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Australian envoy surprised by time Taiwanese students spend studying

2015/02/03 19:05:33

Catherine Raper, head of the Australian Office in Taipei

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) The director of the Australian Office in Taipei said Tuesday that she was surprised to learn the long hours Taiwanese students spend studying.

Speaking to a group of local senior high school students about a visit they are about to embark upon to Australia, Catherine Raper also said they must tell their Australian counterparts how much time they spend studying each day, which she said would surprise them, too .

Raper made the remarks when she and the students attended a news conference sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The representative also introduced her country in a humorous way, saying that it's a vast country and the chances of running into a kangaroo in remote parts of the country are bigger than that of running into a man.

She also said that convenience chain stores in Australia are less

common than in Taiwan, even though the 7-Eleven convenience store

chain is Australia's second-largest private company.

Vice Foreign Minister Vanessa Shih (史亞平), who was stationed in Australia 2001-2007, also told the students that they can "touch koalas in Australia, but not kangaroos, because kangaroos kick people."

The 12-member delegation from the three top senior high schools in Taiwan -- Taipei First Girls High School and Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School in Taipei and National Wu-ling Senior High School in Taoyuan -- were chosen from among nearly 500 aspirants.

The students introduced Taiwan in English and sang the well-known Australian folk song "Waltzing Matilda."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has arranged the overseas visits for students for 13 consecutive years, in a bid to give them international experience and broaden their horizons.

The delegation is expected to visit Australian political, economic and cultural facilities and charity groups, as well as to have in-depth exchanges with Australian students, academicians and overseas Taiwanese during their Feb. 5-15 visit.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Lilian Wu)