On our first weekend back in Taiwan, we headed down to Tainan to watch Harmony compete in a dragon boat race. Since her race did not start until the late afternoon, we spent the morning exploring the National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) campus in Tainan. This is where Harmony has been attending classes for the past year.
First, we had to navigate through the maze of bicycles and motor scooters lining the sidewalks between the train station and the campus entrance. There were so many bicycles parked on sections of this wide sidewalk that barely one person at a time could squeeze between!
National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) is a research and teaching university in Tainan. In Chinese, its name is shortened to (Chéng Dà), and that is what Harmony always called it. I did not realize that it had a much longer name until we came to visit the campus. National Cheng Kung University is named after Cheng Ch’eng-Kung (also called Koxinga), the general who defeated the Dutch, and established Ming dynasty rule in Taiwan.
NCKU is considered of the most prestigious universities in Taiwan, with a strong reputation in science, engineering, medicine, management, planning, and design. According to international rankings, NCKU is ranked second or third among all universities in Taiwan.
NCKU is large; it has 9 colleges, 40 departments, 82 graduate institutes, and 54 research centers. NCKU is among the four universities of the Taiwan Comprehensive University System.
They changed the name of the college many times over the course of its history. National Cheng Kung University was originally established under Japanese occupation in January 1931 as Tainan Technical College. After the end of the Japanese occupation, the school name was renamed to Taiwan Provincial Tainan Junior College of Technology in March 1946. Then the college was renamed the Taiwan Provincial College of Engineering in October of that same year.
When the central government of the Republic of China moved to Taiwan from China in 1949, it was one of the three existing colleges in Taiwan. As the number of colleges expanded, it was upgraded to a provincial university in 1956 as Taiwan Provincial Cheng Kung University. In 1971 it became a national university, and the name was changed to its current one, the National Cheng Kung University. I think that the man depicted in the campus sculpture below was contemplating why the college was renamed so frequently!
There was also some student art on display at the NCKU campus. I am assuming that this “artistic” display of hanging bottles was supposed to be representative of something or some idea. But to me, it just looks like green bottles hanging on a rack.
Not far from it, there were yellow plastic crates stacked up. I think that this was also student “art” because food service workers would likely have just piled them up next to the building.
I am sure that there is some symbolism and meaning behind the plastic crates, but as there was no explanation I cannot provide any more information.
The NCKU campus is located completely inside of the city of Tainan. But with all of the beautiful landscaping around the buildings, it does not feel like a city college.
There was also something very unusual on the NCKU campus; a partial section of an old city wall. This wall section is part of the old wall that used to enclose the city of Tainan. I first thought that maybe it was there because the campus was originally next to part of the old city wall. But that was not the case. Instead, the reason that the old wall section was there on campus is because it was relocated to the campus to preserve it.
This section of the historic city wall must have been moved here quite awhile ago. The tree roots on the other side of the wall are substantial, so they have been growing there for some time!
The NCKU campus had a building with a museum inside that told about the history of the university. It was open, so we went inside to cool down and spend some time in the air conditioning. We also learned a lot about the history of the university from the exhibits inside of the museum.
Most of the exhibits had signs written in both English and Chinese, so I could read them. That meant I could include a lot more information about the university in this entry of my blog!
There were lots of these beautiful trees with yellow flowers on the NCKU campus. I also saw them around the city of Tainan. I think that they are Delonix regia var. flavida, which is a yellow-flowered variety of a popular tropical tree, and also the official tree of Tainan.
I enjoyed getting to see the university that Harmony has been attending for the past year in Tainan. It was a great way to spend the morning while we were waiting for her dragon boat race to start!