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Low-carbon Green Energy Summer School
In 2012 NTHU’s Department of Engineering and System Science, the Department of Engineering Physics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the City University of Hong Kong signed a memorandum of cooperation detailing their plans to take turns organizing the Low-carbon Green Energy Summer School. This year’s program was organized by the Department of Engineering Physics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and included both academic and cultural exchanges.
 
Balancing Energy Sources
 
During the program participants engaged in numerous discussions on energy issues on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The Taiwan segment of the program included a visit to the Green Energy and Environment Laboratories of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, where the participants discussed such issues as the uncertain future of nuclear power in Taiwan. Gao Zhiqiang, a junior in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the City University of Hong Kong, said that he was surprised to hear that Taiwan is planning to phase out nuclear energy by 2025.
 
In Gao’s opinion, nuclear energy is also a low-carbon energy option which should be developed with the same emphasis given to wind power and solar energy. In his view, despite the uncertain future of nuclear energy in Taiwan, those with a background in nuclear engineering will continue to be in high demand. Wu Shushen, also a student from Hong Kong City University, said that we need to have a mix of energy sources, rather than over-emphasizing on renewable energy.
 
Li Haoxin, also a student from Hong Kong City University, said that mainland China has attached great importance to nuclear power in recent years, and that lots of students are eager to gain admission to a university department related to nuclear engineering. He also noted that talented students studying nuclear engineering at Tsinghua in Beijing are often recruited by companies even before they graduate, and may even have their tuition fees paid by the company.
 
Sharing Common Interests
 
The participants were divided into five groups of 11 or 12 students. In each of the three locations the local students acted as hosts by leading visits to various tourist attractions, and during the program the participants got to know each other quite well. Lots of close friendships were made, resulting in a teary departure at the Taoyuan Airport when the program ended in early August.
 
Some of the participants said that during the Beijing segment of the program the World Cup soccer match was being held in Russia, so they had a World Cup party of fried chicken and beer, and that they also went out for some authentic Beijing roast duck at a local eatery. While in Hong Kong, the participants were lucky enough to catch the last horse race of the season. During the Taiwan segment, the participants visited Yilan, Nantou, Taichung, and visited a night market. According to a participant from Beijing, everyone became like old friends, and also put on some extra weight.
 
Wu admitted that he was a bit disappointed when it turned out that his group didn’t have any female members. However, the 11 guys in his group hit it off so well that they were soon talking non-stop and even began using communication software to chat at night, much to the detriment of their teacher’s sleep. He also said that their teacher told them that it’s not possible to learn very much in an one-month program, so the emphasis is on getting to know students from different places.
 
Kao Tienhong, a student at NTHU’s Department of Engineering and System Science, said that the program helped him broaden his horizons and get to know his future colleagues, adding that he found the participants from Beijing to be eloquent speakers and quick thinkers, and those from Hong Kong to be friendly, lively, and humorous and he had learned a lot from them. The participants from Hong Kong found that the professors from Beijing were more serious and rigorous, in contrast to those from Taiwan, who often used jokes, humor, and current events to attract students' attention.
 
Learning about the Latest Energy Technologies
 
Director of the Department of Engineering and System Science Professor Wu Yung-hsien said that NTHU is the only university in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China with a nuclear reactor for research, and that visiting this facility was the highlight of the program for many of the participants. He also said that the teachers participating in the program are authorities in such areas as hydrogen energy, nuclear energy, solar energy, energy policy, fuel cells, and hydrogen storage.
 
Wu pointed out that the Department of Engineering and System Science encourages its students to participate in exchange programs with Hong Kong and China by covering half the cost of air tickets, visas, and insurance. As for food and accommodation, these are provided by each host school, so that each participant’s personal expenses comes to less than NT$10,000. Some past participants have gone on to earn a double master's degree at Tsinghua in Beijing or follow up on overseas employment opportunities.
 
Participants on the last day of the Low-carbon Green Energy Summer School.

Participants on the last day of the Low-carbon Green Energy Summer School.

Visiting the nuclear reactor at NTHU.

Visiting the nuclear reactor at NTHU.

Making the most of the final day of the program.

Making the most of the final day of the program.

Many new friendships were started during the one-month program.

Many new friendships were started during the one-month program.

 

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