National Taiwan University|Thijs Velema

National Taiwan University
Thijs Velema

Name: Thijs Velema From: Netherlands Graduate From: National Taiwan University Position: Department of Sociology, National Taipei University /Associate Professor
Thijs Velema as Assistant Professor in the Department of Business Management at National Sun Yat-sen University

In 2004, I started studying Chinese in the Netherlands, because I wanted to better understand East-Asian history and economic development. After studying Chinese in the Netherlands for one year, I felt I could only further improve my Chinese by living in a Chinese speaking environment. I decided to go to National Taiwan University (NTU) in 2006 as an exchange student. Even though I originally planned to only stay one semester, I came back as an exchange student to NTU in 2008 and eventually started my PhD at the Department of Sociology at NTU in 2009. NTU became my alma mater, and Taiwan became my home away from home.


During my PhD, I focused on organizational sociology and in my research I use the theoretical perspectives developed in organizational sociology to study markets. For example, I analyze how employers use networks to search for and recruit talented workers and I examine how organizations can successfully introduce innovative products into markets. My academic training at NTU was rigorous and focused strongly on developing the theoretical and methodological expertise to become a good researcher. Even more important was the open and critical atmosphere at my department where professors with a sharp mind worked together with inquisitive students to train the next generation of scholars.


Besides my academic training, Taiwan also became the place where I started my family. After my first child was born, I started a parenting blog in 2015 on “Business Weekly”, one of the major business magazines in Taiwan. In my blog, I not only record my experiences being a father, but I also interpret Taiwan’s society from a migrant’s standpoint. I have written more than 100 blog posts and my most popular article has been read more than 400.000 times! Based on my blog, I published a book on parenting and I now host a segment on a national radio show.


After I received my PhD in 2015, I worked as a postdoc at Academia Sinica for a year, and started as an assistant professor in the Department of Business Management at National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU). While I started my academic career at NTU, NSYSU is the place where my career took off. NSYSU provides an excellent research environment for early career researchers. I published various top-tier publications and in 2019 I received the Einstein Young Scholar Fellowship from the Ministry of Science and Technology. I also became a Distinguished Young Scholar at NSYSU. Besides my research, I am also the deputy director of the international programs at NSYSU’s College of Management. In this position, I not only hope to contribute to the internationalization of Taiwan’s higher education, but I also hope to attract more international talents to come to Taiwan.


After working at NSYSU for five years, I came back to Taipei in 2021. I now work as an associate professor at the Department of Sociology at National Taipei University.


Looking back at myself in 2006, I could not have been able to appreciate how much studying a different language can change your life. Migrating to a new country and settling into a different society is both a difficult and an interesting path to take. The path, though, only becomes interesting because of the people you encounter along the way. I am sure that your path into Taiwan will also bring you many interesting encounters and will set you on a course to a fulfilling future.

Thijs Velema and Prof. Dr. Ying-Yao Cheng, the President of NSYSU, during the award ceremony for Distinguished Young Scholar
I published a book on parenting in 2017