Why students shouldn’t go to international schools in Taiwan | Tricia Liao – Grade 11

taiwan students international school International schools claim to be the answer to Taiwan's education woes, but are they enough?
  • Without much free time, international students in Taiwan are often overly stressed
  • Taiwan companies seldom offer internship opportunities
  • Taiwanese parents believe more tests and homework are beneficial to students

In order to have a strong educational background, studying abroad has become a trend among Taiwanese students. There were about 60,000 students who went abroad in 2017. Furthermore, many students go to international schools in Taiwan to get an American education so they can be prepared for studying in universities abroad. However, international schools are often expensive and make students suffer from more stress than students who study in public schools.

Average of 9 Hours School Days

As a student who also studies at an international school in Taiwan, when people learn I am an international school student, they often think, “it’s easier and less stressful studying in international schools.” The truth is, they are definitely wrong. I start school at 8:00 in the morning and end school at 5:00 in the afternoon. It’s nine hours of school every day, same as those who study in public schools. Compared to American students who have an average of 6.5 hours per school day, they have lots of time to prepare for college applications, do internships, or volunteer.

Although we are international students, we still have to take the SATs and have leadership or internship experience. International students in Taiwan have three hours less every day than American students, but the work that needs to be done is the same; we even have to have a better score and GPA in order to have the qualifications to get into good colleges. Lots of my friends, including myself, spend most of our high school lives in cram schools or at internships during summer and winter vacation, and we seldom have free time to enjoy our lives. Without free time to relax, international students in Taiwan are packed with stress, and some of my friends even suffer from depression.

Not Enough Opportunities Provided

Internship experience is a very important part of a student’s college application resume, but Taiwanese companies don’t offer these opportunities. Companies in Taiwan think there aren’t any benefits to training a high school student who will not be working in the company in the future. If Taiwanese students want to get an internship, it’s the best if your parents have friends who work in a company related to your future career or major and can get you the chance to go the company. Take myself as an example; my father has a friend who is a doctor at Yang Ming Hospital, so I get to go to the hospital and work in an internship during summer and winter vacation. At least in the experience of my friends and myself, it seems like asking parents’ friends for help is the only way to get an internship.

Traditional thoughts of Parents

Taiwanese parents believe that the more tests and homework teachers give children, the better students comprehend their work. When Taiwanese parents ask international schools to give students loads of homework and quizzes, students can’t handle all the work and our GPA drops. Then we become very stressed but communicating with parents doesn’t usually work. Our parents also have the misconception that the higher the college’s ranking, the better the school is. If what you care about is the ranking of a college instead of its quality, then studying abroad loses all its meaning.

Going abroad to study benefits students because seeing the world outside of your comfort zone and learning in different cultures gives us tons of experience. Some advice: if you want to study abroad in the future, instead of waiting until college, go now. The education system and environment is much better than staying in Taiwan’s international schools, and the tuition isn’t much more expensive than international schools in Taiwan. So go abroad now, enjoy beautiful high school life, and then go to MIT!

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