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DMU psychology students gain cultural insights - and friends for life - in Taiwan

Psychology students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) gained valuable insight into Taiwanese culture on a #DMUglobal trip.

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DMU and Ming Chuan University students visiting the National Palace Museum

The group of 25 formed friendships with local students while broadening their knowledge on a visit that will benefit their studies and could even impact on their careers.

Senior Lecturers Dr Mei-I Cheng and Dr John Song led the trip to expose students to a culture that is very different from their own, describing the result as "priceless".

Students said it was "amazing" and felt "blessed" to be involved.

Psychology with Health Studies student Maneshia Johal said: "The cultural difference when learning is totally different to when you experience it first-hand. 

"The lecturers showed us exactly how special the country was. I feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have been given this opportunity."

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A Chinese meal prepared for DMU by the host university

Second-year Psychology student Shannon Woolman had an "amazing" time, saying: "It was really insightful. Because we had Taiwanese students helping us about, I had an even better experience as they helped us travel, translate, relate and compare cultures."

Fellow Psychology student Amy Wright added: "I have gained many skills, knowledge, friends and worldwide contacts. I feel our trip has allowed me to improve my employability for when I complete my studies. 

"These gains will stay with me for life." 

Dr Song said the trip was organised to complement a psychology lecture series that looked at cultural differences and international perspectives on both personality and intelligence. 

"We thought it would benefit the students to experience how people think and behave in a different culture," he said.

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"Taiwan is an interesting place and one of the trip leaders came from Taiwan, so provided insider knowledge.  Both trip leaders could speak Mandarin - a great asset when communicating with the local people. 

"We also wanted to establish contact with a local university to increase our Psychology division's international collaboration."

Dr Song said the visit, organised as part of the university's international experience programme #DMUglobal, benefited the group of mainly year two students in many ways.

He said: "We believe education should include experiences beyond the books and we have seen these students learn about important life skills, communication skills - both speaking and listening - and general broadening of their outlook on life. 

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DMU students with staff and students at Ming Chuan University

"They have also experienced the friendliness and warmth of the local people to a degree that they reflected upon their own British background.

"This will definitely help their careers, as they began to see possibilities of working more globally instead of only in the UK."

The trip included visits to cultural and historical sites including the National Palace Museum, the Taipei 101 skyscraper and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. It was hosted by Ming Chuan University students.

Dr Song added: "Our students told us that informal language lessons have been offered over social networking sites by their buddies, and many are even planning a follow-up visit of their own accord!

"This group has developed very strong bonds and we can feel the energy and enthusiasm they have for studies, and for supporting each other. These are priceless."

Posted on Wednesday 15th June 2016

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