Studying Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan – Huayu Scholarship (華語文獎學金)

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Apply for the Huayu Scholarship (Australian perspective)

*Note that I studied in Taiwan in 2019 on the 3-month Huayu scholarship.

The Taiwan government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) offers Australians the opportunity to study Mandarin in Taiwan for 2-3 months. Annually, about 15 to 25 scholarships are awarded to Australians to encourage the study of Chinese as a second language at a variety of schools across the country.

The scholarship award is a monthly stipend of NT25,000 (about $1,200 Australian dollars) and does NOT cover other expenses such as accommodation, enrollment fees, or textbooks. Additionally, depending on the course you select, there are certain requirements you must fulfill in order to receive this monthly stipend (such as attendance and exam marks).

Application Process (Australian applicants)

There is no transparent information about how scholars are chosen, but the application process is fairly straightforward and you can find all the information you need here: https://www.roc-taiwan.org/au_en/cat/21.html

Some tips:

  • Make sure you have two references (through work or school) that you can easily reach out to as letters of recommendations are required. 
  • Give your references as much information (or even draft the letter for them) to speed up the process.
  • In your application form, write a detailed study plan. Talk about your motivations and reasons for studying and living in Taiwan.
  • Prepare early as it can be time-consuming to fill out the application form,  print copies of your passport and transcripts, picking and enrolling in your desired course, notifying your references, and other ad-hoc tasks.
  • Note that you will have to send all required documents by mail to the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canberra.

Eligibility

Australian applicants above the age of 18, who possess a senior high school diploma or above, have shown excellent academic performance, and are of good moral character are eligible.

Studying at NTNU

I chose to study at the Mandarin Training Center ( 國語教學中心), which is part of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) – 國立臺灣師範大學 located in Taipei.  It is a well-respected institution that boasts former Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, as one of its alumni.

I enjoyed my time here and would recommend MTC as one of your first choices. I made friends from all over the world (mostly from East & SE Asia) and you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the language through a variety of activities.  Additionally, you are within walking distance from multiple night markets (Shida, Gongguan, and Dongmen) and the famous Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

Enrollment fees range between $1,000 to AUD 1,800 per semester (i.e 3 months) depending on the size and pace of the class. See more about this here: https://mtc.ntnu.edu.tw/eng/course-seasonal.htm

Also note that there are courses available to those that can speak Mandarin fluently, but want to focus on their reading and writing. Students here are typically American or Australian born Taiwanese (華僑 / 華人).

Final Words

I went to Taiwan pretty much not knowing anything (I have no family ties to Taiwan) but would recommend living here for a bit. People are generally friendly and the cost of living is relatively low vs Sydney.  

Just note that the weather is wetter and more humid in Taipei than in Sydney… not to mention typhoons that can keep you inside for days. If I had my choice again, I would have upgraded my accommodation to something a bit better (I was living in a shoebox for about ~750 AUD a month – can’t give recommendations on how to find accommodation as I ended up negotiating a long term stay with the Airbnb host).

Applications for the 2020 Huayu Scholarship close on the 5th of April. For more information, please use this link: https://www.roc-taiwan.org/au_en/post/10252.html

Good luck!

Taipei
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial; Taipei
Raohe Night Market, Taipei