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2019 Taiwan Tech Summer School with More than 70 Participants held at Taiwan Tech
More than 70 students from nine countries joined Taiwan Tech's summer school "Smart Technology and Sustainable City" from 13 – 20 August 2019. It was the third year this summer school has been held and the biggest ever: Students from Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Korea Germany, Spain, Portugal and Taiwan, spent ten days on the Taiwan Tech campus to learn about new approaches in sustainability research and their applicability in urban environments.   
While 30 South-East Asian students received scholarships from Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology that covered tuition fees, participants from East Asia and Europe were self-financed. For Nicolas Gabriel from TH Köln, Germany who came to Taiwan just for the purpose of this summer school, it was a rewarding experience: “I study civil engineering in Germany, and I am specializing in sustainability. I signed up for this course to get an Asian perspective – earthquakes, for example. That’s such an important topic here, but it is hardly touched upon in my home university."
The credit-bearing program included lectures on a wide range of sustainability–related topics delivered by experts from different departments – e.g. civil engineering, architecture, design, material sciences-, with field trips to the Taipei City Disaster Prevention Centre and the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering. Apart from the academic program, participants were offered an introductory course in Mandarin, outings to scenic spots in the surroundings, a guided walking tour through Taipei, and visits to the city’s famous night markets. 
For Vincent Tandy from Universitas Gadjah Mada, this summer school was his first trip abroad: "As I am studying geodesic engineering, it was really interesting to visit the Disaster Prevention Centre and to see how technology that I had learnt about is actually applied. And most of all, cooperating and interacting with people from different countries was a great experience.”
On the first day of the program, the group was divided into seven teams who had to work together during the course. Each team was assigned a Taiwanese student as a "captain", who accompanied the team over ten days, and was responsible for all kinds of practical issues. Their crisis management skills were put to test when a power blackout paralyzed the Taiwan Tech campus on the weekend. Left without electricity – and hence without air conditioning – in their dorms, hostel accommodation was arranged for the whole group within one hour – not an easy job in a city like Taipei where hostels are often booked out on weekends.
As the topic of sustainability and smart city management has shown to be attractive to students from all over the world, this summer school will definitely be continued and be added to Taiwan Tech's international profile. The challenge for the future will be how to further improve the curriculum in this fast-evolving field and how to adapt course contents for students with different academic and cultural backgrounds. 
Author: Dr. Stefanie Eschenlohr, Office of International Affairs 
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