COVID-19 has imposed a rippling effect on educational institutions globally, substantially impacting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries. Recognizing Taiwan as an atypicality during this crisis for suffering from a relatively moderate mortality/morbidity compared with the rest of the world, the present paper qualitatively explores the pedagogical, technological and social impact of COVID-19 on higher education students in Taiwan. Employing the focus group discussion methodology, we recruited a cohort of 23 students, comprising of 15 local and 8 international students. Findings show diverse pedagogical experiences in students’ instructional modalities. Trending by either discipline of study, students from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines expressed a greater preference for face-to-face instruction compared to their humanities counterparts. Distance learners reported a decrease in study efficacy and a lack of sense of belongingness to their university. All students demonstrated a high sense of perceived safety and reported minimal changes in their socializing norms during the pandemic. In terms of career planning, local students expressed minimal concerns about potential changes in their careers, versus international students who expressed high degrees of uncertainty, fear and pessimism in the same regard.
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