Month-long stint in Taiwan gives students insight into service industry

by Tan Wen Chien – BA (Hons) Marketing Management.

18 Bachelor of Arts students from DISTED College were fortunate enough to join the top students of Dayeh University and Cheng Shiu University for a one-month Transnational Education Experience Programme’s New Era Service Talent Development in the charming city of Taichung in Taiwan.

The meaningful programme aimed to develop students’ talent and capacities, and at the same time inculcate reading habits in them. Throughout the month of August, students delved into different, fascinating aspects of the service industry through a series of interactive lecture sessions and educational study trips.

Other than a cancelled study trip due to the occurrence of a severe typhoon incident, the entire programme went on successfully without a hitch. As part of the programme, students were given assignments that were assessed by lecturers from both Malaysia and Taiwan as an added challenge.

Divided into groups of five to six members, students were required to give presentations on plausible business solutions for several different locations, which were the Taiwan Glass Gallery, BRAND’S Health Museum, and the Ribbon Museum. Seeing that the unique mix of students resulted in a wide range of undertaken degree programmes, the presentations allowed students to showcase and combine their individual strengths and competencies to gain marks.

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lecture sessions
Students sitting with their respective groups during lecture sessions.

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team building activities
Overcoming obstacles together while fostering teamwork through team building activities

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Besides presentation skills and content, students were also given marks based on class attendance, punctuality, weekly reports, class performance, teamwork, as well as peer review. As a result of their hard work and determination, our very own students Cheah Hooi Chia, Sim Bin Lin, and Yap Ka Sheng won the honour of being among the programme’s top performing students.

For Hooi Chia, the transnational programme was akin to a journey of self-discovery and personal growth filled with unforgettable memories. She has gained an enormous amount of experience, confidence and self-dependence, which she admitted played a defining role in shaping part of her character and changing her outlook on life.

Ka Sheng, who came in 3rd place, said that the programme has helped him to improve his international communications skills and gain a deeper insight of current international business trends.

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transnational education participants
From left Yap Ka Seng (DISTED), 3rd prize, LEE PIN CHAN, 1st prize, Cheng Shiu University, Taichung, Wen Hao Tsai, 6th prize, Cheng Shiu Unviversity, Cheah Hooi Chia, 2nd prize, Disted, Sim Bin Lin, 5th prize, Disted, He Yi Ting, 3rd price, Dayeh University, Chang Hua County

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Q&A session
A group conducting a Q&A session after the final presentation

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Ten Drum Culture Village
Visiting the Ten Drum Culture Village

Besides academic enrichment, students were also exposed to the interesting Taiwanese culture in the form of food, places, and lifestyle. Through the weekly study trips, they were able to visit interesting hotspots such as the Lugang Matsu Temple, Lin Chin Sheng Hsiang Pastry Shop, Chun Shui Tang, TaiYi Ecological Leisure Farm, 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan, National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute, and the Ten Drum Culture Village. The distinctive sights and sounds of Taiwan were sure to leave a mark on the minds of DISTED College students.

Her coursemate, Lim Meng Siew added, “The programme was an eye-opening experience and helped me enhance my entrepreneurial as well as problem-solving skills tremendously. Now that a committee board had been set up for the Malaysian alumni of this programme, I hope to pass this valuable knowledge to even more Malaysians in hopes of improving Malaysia’s service industry.”

“Being a part of this programme was an exceptionally enriching and rewarding experience for me. I was able to deepen my knowledge and improve my creative thinking skills. It was an unforgettable experience to join this programme together with the friendly Taiwanese students,” said BA (Hons) Business Management student, Cheng Hoi Yin.

Fellow participant, Sim Bin Lin, was grateful that the programme provided her the rare opportunity to share different issues and ideas during the many discussion sessions.

As the programme came to an end, students had nothing but praises for the once in a lifetime experience. BA (Hons) Marketing Management student, Ong May Xian, said, “I have never imagined that this one month would go by as quickly as it did. Other than attending interesting classes on the service industry, I made countless friends and gained many precious memories with them. The invaluable experiences and life lessons acquired in Taiwan would undoubtedly help me substantially in my future career path.”

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completion of the programme
Closing ceremony held upon the successful completion of the programme

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elebrating birthdays
Celebrating the birthdays of Taiwanese student Cheng Yu Ying and Malaysian student Goh Jia Ruey which fall on the same day.

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Clearly, the programme gave DISTED College students a memorable experience studying in Taiwan with people of different cultures. The lecture sessions had succeeded in supplementing and adding to students’ understanding of various concepts learnt in DISTED College. Quoting the ex American President John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

With the successful completion of this programme, it is now time for DISTED College students to say their thanks by contributing to Malaysia’s service industry with their newly gained skills and knowledge.

The programme was made possible with the generous support of the Sayling Wen Cultural Educational Foundation and the National Academy of Educational Research.