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A partner day to understand how Soochow University welcomes international students and why their Chinese study camps are a good door to Asia.

Friday 24th, this is the end of a very demanding week participating to the APAIE fair in Kaohsiung. After 80 meetings with international student recruitment team coming from all the globe, resting is the only thing you think of. But that is always less powerful than curiosity. And living a partner’s day of a Taiwanese university could be one discovery. So I decided to accept Soochow’s invitation and rest later.

An unusual day for HigherEdMe

As a private service provider, I was surprised and honored to be invited. Usually Universities focused on international partnerships are not really open to private bodies. Maybe they think nothing can be done to help them in the field. We will see that later.

Of course I was late for the 10.30am meeting which is very unpolite (don’t try to get cash from and 7-eleven ATM with an international credit card), but somebody was waiting for me in front of the Wang Memorial Hall. I joined a group of 7 university representatives coming from Japan, USA and Mexico. A brief welcome speech by Prof. Bau-Tscheng Dung gave us an overview of the international key figures on incoming and outgoing mobility, and main facts about Soochow history.

Soochow is the 1st private university of Taïwan

Soochow was initially established in Suzhou, China in 1900, and it became the first private university in Taïwan in 1951.It’s now counting 15.000 students, 442 full-time faculty members and more than 100 partner universities.

Then we got more details on the university watching a 10 min video in English. You can find it here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbUZz9SVSaM

Unexpected gift

To fix all this new data, we were offered a private concert. A set of 8 tracks was perfectly played by 4 students. This was unforgettable and unexpected. You can feel the experience here : https://youtu.be/R36C22LyzrE

International set-up

We visited the very impressive library, with vinyls and mangas (started by a donation of an alumni who collected them), plenty of international culture there. Then we got inside the Chinese Language Center http://mandarin.scu.edu.tw where we saw pictures of the last international group coming from the USA and Germany. This center concentrates dorms and and learning spaces, very well organized.

Finally we has lunch with the president Prof Wei-Ta Pan and Assoc. Prof Serena Huang who is the director of International Affairs Center. It was the president’s birthday by the way.

Culture is key

After lunch we were invited to visit the National Palace Museum where you measure the Asian culture in real-time. 25% of the emperor’s treasure is located in this museum with 600.000 parts. We could see 6.000 with a private guide and understand what was important for a Chinese family, mainly prosperity and longevity.

I want to thank Mr Lanson Wu of the Office of International and Cross-Strait Academic Exchange (ICAE) and the Soochow Staff for their invitation and welcome.

I think this 1st partner’s day was a success and each participant could feel in what positive environment their student could come study there.

It gave us ideas on how our matchmaking platform could be used for partnerships and we will develop that for sure.

Arnaud – CEO of HigherEdMe

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