Studying Abroad at NCKU, Vietnamese Students Participate in Cultural Exchange
留學台灣到成大 越南學子為文化交流使力
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          In recent years, Taiwan has formed close relationships with many countries in Southeast Asia, and many students from Vietnam, a country with a diverse culture, have chosen to study in Taiwan. With its strong international ranking, convenient location, and hospitable environment, as well as the official establishment of the Center for Vietnamese Studies in 2013, NCKU has become the preferred school for many Vietnamese Students. Nogc Thuy Vi Pham, Trang Trinh Thuy, and Thi Nga Do all chose to pursue their doctoral degrees at NCKU. In addition to their academic achievements, each of them has also made contributions to fostering cultural exchange between Taiwan and Vietnam.

          There are currently around 200 Vietnamese students enrolled at NCKU, scattered throughout various departments. For the past twelve years, the Vietnamese Student Association has hosted a range of activities for the university’s annual cultural week. The students spend at least six months preparing for these activities with the aim of spreading understanding of Vietnamese history, traditions, and current socio-cultural climate. Nogc Thuy Vi Pham, who is pursuing her PhD at the Department of Taiwanese Literature in NCKU, once served as the president of the Vietnamese Student Association. She proudly shared, “Over the years, interactions between Taiwanese and Vietnamese students have become closer and friendlier.”

          Ngoc Thuy Vi Pham acts as a teaching assistant for the Vietnamese language courses offered at NCKU, and holds the post of Vietnamese language lecturer at Chang Jung Christian University and Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology. She often brings Vietnamese dishes that she cooks herself to her classes as a way of introducing Vietnamese culture. She emphasized that misunderstanding can arise from cultural differences. For example, balut (fertilized duck eggs) is a Vietnamese specialty which can seem strange to other cultures. She therefore made balut for her students to try. “It’s funny to see, because many students were afraid to crack open the shell at first, but once they got a taste, they quickly came back for seconds.”

          Ngoc Thuy Vi Pham explained that Vietnam is a diverse country made up of 54 ethnic groups. While there are many similarities between the cultures in Taiwan and Vietnam, they also have their own unique features. " The Center for Vietnamese Studies holds the largest seminar event in Taiwan every three years and invites over a hundred scholars from around the world to present their achievements. The Center for Vietnamese Studies began offering an undergraduate credit course last year due to the increasing opportunities and demand for Vietnamese speakers.”

          Trang Trinh Thuy, who has been in Taiwan for six years, comes from North Vietnam. She has a master’s degree in Taiwanese literature and is currently pursuing a PhD in Chinese literature at NCKU. “Taiwanese food is similar to South Vietnamese food. North Vietnamese food is lighter in flavor with little oil or salt. In Vietnam, banh pho is generally accompanied by a large plate of raw vegetables as garnishes as well as many lemon slices.” While unused to the food, she can speak Mandarin as fluently as any Taiwanese person. She loves the friendliness and passion of Taiwanese people and is fascinated by Taiwanese literature.

          Trang Trinh Thuy was born in North Vietnam but later lived in South Vietnam, so she is familiar with different aspects of Vietnamese culture. She excels at helping corporations in Taiwan resolve internal conflicts with their Vietnamese employees. She feels fortunate that she heeded her teacher’s advice to study in Taiwan, which has been an eye-opening experience for her. “If I had not come to Taiwan, I would never have learnt the extent of my capabilities. I have become stronger and more independent and confident during my time here.”

          Thi Nga Do, who has a cheerful disposition, obtained her master’s degree and PhD in physics from NCKU. Last year, she married a fellow grad student and became a foreign bride in Taiwan. She can communicate with her father- and mother-in-law in simple Taiwanese. She is fluent in Mandarin, English, and Vietnamese and is currently preparing to apply to Ministry of Science and Technology for an overseas research project. She hopes to further her studies in the United States and pursue an academic career in Taiwan. A few days ago, she was invited to serve as a cultural ambassador for the National Immigration Agency.

          Thi Nga Do said, “Taiwan is very clean, and life is convenient here. I like Taiwan very much, and I have really enjoyed living and studying here.” During her time in Taiwan, Thi Hga Do has done what she can to give back to the community that has welcomed her. She was in charge of making banh mi, which is Vietnamese bread, for a charity bake sale held by the Vietnamese Student Association at NCKU, and she helped an injured Vietnamese student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics to raise funds to cover his medical expenses.

          These foreigners have actively explored Taiwan, brought with them their language, art, and food cultures, and even put down roots. They think of Taiwan as their second home. As Ngoc Thuy Vi Pham said, “Cultural exchange is a crucial factor of mutual understanding between different ethnic groups. With understanding, we can accept and respect one another.”

          近年來台灣與東南亞國家關係密切,擁有多元文化的越南也有許多優秀學子選擇到台灣留學,成功大學在國際間表現亮眼,加上生活交通便利、人情濃厚,更早在2013年就正式成立越南研究中心,成為越南學生首選。范玉翠薇、鄭垂莊、杜氏娥有志一同選擇在成大攻讀博士學位,這幾位高知識份子除了勤奮求學,也為台越的文化交流貢獻己力。

          每年在成大留學的越南學生將近200人,分散在各個系所,為了凝聚情感,也為了傳遞越南傳統文化、歷史與現代社會情況,讓更多台灣人了解越南並喜歡越南,越南學生會每年花費半年時間籌辦文化週活動,至今已持續12屆。目前在成大台灣文學所攻讀博士的范玉翠薇,曾任越南學生會會長,她欣喜分享,「幾年下來,台越學生的互動更加友善緊密」。

          范玉翠薇在成大擔任越南語課程助教,也在長榮、中華醫事大學擔任越南語講師,常親自料理越南菜帶到課堂上,藉由飲食介紹越南文化。她強調,很多誤解其實來自於文化上的差異,例如越南人常吃鴨仔蛋補身體,給人殘忍恐怖的印象,於是范玉翠薇準備了鴨仔蛋讓學生嘗試,「有趣的是,很多學生起先害怕的敲開蛋殼勉強嚐了一小口,很快就想要再來一顆」。

          范玉翠薇認為,越南是個擁有54個民族的多元國家,而台越文化有很多相似,也各有獨特之處,各方面都可深入交流。「學術方面,成大越南研究中心每3年舉辦全國最大規模的研討盛會,邀請來自全世界各國逾百位學者參與發表;語言方面,基於台灣人使用越南語的機會與需求越?越高,去年開始開辦越南語文學士學分班,培養具備使用越南語能?的人才」,都是很好的交流機會。

          來台灣6年的鄭垂莊,是北越人,拿了成大台灣文學碩士,又攻讀成大中文博士,「台灣口味和南越較為相似,北越口味則較清淡,少油少鹽,在越南吃河粉會搭配一大盤提味用的生菜以及許多檸檬片」,在飲食上不太能適應的她,流利的中文卻一點都不輸給台灣人,喜歡台灣人的友善熱情,還特別喜歡台灣文學,甚至想把台灣文學的精髓發揚光大。

          談起台灣文學眼神就發亮的鄭垂莊說,以前只認識中國文學,不知道有台灣文學而且還這麼有趣!雖然只有400多年歷史,但有太多新的主題可以鑽研發揮,現在已經有葉石濤作品的翻譯本引入越南,「對越南而言,是建構國際世界文學史觀非常重要的區塊」。

          出生在北越的鄭垂莊後來在南越生活多年,因此了解各地越南人的不同習性,擅於為台灣許多企業解決越籍勞工的各種問題,她慶幸當時聽從師長建議到台灣留學,讓她眼界大開,「如果不是來到台灣,不會知道自己可以做這麼多事情,個性上也變得更加獨立、堅強、有自信。」她期待自己能成為台灣文學的頂尖學者,把台灣美好文化帶回家鄉,影響越南。

          取得成大物理系碩士、博士的杜氏娥,個性活潑開朗,去年嫁給博士班同學,成為台灣媳婦,還可以用簡單的台語和公婆溝通。她表現傑出並精通中、英、越3種語言,目前已準備向科技部申請海外研究計畫,希望前往美國深造再返回台灣從事學術工作,日前更獲邀擔任移民署多元文化大使。

          杜氏娥說,「台灣乾淨又便利,我很喜歡台灣,在台灣念書、生活都很開心」。很有愛心的她,經常在能力所及內捐款助人,曾為成大越南學生會發起的義賣活動負責製作越南麵包,幫助當時受傷的航太系越南籍學生籌措龐大醫療費。

          熱愛料理的杜氏娥,喜歡台灣人的友善,佩服同學會玩又會念書,從研究所開始就常邀約台灣同學料理共餐,互相分享家鄉味,她會因應同學的喜好變化口味,而餐桌上的交流,也許是課業心得的分享、也許是某件事的共識,也或許是文化觀念的互相理解。

          這些異鄉人積極探索台灣,也輸入母國的語言、藝術、飲食等文化,甚至落地生根,她們把台灣當作第二個家,范玉翠薇相信,「文化交流是不同族群相互理解的重要因素,透過理解就能互相尊重包容」。