The population of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is over 600 million. ASEAN established the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015, becoming the world’s third largest market after China and India. Currently, it is the second largest trading partner of Taiwan. With an average economic growth rate of 5-7% every year, it is in its high economic growth stage; its characteristics include demographic dividends and an increase in the middle-class income year by year. In 2016, the British journal, The Economist, predicted that the AEC is poised to become the world’s fourth largest economy; its future is full of potential. To adapt to the changing trends in world development, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, the only university of languages in Taiwan, started to offer courses in Southeast Asian languages in 2008, based on the spirit of 50 years of excellence in its foreign language teaching. In the 2014 academic year, it established the Center for Southeast Asian Languages Teaching. In the second half of 2018, it begins to offer Southeast Asian language proficiency tests and the Master of Arts in its Southeast Asian Studies (MSEAS) Program. In the 2019 academic year, it will establish the Department of Southeast Asian Studies, hoping to cultivate more “dual-specialty” and “interdisciplinary” talents with high international mobility that will be well-prepared for the ASEAN market and active in both Taiwan and ASEAN.
- To act as a resource center in southern Taiwan, providing access to Southeast Asian languages and cultures
- To strengthen the teaching and researching in the field of Southeast Asian languages and cultures
- To establish a collaborative platform with domestic and international academia to promote Southeast Asian languages and cultures
- To expand the collaboration with Southeast Asian industries as well as increase internship opportunities in that region.
To highlight the objective of cultivating language professions well-equipped with versatile skills by offering the “Southeast Asian Languages and Industries Program.” Through this specialized program, students are offered the chance to learn multiple languages and the capability to develop their careers aboard. In addition, the center is striving to expand the opportunities for international collaboration, industry-government-academia projects, and to increase our contribution to the society.