Same language, but different: Vietnamese student shares diverse education approaches in Taiwan and China

To Anh Tuan (蘇英俊) applied to study in Taiwan during the pandemic outbreak. (Photo / Retrieved from the Pixabay)
To Anh Tuan (蘇英俊) applied to study in Taiwan during the pandemic outbreak. (Photo / Retrieved from the Pixabay)

By The China Post【看CP學英文】, Vivian Hsiao, As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on, Taiwan’s relatively successful management in curbing further spread of the virus has attracted students from all over the world to apply for scholarships here.

To Anh Tuan (蘇英俊) is one of the students who applied to study in Taiwan when the pandemic broke out and is currently a student of the IBMBA program at the National Sun Yat-sen University (國立中山大學).

Speaking to The China Post and 4-Way Voice, To Anh Tuan explained how he first fell in love with the Chinese language, the creation of his YouTube Channel (mat hoat hinh), and the sudden turn of events that brought him to Taiwan.

According to To, his love for the Chinese language started quite early as his hometown was situated near the borders of southern China. Due to its unique location, he came in contact with many Chinese people and was impressed by China’s fast economic growth.

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To Anh Tuan believes that university education in Taiwan focuses more on practical experience. (Photo / Retrieved from the Pixabay)

To Anh Tuan believes that university education in Taiwan focuses more on practical experience. (Photo / Retrieved from the Pixabay)

In 2015, he chose Chinese for his foreign language class in college, and through the class, became familiar with the education system of China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

Wishing to be more immersed in his learning process, To applied for an exchange program to China in 2019 which led to the start of his YouTube Channel: mat hoat hinh.

Initially, the YouTube channel was merely for his and his family and friends’ benefits, as he would document his daily life and travels in the videos.

In this way, he could record his experience of studying abroad and let those he cared about know that he was doing great.

To also anticipated that the videos would serve as a great way to remember the fun days he used to have when he got older.

However, when the pandemic broke out in 2020, China closed its borders, and according to To, hasn’t reopened it since.

Therefore, To Anh Tuan set his sights on Taiwan and began preparing for his journey.

Having chosen his ideal school, To began posting videos documenting the process of applying for scholarships in Taiwan which attracted many Vietnamese viewers back home.

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He explained that the arrival procedures were further complicated by the pandemic, adding that as opposed to before when nearly everyone who could afford a plane ticket could come to Taiwan, he now had to prepare even more documents, make sure to get vaccinated before coming here, and quarantining at a local hotel.

To revealed that the quarantine process was quite boring, but as school had started, he could attend classes online and study in the evenings.

In taking the classes in Taiwan, he realized some major differences between the education styles of Taiwan and China.

To said, “After arriving in Taiwan, I think I will need to slowly get used to the Chinese language here, which is not quite the same as China. Here in Taiwan, some of the pronunciation, word usage, and grammar is a little different from what I had learned.”

He remarked that if someone wanted to learn Chinese, China’s education style would be a great fit as they placed great emphasis on making the pronunciation as clear as possible, and classes are more grammar-oriented in addition to being more comprehensive.

However, Taiwan’s courses placed more emphasis on practicality, which to To, is also very important.

As opposed to China’s theoretical approach, To said his classes in Taiwan had no final exams; instead, every class that he has would need him to rely on teamwork, group projects, presentations, and fieldwork to pass.

For To Anh Tuan, he felt Taiwan’s teaching style better fit his personality and suited his future plans more than that of China’s.

During quarantine, To also had the chance to taste Taiwanese dishes and remarked on the “sweeter flavor” of local feeds.

He explained that as he had been studying in Chengdu, Sichuan when he was in China, he had become accustomed to the hot and spicy flavor prevalent in the dishes there.

“I had gotten used to the taste, but now the dishes here are sweeter and lighter,” To said.

He also noted the difference in restrooms claiming that merely using dry toilet paper to clean up afterward was something he had to get used to as well.

Looking forward to being “released” from quarantine, To is excited to explore the campus, as he had chosen Sun Yat-sen University in large part due to its beautiful surrounding scenery.

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