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Shu-Te University, a long-time partner of Auburn University, hosted Provost Bill Hardgrave, Assistant Provost for International Programs Andy Gillespie, Dean of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction Vini Nathan and Professor Clark Lundell in Kaohsiung, Taiwan last month for the opening ceremony of the 2018 International Design Education and Cultural Exchange Program. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the collaboration between the two schools.

In 2004, Auburn University and Shu-Te University’s Department of Product Design established a joint program that allows Auburn students to travel to Taiwan for eight to nine weeks to take design classes, as well as craft classes such as glass, pottery, metal and Chinese painting. Beyond classroom activities, students are provided the opportunity to take design workshops at other universities and visit design firms. Additionally, the students participating in the program take a three to five day trip to Hong Kong for a design show and visit the design department of a consumer product manufacturer. Over the past 15 years, more than 800 students from Auburn and Shu-Te have participated in this enriching international exchange program.

In addition to celebrating the exchange program’s 15th anniversary, Auburn and Shu-Te students, faculty and administration also attended two Taiwanese alumni events in Taipei and Kaohsiung with approximately seven Auburn alumni in attendance. Over many years, Auburn Taiwanese graduates have networked on the island to develop a self-organized alumni group of more than 200 members. These dedicated alumni have cultivated a mutually beneficial relationship with Auburn’s Office of International Programs through student recruitment events and visits, such as those hosted in Taipei and Kaohsiung last month.

“Technological advancements in information, communication and transportation have allowed cultures to become closer, and therefore more interactive with one another,” said Auburn CADC Professor Tin-Man Lau. “As a result, it is imperative to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the cultures, lifestyles and thought processes of people from other lands. Specifically, the design industry has become more cross-cultural, therefore making it critical for design students to be exposed to new cultures and international experiences.”

Auburn’s Taiwan exchange program provides students with the opportunity to enhance their design skills from a different cultural perspective, as well as improve their ability to internationally collaborate. An international experience with such interactive components not only enhances the students’ professional proficiencies, but also their personal growth.

To learn more about Auburn’s International Design Education and Culture Exchange Program, visit www.auburn.edu/ind/taiwan-program/ or contact Lau at lautinm@auburn.edu