re: Studying Mandarin Abroad For Free: Taiwan Scholarship

Taipei sights

Learning a second language requires a strong amount of discipline and anything you can do to aid this process is a must. Personally, I believe that immersion in a native speaking environment is paramount to achieving fluency. Although this option can be a huge step, whether in terms of geographical location or cultural differences, there are many resources and scholarships out there to help you take the leap!

Overview

Language schools in Taiwan are rising in popularity, unfortunately indicated by increasing tuition fees. But don’t be deterred, the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship which provides recipients with a monthly stipend of 25,000NTD. Depending on where you choose to study, this can either be a generous amount covering tuition and all living expenses, or a tight budget if you choose to study in the country’s capital.

Language Schools

You must apply for a language school in advance of your application and provide proof of acceptance. With a wide range of language schools in Taiwan, not mentioning Taipei alone, it can be overwhelming to decide on one. Since I knew I wanted to study in Taipei, I found this guide quite useful in helping me decide – note: tuition fees are outdated!

Reading public forums, there is healthy debate on which school is the best in terms of teaching. This can be especially important for those applying to study for longer periods as you are unable to change schools once the scholarship begins. Other factors can include location – studying away from the city may enhance your learning as the level of English declines or cost if you are planning to live solely on the stipend given.

NTU campus

Scholarship Application

According to a talk given by my university, 1/3 of all applications are accepted. Funding for the scholarship can be viewed in terms of months available to allocate and I was told that applying for shorter periods can increase your likelihood of acceptance. I guess the opportunity to give more people an experience of Taiwan takes priority over the amount of people who can learn a language well – 3 months seems too short to me!

There are currently 4 options available: a 2-month summer programme or 3/6/9 months. When applying you state your first and second preferences. If, however, you’re desperate to study in Taiwan, you can mark your interest in offers other than your stated preference, i.e. apply for 9/6 months but open to offers of 3/2.

I took the risk and applied for 9-months and was awarded it, hearing of quite a few others on the 9-month scholarship too! Definitely don’t be deterred by what I just wrote – if you’re driven enough and passionate about study, let that come through in your personal statement and I’m sure you’ll be fine!

Application for the Huayu Scholarship is based primarily on a written personal statement – maximum 500 words I’d say. There is no phone/face-to-face interview, so make sure your statement really showcases your enthusiasm and drive to study. Also important, good references! Referees must send out their references direct to the programme, so definitely talk with them about your motivations before asking them to provide a reference. Some tips for application that I found really helpful was to really emphasise why you wish to study in Taiwan as opposed to China. Make this personal to you and touch upon details specific to Taiwan such as written language and culture.

Applications open in February and I received an outcome around the end of April. These dates are based on a UK application and may vary depending on where you’re applying from.

Summary:

  • 25000 NTD p/m*: covering tuition, rent and daily living
    *first instalment given after first month of start date
  • Not Covered: Flight, Visa, Medical Insurance, Vaccinations.
  • Application Period: February
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