Today I tried out the English-taught course on International Law. This is potentially the only class I will actually take in the Department of Diplomacy at NCCU, even though I am technically supposed to only be in this department.
My real professor was absent from class today, so a different professor from the department substituted. Fortune is always funny–this substitute professor just so happened to have studied at GWU for the past six years and just arrived back to NCCU after completing some post-doctoral work there. It was nice to be able to chat with him about school in DC; he was particularly fond of comparing the American schooling system to the Taiwanese schooling system to the local students in my class. He also picked on me to read outloud half of a NY Times article and repeatedly complimented me on my “perfect pronunciation”— I would be a good model to learn from — but I told him not to ask me to try to pronounce anything in Chinese. Honestly, it was a little embarrassing.
The professor spent a while talking about a current issue in international law very pertinent to Taiwan. A couple days ago a Taiwanese sport fishing boat ventured into the reputed Japanese exclusive economic zone (EEZ) causing Japanese authorities to send out defensive vessels and overtake the Taiwanese boat. It still remains to be seen what the final outcome of the situation will be–will Taiwan have to “pay” for its breach of international law, or was Taiwan justified in traveling through these waters? Of course, this EEZ is particularly controversial as Japan, Taiwan and China all claim ownership of this sea territory. Ever since some scientists suggested there may be some oil in the area, the Senkaku Islands (as Japan refers to them) –which are not in fact islands but large rocks –have historically put these three nations in a tizzy.
For more info: http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=63714&ctNode=452&mp=9
Overall, it was surprisingly my most interesting class so far. I suppose I will just have to wait and see what my real professor is like.
P.S. I am currently putting together a separate “insider’s guide” page about NCCU. More on that to come.