Internationalization of Higher Education in Taiwan: Rationales, Strategies and Responses
Sociology National Chengchi University Taiwan,
Owing to globalization and the development of mass higher education, many countries endeavor to internationalize their higher education systems in order to attract more foreign students, and an increasing number of students pursue tertiary education overseas. In the research into such phenomena, Taiwan deserves special attention due to its rich experience in student migration and unique historical context. The purpose of the paper is to examine the course and the context of Taiwan's policy transformation in the internationalization of higher education, and the ways international students in Taiwan perceive and respond to such policy changes.
Although Taiwan has a long history of recruiting overseas ethnic Chinese students to study, only in the recent years did it undergo a string of policy reforms to internationalize its higher education system and to rigorously recruit international students from around the world. Under government policies, international students in Taiwan are categorized into two sub-groups: 'foreign students' and 'compatriot and expatriate students' respectively, and such distinction is made roughly along the line of ethnicity but not necessarily nationality. These two groups of international students are recruited and overseen by different government agencies and university divisions, and they follow different policy guidelines and are supported by different funding resources. With the policy reforms in progress, this differentiation begins to receive challenges and starts to become obscure. This paper is based on a 2-year study on the internationalization of higher education and international student mobility in Taiwan. Through document analysis and in-depth interviews with government officials, policy makers, university administrators, and international students, this paper analyzes the trajectory of policy reforms and the rationales of the Taiwan government and universities for the internationalization of higher education on the one hand, and how such policy transformation may affect the perceptions and experiences of international students in Taiwan on the other.