The Catholic University of America

Aug. 12, 2015

Taiwanese Students Get a Taste of American College Life

  Taiwanese students present group projects they completed as part of a three-week robotics class this summer at Catholic University.

A group of Taiwanese college students received a first-hand lesson in American culture and education last month with the help of The Catholic University of America School of Engineering.

Twelve college students from Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, Taiwan, spent nearly three weeks living and learning at Catholic University as part of a one-month exchange program organized by the two universities.

According to engineering Dean Charlie Nguyen, the purpose of the program was to give the students an experience of higher education in America, while also exposing them to CUA.

While on campus, the students stayed in Opus Hall and took a three-week course on robotics. During the course, the students were split into groups and assigned robotics projects. Each group gave a formal presentation about their project and was given a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Following their time at CUA, the students spent a week travelling to New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston, and visiting other universities, including Harvard, Columbia, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The students who participated in this year’s program were rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors studying engineering, math, or science, Nguyen said. Many of them came because they are considering going to graduate school in America.

“After four weeks, they get an understanding of what the American college experience is like,” Nguyen said. “This is the most effective way to visit America and get some educational experience.”


Students from Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City, Taiwan, are seen with faculty members from the School of Engineering.


Nguyen first came up with the idea for the exchange program 10 years ago. After years of planning, the first group came from Fu Jen in 2011. Since then groups of 10 to 20 students have come for several weeks every summer.

This year, civil engineering Professor Emeritus and Former Director of International Program Development Hsien Ping Pao helped organize the student courses and programming.

“I think the students were quite excited,” he said. “At Fu Jen University, their engineering department is mainly computer science, informational engineering, and electrical engineering, so most of the students aren’t immediately working with robotics. I think it’s a good topic because, in the future, there will be a lot of robotics including driverless cars and possibly airplanes.”

In addition to the coursework, the students had time to visit the historic sites in D.C., including the museums and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This year, Pao said, students took several tours organized by the local Fu Jen University foreign alumni association, watched the Fourth of July celebrations on the National Mall, and took a water taxi from Old Town Alexandria to the National Harbor in Maryland.




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