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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
Ted Song

-SIT2010 Vice Organizer

-Undergraduate of Management and Technology

It’s simply unbelievable that even though it’s already my third year taking part in the SIT (Summer Institute in Taiwan) staff team, I still have the enthusiast, the devotion, the love for this program, as if everything was once again: a brand new experience. Thanks to the support of the National Science Council, each year, with the efficiency of the NTHU staffs and the energy from the participants, we were able to convey the Taiwanese spirit to the participants at its most. However, upon my graduation this year, SIT2010 had definitely touched my Taiwanese heart and would always exist as a memorable event strongly attached to my undergraduate life…“AWESOME!”

“You guys are simply amazing!”

“I’ve never expected that I would experience that much for an orientation!”

These were just some of the few compliments that we always receive after the first week of NTHU orientation for the 8-week SIT program. Our staff consists of students whose average age is most likely under the participants’ average, but our preparations are definitely all-round and most considerate to help them fit in to the Taiwanese atmosphere. Starting from April, our team had a meeting per week and arranged everything from language courses, speeches, activities, and visits, to transportation, accommodation, meals, insurance, and host contacts. We did our best in considering each possible detail that we might miss and preparing ourselves with the Taiwanese friendliness, hoping to give every “Taiwan newcomers” a lifetime experience that would top the any other programs that were being held at other countries of East Asia.

“I was planning to do intensive research before I came to Taiwan, and I always thought that this first week orientation would be a combination of presentations and conferences. But now I guess I was wrong from the very beginning; there’s just SO much to explore in Taiwan!” said Justin, a participant from Florida, while visiting the spectacular Longshan Temple.

Research is the main objective of this Summer Institute in Taiwan for sure; but what would be the difference of doing research here and doing research in North America if no cultural exchange was involved? So what our NTHU staff team was trying to create was a one-week Taiwanese cultural experience that could give as much impression to the participants as possible. Over these 11 years of hosting the first week SIT orientation, NTHU had accumulated so much preparation experience that no other university could surpass. It’s even obvious that the orientation by NTHU has become a trademark in this SIT program, because without us, the participants might never have another chance in the following 7 weeks to get to know Taiwan better. From what I’ve learned over these three years, participants from the previous year would gladly go back to NSF (EAPSI - USA) or NSERC (Canada) to share their precious memories of Taiwan and try to persuade the participants of the following year to come to Taiwan for both research and culture experience. Furthermore, since 2008 there are at least 5 to 6 SIT participants who stayed in Taiwan for either their post-doctoral studies or work after they’ve completed the program. It’s just great to have this opportunity to share what we know about our country to them, to you, and to anyone else!

“Taiwan will touch your heart!!” -- This is the line we always say when we first meet. This is also the line we always sing when you’re about to leave.

“SIT Rocks!!” -- For all of you who had experienced and enjoyed the time you’ve spent with us, and for all of those who will join the SIT big family in the future.

Like a quote from Snakeking Tim, TAIWAN stands for “The AWESOME Island with Amazement Nonstop!” As for me, although I won’t be able to participate as a NTHU staff anymore, I’d be glad to help out as a consultant anytime. And since my birthday always lands in the SIT orientation week, I’ll definitely be reminded every year of this sweet, sweet memory!!

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