Twelve students from Taiwan’s top university, National Tsing Hua University, paid their own way to travel to Belize, where they intend to build people-to-people linkages, particularly with their peers here, as they impart some of their IT expertise in sessions which will be held in western Belize.
The newly installed Ambassador for Taiwan to Belize, H.E. Benjamin Ho, will present on their behalf 26 sets of desktop computers and 11 notebooks (laptops), as well as school bags and stationery to Belizean students, as they tour San Antonio, El Progresso and Duck Run 1, and visit schools such as the University of Belize and Sacred Heart College.
The students, led by Chen Chun-Heng, aka Tommy, arrived on Saturday, July 19, 2014, on a 35-day visit in Belize, due to conclude August 24, 2014. They were introduced to the media at the Embassy’s conference room this morning.
Chen, a computer science and engineering major, said that they started last October to lobby businesses in Taiwan for donations, and that also gave them an opportunity to share a bit of what they know about Belize.
According to Chen, they intend to use this visit to establish linkages between the Rotary Club in Belize and the Rotary Club in Taiwan. They also intend to strengthen cultural exchanges through the sharing of culinary arts.
“We would like to connect with locals and learn their needs,” said Chen, who spoke enthusiastically about having face-to-face sessions with locals and about experiencing life out west.
Ambassador Ho said that the strength of Taiwan is in its people, in its private industries. There is government-to-government cooperation, but there is only so much that can be done through official means, due to resource constraints, he said.
According to Ho, the bilateral relations between Belize and Taiwan have seen cooperation on many fronts: in infrastructure, health, ICT, medicine, culture and, more recently, green energy cooperation.
In January 2013, National Tsing Hua University volunteers who visited Belize handed over two sets of solar panels and batteries to El Progresso Government School in Santa Elena Town, Cayo, after learning that the school did not have adequate electricity. The Embassy notes that this has helped to improve the learning environment for students.
The Embassy notes that each year, almost 200 students from Taiwan come to Belize to share their goodwill.
The group will be accompanied on its tour by Luis Herrera, a graduate of Sacred Heart College, who has been awarded a scholarship to study in Taiwan in the new academic year.