Prof. Yen (back row centre) and six of these student will travel to St. Vincent in July.

TAIWAN: – Six students and one professor from the National ChengChi University (NCCU) are preparing for a two-week cultural exchange trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in July, while two youth from the Caribbean nation will travel to Taiwan on a similar mission.

“I have spoken to the government of the Republic of China about the need for real interaction between our people and especially our youth,” SVG Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Vincentian legislators last week.

The Taiwanese students will be guests of the SVG Community College the country’s premier post-secondary institution, and will exchange knowledge with their Vincentians counterparts, Gonsalves said.

They will conduct sessions on dancing, computer literacy, craft, business, taekwondo, sports, and Chinese language and culture.

The group will be headed by Prof. Yen-Lung Tsai of NCCU’s Department of Mathematic with Amy Lan, of the Department of Diplomacy, as team leader.

Lan and Sherry Lai, of the Department of Political Science, made a similar trip to Tuvalu last year.

The other members of the team are Pablo Hsieh of the Department of Spanish and Business Administration; Tony Hu of the Departments of Diplomacy and International Business; Rachel Shih f the Department of Diplomacy and Lily Chang of the Department of Law.

Student Elizabeth Huang will not travel to SVG but will aid Cynthia Lu of the university’s Extracurricular Activities Section in providing logistical and other support for the group.

“This is a great chance to exchange culture with young people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Prof. Yen told I Witness-News on Friday. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)

Lan saw the trip as an opportunity to further prepare for a career in foreign relations. She noted that SVG and Taiwan have maintained diplomatic relations for more than 25 years and spoke of a need to understand the similarities between the nations.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines is our diplomatic ally. It is not just what we hear about this country but what we know,” she said.

Chang said the trip was a very important one for both countries since the Taiwanese and Vincentian students, who will interact with each other, are potential future leaders of their countries.

She believed that continued communication among the groups will strengthen future cooperation between both nations.

Hsieh said he wants to build friendship with Vincentians and be among the few Taiwanese who can recognize SVG. He also saw the trip as an opportunity to put theory into practice.

“For most Taiwanese, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an unfamiliar country. We can get more information about its people and culture and bring it back to Taiwan,” he said.

Last summer, Taiwan sent teams of youth ambassadors to six of its diplomatic allies and is this year expanding to 21 nations.

Lan and Lai spoke of the “fantastic” and “terrific” time they had in Tuvalu, saying the “kind people” there were “interested in almost everything”.

Lan noted that both Tuvalu and SVG have smaller populations and less resources than Taiwan and said “that is why we are interested in going there”.