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Minister urges people on working holidays not to focus on making money

2012/09/13 23:46:48

Taipei, Sept. 13 (CNA) Young people should take advantage of working holiday programs to expand their horizons rather than just make money, Education Minister Chiang Wei-lin said Thursday.

Chiang's comment was made partly in response to a local magazine report about a young Taiwanese person, recently graduated from National Tsing Hua University, who was working as a butcher in Australia under the working holiday program that exists between the two countries.

The 27-year-old, who took out a NT$300,000 (US$10,136) student loan while at university, wanted to earn NT$1 million in Australia so he could pay off his debt, according to the report.

Chiang said that he respected students' decisions, and he also suggested they expand their life experiences when they are young.

Deputy Education Minister Chen Der-hwa hoped that the public looked at the individual case positively and did not think the student was a "Taiwanese laborer" in that country.

It is positive that young people are willing to try new things, Chen said, adding that society should value their spirits of adventure.

Jamie, a former graduate student, said she gained a lot of experience while working as a temp at a Formula 1 race in Melbourne and traveled to several cities in Australia.

During her stay, she added, she improved her English-language skills and also earned money to support her travels.

Taiwan has had a working holiday agreement with Australia since 2004. According to official data, over 13,000 Taiwanese people have worked in the country under the program.

(By Hsu Chih-wei, Chen Chih-chung and Hanna Liu)