On Taiwan tour, students and professors visit Chinese military academies

The Norwich delegation in a group picture with faculty and staff at Fu Hsing Kang University in Taiwan.

The Norwich delegation in a group picture with faculty and staff at Fu Hsing Kang University in Taiwan.

I am a sophomore in the Corp of Cadets with the rank of c/Corporal. I am double majoring in International Studies and Chinese (Mandarin) language, the president of Norwich’s Chinese Cultural and Language Club, and a member of the Norwich football team. This past spring break I was selected, following an application process, to represent Norwich University as a part of a Norwich International Center sponsored student delegation that traveled to two military academies on the island of Taiwan, located 110 east of mainland China. The delegation was led and organized by a three-person committee which included Dr. Joseph Byrne, associate vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Alex Chung, assistant professor of economics and finance, and Mindy Ward, the senior coordinator for international student & scholar services of Norwich’s International Center.

The committee had a very selective application process that only chose four students; after applying in November, only 10 students out of roughly 34 applicants were invited for an interview a month later. During finals week, the student delegates were informed of their acceptance. Besides myself, the others chosen were senior Peter Carbone; junior Mickey Walbridge; and sophomore Lauren Lohmiller.

The main goals and purpose of our delegation was to improve and build on our current relationships with the two military academies in Taiwan, expose the great opportunities Norwich has to offer, and create new opportunities for Norwich’s own students to study and learn. The student delegation was assigned to blog daily on the International Center’s website to give updates and visuals of our trip. We were also assigned a final project to share our experiences in Taiwan in efforts to generate interest in the potential opportunities these Taiwanese academies have to offer.

The first military academy we visited was Fu Hsing Kang College in the capital city of Taipei at the northernmost tip of the island. Fu Hsing Kang is one of the three colleges that form the National Defense University of Taiwan. The meaning of Fu Hsing Kang translates to Political Warfare Academy; the college puts an emphasis on developing both the political and psychological aspects of Taiwan’s military. Fu Hsing Kang has both a graduate and undergraduate school with academic departments in political science, psychology, journalism, and applied arts. All graduates directly commission into the Taiwanese military, but not to just one branch of service: The branch of service a graduate receives is randomly assigned based off of a quota system. Graduates will either be selected to serve in the Taiwanese Army, Navy, Air Force, or Military Police force. Fu Hsing Kang annually sends a small group of students and an officer to the United States to visit Norwich and the other senior military colleges on a month-long tour to promote their college.

The second military academy we visited was the Republic of China Military Academy (ROCMA) located in Kaohsiung near the southernmost tip of the island. ROCMA is the first military academy of Taiwan and was founded in mainland China, before relocating to Kaohsiung. ROCMA is an Army school, meaning that all graduates will commission into the Taiwanese Army. ROCMA is also not only a service academy, but also the location of the Taiwanese Army basic training for enlistees, which is conducted over the summer. ROCMA offers a broad variety of academic majors with departments in civil engineering, physics, foreign languages, political science, management science, chemistry, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and information management.

Graduates of ROCMA commission as officers in combat arms, engineering, military intelligence, fields of science, and as pilots. ROCMA has had a working relationship with Norwich for years and it sends one freshman or sophomore cadet, following a selective application and testing process, every year to study all four years here and receive a Norwich University bachelor’s degree. ROCMA also sends two cadets every fall to study here for a semester term. Norwich can also send cadets to ROCMA to study for a fall semester term, the most recent being senior Trung Nguyen, who studied there this past fall term.

The delegation to Taiwan gave me the opportunity to practice speaking Mandarin, meet new people, eat interesting food, and most importantly, assist Norwich in becoming more international and global in perspective.

Student blogs about their experiences are online at : http://international.norwich.edu/category/timefortaiwan/

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