International Students’ Learning Experience in Taiwan: A Meta Analysis

Year: 2019

Author: Wang, Tsai-Wei

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The number of international students in colleges and universities has increased for the last decade in Taiwan. According to the Department of Statistics, Ministry of Education, the percentage of international students in higher education was 2.3% in 2007 and 9.3% in 2017, respectively. And the portion of international students pursuing a college or university degree was more than 15% for the last ten years.Mostly, more than 55% of students aiming for a higher education degree were from Southeast Asian countries, includingMalaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam (Ministry of Education, 2017, 2018).

It has attracted the attention of scholars to explore this phenomenon. The present study aims tohighlight the trend of research findings. It has been found that why chooseto come to Taiwan, the difficulties and challenges of language, adaptation of cultural differences, and interpersonal interactionhave been the main discussion among researchers.First, scholarships, interested in learning Chinese language (especially traditional Chinese characters) and culture, being unable to apply for an ideal university in the home country, Taiwan’s education quality is good, tuition and living expenses are low, and having relatives in Taiwan are the most important factors attract international students to study in Taiwan. Second, although the school offers courses in English, the language is the main factor affecting the learning adaptability of international students because of their limited Chinese and English skills. Third, language proficiency affects the learning and interpersonal interactions. The differences in life and learning culture, the burden of academic work, worries of finance, the unknown future, and differences in living and eating habits all affect the learning adaptation of international students. Fourth, the barriers and obstacles of language open up the difficulties and challenges of the studying and interpersonal interactions. Interactions take place in classrooms, it is difficult to join the local social circle in daily life, and most of them make friends with international students.

The above literature review helped usto further explore the academic choice and decision-making processes, and actual learning challenges and achievements of international Southeast Asian graduate students studying in a Taiwanese university.What are the experiences ofinternational Southeast Asian graduate students pursuing a master’s or doctorate degree in Taiwanregarding language use, learning style, cultural adaptation within and outside the classroom, writing of thesis, interpersonal relationships, and interaction with the instructor?