Established in 1994 as Tzu Chi Medical College, Tzu Chi University has risen to join the ranks of the most acclaimed institutions of learning in Taiwan. From medical education, the university has included humanities, education, and social sciences in its curriculum. Its campuses can be found in Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, and Hualien.
Aside from local students, Tzu Chi University also opens its doors to foreign students. Majority of the foreign student body comprises of students from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, to say the least. They receive the same quality of humanistic approach to professional education as do their local counterparts.
However, the university has yet to see a student from the Philippines. The small delegation from the university sees its opportunity to invite Filipino youths during the three-day Taiwan Expo.
Tzu Chi University joins at least a dozen institutions from Taiwan in highlighting their schools’ features and privileges. Among these schools include Kaohsiung Medical University, National Taiwan Normal University, Shih Chien University, and Minghsin University of Science and Technology.
Vice-president Ingrid Liu and Director of International Affairs Liu Hwan Wun lead the representatives in the expo.
“From the audience, I learned that they were interested in studying at a prestigious university in Taiwan, especially one founded by a Buddhist charity foundation. They were also interested in our goal and the programs we provide,” Liu remarks.
The advantage of proficiency in the English language makes Filipino students a melting pot of raw potential. They can pursue their careers in any country of their choice because of mastery of the language. Tzu Chi University aims to tap into this potential, educating students to be as compassionate as they are professional in their chosen fields.
About to enter senior high school, Adrienne Cabrera hopes to be able to study college abroad. She fancies traveling around the world and learning various local cultures. If she does choose Tzu Chi University for her tertiary education, it may serve as her gateway to everything Taiwan has to offer.
“I saw from [Tzu Chi University] that we can learn a lot about Taiwan and its culture. Personally, I like to travel a lot and learn about other people’s cultures. That’s why I think it’s fun to be [at the expo],” says Cabrera, a Grade-11 student at Grace Christian College.
Meanwhile, Diana Belo’s son wants to take up medicine despite already having a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and teaching at De La Salle University in Manila. Upon seeing Tzu Chi University’s exhibit, a grateful heart sparks to life.
“My son [a professor at De La Salle University Manila] once brought his students to Tzu Chi. He told me that he realized that the plastic bottles and containers can be turned into blankets or building materials,” narrates Belo.
Despite the initial interest, the matter of expense isn’t far behind. As a lot of Filipino students hail from impoverished families, studying abroad almost seems a dream out of reach. Students with potential but can barely afford education rely on scholarships to help them achieve their dreams.
Cabrera admits to such a dilemma, only to receive assurance that Tzu Chi University will help her if she works hard.
“My first impression is that it may be expensive. But they told me that I can apply for scholarship if my grades are acceptable. They said they’ll help me if I’m serious about studying [in Tzu Chi],” she says.
The university maintains a scholarship program for international students. Aside from a waiver of tuition and accommodation fees, qualified students will receive NT$5,000 stipend in living cost a month for eight months. For Master and Ph.D. students, they will receive NT$10,000 and NT$15,000, respectively.
“We seriously consider providing the necessary scholarship for them to have a chance to study in Tzu Chi University,” Liu remarks.
Tzu Chi University joins at least a dozen other universities from Taiwan in exhibiting their respective features during the Taiwan Expo. In this case, Tzu Chi University highlights its humanistic approach to professional education, creating leaders of tomorrow with compassion. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Tzu Chi University Director of International Affairs Liu Hwan Wun (right) entertains a visitor’s queries about the institution. The university has yet to see Filipino students enroll there, as the bulk of the foreign student body comprises of Indonesians and Malaysians. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Diana Belo (center) asks Tzu Chi University vice-president Ingrid Liu (left) about the university’s medical program. She has a son who already has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering but wants to take up medicine. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Liu (left) briefs Belo (right) about the various programs of Tzu Chi University. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】