* Full Name: Christopher Robertson Nixon
* University/ Institute: University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
* Nationality: U.S.
The NCCU Summer School was a really great experience for me. Even though I had already been to Taiwan three times before, I still learned and saw lots of new things. I was especially interested in the class on "Taiwan in the Global Context." As I have lots of Taiwanese friends, I have heard a lot about Taiwanese politics and cross-strait relations before, as well as learning about it in high school history class, but this course really helped me to better understand the situation, as well as the KMT's and DPP's reasonings and philosophies. The professors were very knowledgeable, and most of them were very interesting to listen to and speak with. The trips organized by NCCU were very good also. I especially enjoyed the trip to Taiwan's north coast, and the visit to the Gold Ecological Park. The accommodations at I-House were far nicer than I expected from a university dorm. The staff were so helpful to all of us.
The Mandarin Chinese course was also very good. The small class size of 7 or 8 made the classes so much better, as we could spend most of our time actually speaking with each other, rather than just listening to a teacher. My Chinese got much better this summer, through the combination of this class, and just attempting to speak Chinese as much as possible in Taipei (and through the help of the friendly Starbucks staff, who taught me new words every day).
The one thing I would change about this summer school is to make it longer. We were going out every day after class to see and do things, but by the last week, we still felt that there was so much more in Taiwan that we wanted to see. Last summer, I attended a summer school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which was six weeks long. I think if possible, extending the NCCU summer school to six weeks would be a great improvement. This would allow us to cover more topics in more depth in the class, as well as allow us time to go to a city other than Taipei on our own time. We all wanted to see more of Taiwan, especially after the lecturer from the Kenting aquarium told us how beautiful the southern beaches were.