Postcard to home: Taiwan

Published in the November 2016 issue

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Four Taiwanese tourism students have become the first from their university to complete their final year of study at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus.

Classmates Vicky, Cherry, Gina and Irene – as they like to be known in Australia – hail from Tam Kang University in Taipei where it is compulsory to study abroad for one year of their course.

Taiwanese students Vicky, Gina, Irene and Cherry

Taiwanese students Vicky, Gina, Irene and Cherry

The 20-year-old students were successful in their application interviews to become the first from their university to come to SCU under a new study and internship agreement, and say they feel very lucky to study in such a beautiful location, overlooking North Kirra beach.

“We found out about this program because in our senior year we have to study abroad and this is the first time the two universities have cooperated,” Chia-Yi ‘Gina’ Yang said.

“When we received the information about this University we didn’t want to go anywhere else.

“People have been so nice and energetic and everyone has a lot of ideas to share with each other.”

The girls live in home-stay accommodation with four different families on the southern Gold Coast and have become closer friends while also meeting others and making meaningful connections.

After commencing their study at SCU in July this year, the students travelled to the One&Only Hayman Island resort recently to begin their six-month tourism internship across the Christmas and New Year season.

“We wanted to come here for the beautiful environment, the location, the weather and the opportunity it would give us to see Australia,” Chu-Chun ‘Irene’ Kao said.

“In Taiwan, Christmas isn’t celebrated in the same way it is here, but we are excited to spend our first Christmas in Australia at Hayman Island.

“Spending six months on internship here is going to be a great kick start for our careers. I keep telling my mum to save enough money to come to visit Australia.”

Cherry said she had enjoyed great shopping trips to Robina Town Centre, Pacific Fair and Harbour Town and saw singer-songwriter Troye Sivan, who is a ‘huge celebrity’ back home.

“He is on the billboard lists and we love his songs and his voice, when we heard he would be touring we bought our tickets before we had even arrived,” Chien-Yu ‘Cherry’ Chiu said.

“When I’m in Taiwan I like to draw and attend exhibitions and art shows. It’s humid all year round there so I like to stay indoors.

“Whereas here at the Gold Coast I like to spend more time at the beach and outdoors. The sand here is very beautiful, different to the black and brown said in Taiwan.

“People are quite superstitious about the beach in Taiwan especially around Halloween, so the elders tell us not to go to the beach, whereas here the beach represents peace and beauty. I especially like Byron Bay, Palm Beach and Broadbeach.”

Vicky said she especially liked the support from staff on campus, the CoastRs student area and whenever there was free food on campus.

“Orientation week was one of my favourite times on campus,” Yu-Chi ‘Vicky’ Chiu said.

“The information they gave us was very helpful and on our first day of going to class we realised how useful it really was.

“The Academic Skills workshop helped us know how to consult and check our work after we have finished writing assignments.”

Southern Cross University’s School of Business and Tourism offers Study Abroad Hospitality Internship opportunities for students from a select number of partner universities in the USA and Taiwan. This program offers students one session of academic study abroad and an internship experience.

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