Author:
Erakogu

Students from Taiwan appreciate Estonia's climate and pressuren free life

Taiwanese doctoral students Wei-Sheng Wang (Simon) and Chia-Ju Lin (Julie), who studied at the Educational Technology Center for seven months, consider Tartu to be a wonderful city and recommend others to study here as well.

How did your studies at the University of Tartu begin and how did you come to study here in the first place?

Simon: We came to study at the University of Tartu through a program that allows our doctoral students to study and do research abroad. Our professor in Taiwan knows Tartu University professor Margus Pedaste and thus our request was granted.

Julie: Simon and I received a Taiwan government scholarship to come to Estonia. We had heard that Margus Pedaste is very positive and has a friendly attitude towards people. When we had to choose a country to study in, our first choice was the University of Tartu.

What did your research in Estonia consist of? 

Julie: I researched how to apply natural language processing in education, for example in making applications. Actually, my major is computer science, but during my PhD I began to explore how to use my professional skills in educational applications.

Simon: My research topic is virtual reality applications in STEM education.

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Simon ja Julie konverentsil

What were your first impressions of Estonia and Tartu?

Simon: My first impression was very positive. Even before arriving, I searched the Internet for information about Estonian culture, population and climate. Since Taiwan's population is 20 times larger than Estonia's, I felt incredibly comfortable and relaxed when I arrived in Estonia. The culture here is quite different from Taiwan and the climate is unique. I would have loved to stay longer. 

Julie: When we arrived in Estonia, the season changed from late winter to early spring. The hitherto snowy landscape suddenly became summery, lush and green - I have never seen such a thing in my homeland. Estonian people are friendly, calm and live a relaxed life. It made me feel warm and calm and I liked it.

How long have you lived in Estonia and how did you adapt to life here?

Simon: We've been here for seven months and didn't need much time to adjust, even though the food culture in Asia and Europe is quite different. I immediately felt at home in Estonia.

Julie: We came to Estonia together and we have both taken care of each other here. I really like the weather in Estonia: it is not too humid or hot. However, eating habits and cooking are completely different from Asia. I am enthusiastic about experiencing different cultures and adapt very well.

If you look at it from the perspective of a foreign student, how does Tartu seem to you as a city?

Simon: In my opinion, Tartu is a very convenient and ideal place. Life in Taiwan is busy both in terms of work and everyday life, so it is difficult to find a balance there. Tartu's history is wonderful compared to Taiwan's.

Julie: Tartu is a good place to gain life experience and also to understand yourself. Compared to Taiwan, the pace here is slower and the quality of life is better. Since I grew up in a city where people are surrounded by tall buildings and skyscrapers, I am happy that I was able to experience Tartu, which is so different from my homeland. Living here, I have learned to find the perfect balance between work and leisure. For me, the most valuable thing about what I experienced here was the realization that the quality of life should not be measured only by work: the energy sources of life also include income, free time and entertainment.

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Simon ja Julie Tartus

What has studying at the University of Tartu given you? Did you make new friends in addition to new knowledge?

Simon: I think that the most valuable thing has been experiencing a lifestyle different from the domestic one and getting to know all of Margus' colleagues.

Julie: In addition to professional knowledge, I have learned the importance of communication and how to learn from others in limited time. This approach is very different from the Asian learning culture I have experienced during my academic assignments. If until now I acquired knowledge from books or the internet, communication with friends and work colleagues in Estonia has offered plenty of learning opportunities. I got to know the professors and researchers of the Institute of Educational Sciences, who added a lot of color to my educational journey.

Would you recommend others to come and study in Tartu? 

Simon: I would recommend coming back myself first because I really like what's here. Everything is simply wonderful: clean water, clean air, cafe culture and climate. This experience is difficult to express through words or language - you have to come here yourself to truly understand it.

Julie: Of course, I also encourage others to study in Tartu or do research here. Tartu is great, but due to the time limit of our project, we have to return to our homeland for a while. I hope that the students who come here can experience the change of seasons, learn freely and get inspiration. The people here show how beautiful it is to learn from everyday life without any pressure.

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