SGSB MBA Student Raiya Abi-Samra Studies in Taiwan

February 29, 2024

Experience the travel, cultural exploration and learning opportunities within the bilateral exchange program at Cal Poly Pomona

Yunlin, TaiwanStudents at Cal Poly Pomona have become accustomed to the high impact, state of the art facilities found on the 1600+ acre Southern California campus, but learning opportunities extend far beyond the walls of any classroom, area of study, or laboratory. In fact, the Office of Study Abroad at Cal Poly Pomona is committed to engaging the campus community in a collective partnership with schools around the world to provide valuable, high-quality, and academically-sound study abroad programming that expands opportunities for where, when, and how students learn.

Cal Poly Pomona is committed to providing inclusive opportunities like this for all students, so the school offers a bilateral program, enabling students to remain fully enrolled at their home institution and pay tuition only to their home university.

“Cultivating a global perspective is paramount for future business leaders, so over the past few years, I have actively engaged in the recruitment of international students for our graduate programs,” explains Meihua Koo, Director of Graduate Programs at Cal Poly Pomona’s Singelyn Graduate School of Business. “The National Yunlin Science and Technology University of Taiwan holds accreditation from AACSB and under the bilateral exchange agreement, students pay Cal Poly Pomona tuition fees while studying there. This arrangement offers an excellent opportunity for students to access a certified quality of education at a collaborating institution.”

MBA student Raiya Abi-Samra can attest to the value of overseas education, having recently returned from the program, where she studied at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (YunTech) in Yunlin, Taiwan. “Yun-Tech was like a hidden gem, which allowed me to create and take part in many unique experiences while there,” says Abi-Samra (MBA ’24).

The Exchange School

Founded in 1991, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (YunTech) is comprised of five colleges and ranks in the top 1% globally in Essential Science Indicators for the school’s Engineering and Social Science disciplines. YunTech also aggressively pursues new technological domains in AI, Data Science, Robotics and Electric Vehicle development. “They have many English courses for undergraduate and post-graduate students in different fields of study,” says Abi-Samra. “The campus is unique and beautiful, and although the area is not as well-known as Taipei, Yunlin has a lot of history to explore.”

Yunlin Taiwan

The school had much to offer Abi-Samra, who is currently pursuing her master’s in business administration. “I took an international business management course — which truly had an international perspective — due to the international make-up of the professor and the students. This allowed us to share many unique perspectives and experiences during class time.” She also champions the mid-Taiwan geographical location of YunTech, as she was able to explore different parts of Taiwan without huge transit times. “Those trips aren’t quite as convenient as Taipei's daily public transportation, since you need to use a combination of rental bicycles, buses, trains, and the high-speed railway, but it’s still easy to explore much of Taiwan during your free time.”

The Lifestyle

One key aspect of the bilateral program’s success is that it allows students to explore what it is like to live in another country with a reasonable cost of living. In some ways, a semester abroad might even cost less than a typical semester on campus, as was the case for Abi-Samra. “Going to the doctor was 10 dollars without insurance; the apartment I stayed at cost less than a month's rent in LA county; and going out to eat could range from as low as five dollars to 30 dollars, which was usually enough for fancy dining.”

Going out to eat means having to get around, and in addition to public transportation and riding with new friends, Abi-Samra offers one life hack when it comes to solo transportation in Yunlin. “I bought and owned a used bicycle while I was there — but I highly recommend getting the MOOVO and YouBike apps,” she says. “These are publicly available bicycles which were so much better than my own bicycle and only cost about 10$ NT per hour (about 0.33$ USD). MOOVO bicycles are electronic and easy to use if you ever want to go somewhere farther than you would normally wish to bike. Yun-Tech has a MOOVO station on campus, and the app shows you where you can park and end sessions. MOOVO does not require you to have a Taiwanese number, but YouBike does.”

Yunlin, Taiwan

As far as language barriers go, Abi-Samra was able to enjoy her experience overseas without any big issues in communication. “I do not know Chinese and I did not learn Chinese while there,” states Abi-Samra. “Additionally, not everyone spoke English, so I replied on Google translate and utilizing gestures. I will deeply miss my friends there. Everyone was very warm and welcoming and willing to include me in their adventures.”

“Taking the opportunity to study overseas would be a great experience for any future business leader,” says Koo. “The immersive experience of studying abroad for a full semester offers students the chance to live and learn in another country, fostering a deep understanding and appreciation of different cultures. I firmly believe that enabling our graduate students to study abroad presents a remarkable opportunity, but so far, Raiya is the first MBA student who has taken the bilateral study abroad program. I would like to see more students taking advantage of this fantastic opportunity!”

If you’d like to learn more about the Study Abroad programs at Cal Poly Pomona, there is an office here on campus you can visit, and here is a link to the program’s website for more information:


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