Dharamshala:- On July 30, students from different Taiwanese universities sat down with Tibet Post International (TPI) to share their experiences and views about their two week visit to India.
Students for a Free Tibet, India in association with Taiwan Friends of Tibet organized their second Tibet awareness program in Dharamsala. The initiative started last year with the aim of introducing Tibetan culture, Tibetan political movement, Tibetan religion and Tibetan community in exile to the young Taiwanese students.
Sixteen students along with two professors from five different Taiwan universities: Shih Hsin University, Providence University, National Chengchi University, Taipei National University of Arts and Soochow University arrived at Dharamshala on July 24.
A philosophy major from National Taiwan University, Tu Ching Wei, told TPI that he first heard of this program after he got involved with the Free Tibet festival held in Taipei City in March of this year.
"Before I came to Dharamsala I thought Tibetans in exile would be going through hard times and unfavorable conditions but I then realized Tibetans are strong, organized and committed to Tibetan freedom struggle, which inspired me a lot." said Meng-huan, a student of Taipei National University of Arts.
During their visit here the students met with members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Information and International Relations. They also got acquainted with various NGOs, Men Tse Khang, Monasteries and Tibetan schools.
"We visited the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, (TIPA) as well as, heard firsthand accounts of the struggles and adversities faced by many of the ex-political prisoners." said Ko Pei Ching from National Taiwan University
Lin Ching Wan, a sociology major from the National Taiwan University said that her most memorable part of the trip was her visit to the Tibetan Children's Village School (TCV). She said, "When we were at TCV we didn't get to audit the classes and see how things worked. However, it didn't matter as we did meet and interact with some of the students, who told us about the way they were taught and showed us the kind of home work they were given."
It remains clear that this program has achieved its goal by not only opening the group's eyes to a whole new issue, but also creating an immense feeling among them to want to come back and help with the cause.
"Once I get home I will start talking to my friends about the Free Tibet movement, as well as, write papers to share with the general public the information and firsthand accounts that I witnessed in India." Tu Ching Wei also added, "It is important for people to know the real situation and history of Tibet and what the Chinese authorities are portraying is not totally correct. People should have all the information before they form an opinion about the issue."
He also said that he plans on starting a campaign for the Tibet movement once he gets home.
The program that started on July 18 concluded with an audience with His Holiness the Karmapa at the Gyuto Monastery on 30th July. The students also met with several activists, writers such as Tenzin Tsundue and Bhuchung D Sonam.