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  • The number of foreign students learning Mandarin in Taiwan has doubled over the past decade.
  • The government’s Huayu Enrichment Scholarship offers financial support to foreign students who wish to study Mandarin in Taiwan.
Traditional Chinese characters are a treasured cultural legacy and product of thousands of years of linguistic evolution. In modern Taiwan, traditional Chinese characters are utilized as the written form of Mandarin, one of the nation’s official languages.
International students outside the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei City
International students outside the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei City (Chuang Kung-ju)
Taiwan is home to numerous high-level institutions that offer Mandarin language classes to non-native speakers. Since the establishment of the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei City in 1956, 52 university language institutes have been set up across the country. The number of foreign students attending these centers increased from 9,135 in the 2005-06 school year to 19,977 in the 2015-16 school year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Education (MOE).
The MOE offers short-term study programs for groups of overseas Mandarin teachers as well as foreign students of the language. Under these initiatives, the MOE provides subsidies to groups of teachers from abroad who wish to visit the nation to enhance their professional development and/or observe Mandarin teaching in Taiwan. The MOE also offers subsidies to groups of students to study Mandarin in the country during the summer and winter academic breaks. Students find that in addition to being able to enjoy the benefits of modern teaching facilities, they gain a great deal of knowledge about Chinese culture by experiencing Taiwan’s unique blend of tradition and modernity. Students attending classes in Taiwan can also learn traditional and simplified Chinese characters while enjoying the advantages of living in a free and democratic society.
To encourage international students to learn Mandarin in Taiwan, the MOE established the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. This program enables foreign students to undertake Mandarin courses at affiliated language training centers around the nation, while also boosting international awareness and understanding of Taiwan culture and society. The scholarships are awarded by ROC representative offices or embassies based on the merits of the applicants. A monthly stipend of NT$25,000 (US$825) is provided to scholarship recipients. Applicants may select the duration of the scholarship, which can last for two months (summer course), three months, six months, nine months, or a maximum of one year.
A list of university Mandarin training centers and information on learning Mandarin in Taiwan can be found on the websites of the MOE (www.edu.tw), Study in Taiwan (www.studyintaiwan.org) and the Office of Global Mandarin Education (gmeo.org/gcle).
In addition, the Overseas Community Affairs Council has created the website www.huayuworld.org to offer a friendly, convenient digital learning platform for overseas Chinese/Taiwan communities and those interested in traditional Chinese characters. Teacher training programs are also held annually to promote the use of traditional Chinese characters so that their beauty can be appreciated worldwide.