I read a bit of news article about the shortage of places at universities in the UK.  From the article I read, it says, "Some 660,000 students have applied to university this year. In 2009 just 482,000 students got places.  More places are on offer this year, but the numbers are capped and universities face fines for over-recruiting."  So clearly British applicants outnumber places at universities in the UK.  I wonder: why are British or students from other European countries reluctant to study abroad, especially in Asia (or I should say, Taiwan)? 今天在報上看到一則新聞,是有關英國大學學生申請人數超過大學錄取人數。也就是說,他們高中生畢業後想升學還不見得能升學。這時我就不禁在想,既然亞洲學生可以到英國就學,為何英國或其他歐洲國家學生就不會想到亞洲念書呢? 反正山不轉路轉,不是嗎?

Language barriers may be the first and foremost reason, but if Asian students can overcome the difficulty, then why can't British or other European students? They're as smart as Asian students, aren't they? 首先我們考量到的是語言障礙。大家都說中文很難,可是,中文真的很難嗎? 事實上中文文法極為簡單,根本沒時態也沒動詞變化,可說是便宜了外國學生。反之,英文文法就很明顯比中文複雜。如果亞洲學生都可以克服語言障礙,我不懂外國學生在怕什麼。

The quality of life in most Asian countries may put some overseas students off; it is definitely incomparable to that in Europe and many English-speaking countries.  However, students from western countries usually find the living standard much inexpensive compared to their countries' living standard.  I'm not suggesting that they should splurge their money.  Nevertheless, they can spend their money wisely on decoration, or finding somewhere better and suitable for themselves like finding a flat near Eslite.  Also, if they study hard enough, they will earn scholarship. 其次是生活品質。亞洲地區的生活品質絕大多數無法跟歐美先進國家相提並論。但是,通常歐美國家的學生會覺得亞洲很多東西都很親民廉價,所以照理說他們在打理自己的生活應可以讓自己過得舒適一點。我不是說他們可以因此花大錢。我只是覺得他們可以讓他們的亞洲生活經營地更有品質,比如: 佈置自己的溫馨小窩、找一間離校近且生活機能周全的套房,甚至是找一間離誠品比較近的小套房來租。(這不是我要幫誠品打廣告,不過曾有一個德國華裔告訴我,他們的書店不像台灣的誠品那樣舒適。我聽了可是很驕傲呢!) 更何況,如果他們真的想多一點零用金來花,平日用功點,就可以拿到獎學金了。在台灣念書實在很實惠。

If overseas students are worried that their Chinese proficiency may not cope with the courses, well, some universities in Taiwan offer English courses, in particularly postgraduate courses.  (Students are usually required to take basic Chinese lessons, I suppose.)  If Asian students who study in the UK or any other English-speaking countries can earn priceless overseas experiences, then why can't British or European students earn equal advantages? Hundreds of Thousands of Asian students in the UK or any other English-speaking countries have excelled their English, learned knowledge/skills at universities, and made lots of friends.  Their language skills and culture awareness have become their assets, and I'm sure that years later, they will be thankful that they spent their youth abroad, and they will be glad that they didn't live in vain in their lives.  In vice versa, any overseas student who chooses to study in Taiwan will definitely find their Taiwanese experience valuable and unforgettable. 如果外國學生擔心的是他們的中文程度不足以上台灣本地的課程。事實上很多研究所課程都是以英語來授課。當然,這些學生基本上也得另外修中文才行。亞洲學生在英國念書,不僅加強了自己的英語聽力,同時也吸收知識以及技能,他們也在留學期間學會打理自身生活、獨立自主的能力、自助旅行之規畫、理財經營、時間管理,可說是吸收了知識、美景,也結交到許多朋友,豐富自己的人生,開拓自己的視野。同樣地,既然亞洲學生可以赴歐洲如此取經,外國學生又何必羞於來亞洲擴展自己的知識技能水平線呢? 這些語言能力、文化見地及技能養成可說是無價的資產呀。

In fact, there are more and more overseas students in Taiwan.  They have proven that Mandarin isn't hard to learn, and proven that they've made Taiwan their second home.  Some people might have heard of Gaz Gurrant, who came to Taiwan from Australia at 17 as an exchange student.  He mastered the Chinese language within only a year's time, and he's now studying at National Taiwan University.  I suppose that most of his courses are conducted in Mandarin, although I've also heard that some undergraduate courses at National Taiwan University are taught in English.  My point is, once Gaz gets his diploma from NTU and looks for jobs, it's likely for him to get offers in many international companies. 事實上,台灣的外國莘莘學子可說是越來越多。雖然大多數外籍生來台主要還是念中文班,不過漸漸有一些來自東南亞的學生念台灣的大學,善用台灣教育資源。他們證明了中文並非他們想像中的那麼難學習,也證明了他們有辦法把台灣當成第二個家。(這還哪有什麼homesickness可言? ;) 有一名澳洲學生叫吳忠彥。他17歲來台當交換學生,一年內就把中文學得呱呱叫。他高中畢業後就決定來台大念國際企業系。他的課應該幾乎是全中文吧,可是他並未因此被難倒。我的重點是,吳忠彥就是一個活生生的例子 - 既然他可以在台灣念大學,其他外國學生有何不可呢? 我相信像吳忠彥這樣精通雙語且又懂商業理論的人,應該是很容易可以在很多大型國際公司謀得一職。

I hope that some British students or students from elsewhere can consider studying in Taiwan.  You will gain worthwhile experiences and priceless friendship.  It'll be beautiful memories that no one can ever take away from you. 藉由本文,我由衷希望有越來越多外國學生注意到台灣這塊土地。希望他們能在台灣留學期間見識台灣人文風情,也贏得滿載的友誼。

Here's the link to the news article:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11012369

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