Waseda University opened the International Center Taipei (the Taipei Office) in July 2008 to support Waseda’s Japanese and Taiwanese students, in addition to accelerating collaborative research and projects with Waseda’s partner institutions in Taiwan.
Since its founding, the Taipei Office has been sharing what makes Waseda special with interested locals, and these efforts are starting to show results. In 2008, there were less than 200 international students from Taipei. This number has doubled to 400 as of November 2015.
Why are the numbers of Taiwanese students increasing?
According to Katsunori Komohara, Waseda’s Taipei Office manager, one of the reasons why the reputation of Waseda is rising in Taiwan is through word of mouth. Taiwanese international students and young alumni participate in monthly events to share their experiences with high school students aspiring to follow their footsteps.
Taiwanese students who are now studying at Waseda visit their high school during long breaks, such the Chinese New Year holiday and summer vacation, to talk about their life in Tokyo and unique features of Waseda. For high school students, these stories become an inspiration, taking away the fear of living and studying abroad.
Moreover, accepted students can participate in pre-orientation organized by the office. During pre-orientation, members of Taiwan Ryugakusei Kai (or the Taiwanese International Students Club in English), a group of Taiwanese students at the university, discuss daily life from securing the cell phone to opening a bank account in Japan and Waseda’s academic environment to the perks of being a Waseda student. They sincerely answer any questions or concerns participants may have.
Waseda has gained recognition and prestige through these events. Furthermore, Waseda’s fame has been acknowledged by parents and grandparents of high school students preparing to enter university. Although some guardians may feel anxiety towards sending their child to a foreign country, they feel at ease when they hear the name “Waseda.”
Taipei office activities and events
- Participation in the JASSO Study in Japan Fairs
- Pre-Orientation for accepted students
- High school visits
- Information sessions
- Taiwan Ryugakusei Kai’s Spring Festival
- Regional exchange forums
Even after entering the university, Waseda warmly welcomes its incoming students, and for Taiwanese international students, they will have the opportunity to network with those who have already started ahead in the journey. After getting used to life in Tokyo and the academic courses, it will be the newly admitted students’ turn to pass on Waseda’s legacy to future students.
The Taipei Office has held numerous events throughout the year and valued exchange between students and young alumni from its start. These diligent efforts are showing steady and promising results. Waseda’s recognition is on the rise as the number of Waseda fans increases in Taiwan.