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Deepening Taiwan-US International Exchange and Cooperation in American Higher Education Forum

Taiwan Normal University held the Higher Education Internationalization Forum on March 21st. In the session "Internationalization and Academic Exchange in American Higher Education," Roger Brindley, Vice Provost of Pennsylvania State University, Sonia Feigenbaum, the Senior Vice Provost of the University of Texas at Austin, and Randall Nadeau, the Executive Director of the Fulbright Program, gathered to share their experiences and cooperation strategies in international higher education exchange.

As a bilingual benchmark university, NTNU is committed to promoting international higher education exchange programs. Brindley and Feigenbaum both stated that they pay much attention to the sister school program of NTNU. In terms of the number of Taiwanese students in Penn State and the University of Texas, NTNU ranks fifth. As a comprehensive university with numerous interdisciplinary research experts, NTNU is well-positioned to promote comprehensive exchange and cooperation with its sister schools.

Brindley took Pennsylvania State University as an example, where the number of international students is the highest from China (31%), followed by India (21%). However, due to the decline in US-China relations, the proportion of Chinese students has gradually decreased. He believes that global university rankings are not accurate because various environmental factors need to be taken into account. Instead, the focus should be on international academic research and cooperation. He shared that Pennsylvania State University has research grants to integrate teaching and research with international exchange and to promote the "Global Connections Program." It has also cooperated with African countries to set up a plant village specializing in studying plant intelligence for cocoa farmers in Colombia, helping them achieve sustainable management.

With the slogan "TEXAS Global," the University of Texas at Austin is committed to a comprehensive internationalization plan, attracting students from different countries to engage in exchanges and creating a more diverse learning environment. Feigenbaum pointed out that the University of Texas at Austin offers various language courses to help international students overcome language barriers. The school website has also been reshaped to provide detailed information on global exchange activities and the responsible units of different international affairs.

Feigenbaum believes that the University of Texas at Austin started promoting internationalization later than other universities. Although the school has an international office, most international students only see it as a place to handle documents and overlook the potential for developing international expertise. "We don't treat internationalization as a work task but integrate it into all work items," said Feigenbaum. She hopes to encourage all departments to develop a global perspective and promote the overall internationalization of the University of Texas at Austin and especially increase contact with Asia and Europe to create a wider alumni network.

"After the pandemic, Taiwan has become the place where American scholars and students most want to study Sinology," said Nadeau, the executive director of Fulbright Taiwan. The Program for Academic Exchange has 49 branches worldwide and has been cooperating with Taiwan for 66 years since 1957.

In addition to the pandemic's impact, the former US president terminated cooperation programs with China and Hong Kong in 2022, allowing 34 American scholars to continue their research in Taiwan, including 18 Sinologists. Nadeau, the executive director, said that a historian from the University of Chicago, who had long cooperated with Peking University in China, only discovered the rich teaching resources in Taiwan after coming here and realized the potential of Taiwan as a center for Chinese language teaching development.