specific areas of the agreement.
Davis said it is essential for the two universities to exchange an equal number of students.
“It’s important to have reciprocity,” Davis said.
Texas State students will be fairly independent in Taiwan, since they will be responsible for their own housing and travel costs, she said.
“(This will be) a true mutual arrangement, because that’s the best way,” Davis said.
Penghu students attending Texas State will have an opportunity to take an Intensive English program with three full sessions of instruction, Davis said.
Texas State and Penghu representatives discussed the possibility of allowing high school students to attend either university, but Davis said “it would take a lot more work” before that could happen. Both sets of representatives agreed to share their exchange plans in the future.
Shui-Liang Yu, secretary general of Penghu University, said he had a “good impression” of Texas State. He was impressed by the size of the campus and Bobcat Stadium.
“Everything is big,” Yu said.