The Chinese Government and the Confucius Institute are handing out scholarships to foreigners like hotcakes these days as part of China’s global soft diplomacy efforts.
The Confucius Institute Scholarship provides free tuition, basic accommodation, basic medical insurance and a stipend for international students to study in China. The only real hurdle to securing a scholarship is figuring out how to apply! Tracking down the latest application information and relevant documentation is not always easy.
The Confucius Institute Scholarship though is more accessible to apply to than the Chinese Government Scholarship (which offers similar benefits), as the latter now integrates an online application.
In the case of Australia, application enquiries should be directed to your local Confucius Institute and submission dates vary from city to city. Also, you don’t necessary have to be a student at Melbourne University to apply for a scholarship through the Melbourne University Confucius Institute. In fact, as a Victorian student I had the selection of a number of Confucius Institutes in Melbourne and I opted not to apply directly to the RMIT Confucius Institute despite being enrolled as an RMIT student at the time. Instead, I applied through Melbourne University because their exchange partners in China included Nanjing University (which is where I wanted to study).
This is one of the key differences between the Confucius Institute Scholarship and Chinese Government Scholarship. The Chinese Government scholarship is administered by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in Australia and students can submit their preferences to just about any university in China. However, students who apply for a Chinese Government scholarship do not always receive their first, second or even third preference. Confucius Institutes in Australian on the other hand have established partnerships with universities in China and will only fund students to study at those designated partner universities. Therefore, I believe you are far more likely to be accepted into your preferred university if you apply through the Confucius Institute Scholarship program. It is therefore worthwhile to research which universities in China your local Confucius Institutes are affiliated to.
The next important tip is to contact your local Confucius Institute early in the year (February-March) and find out their specific application details as early as possible. There is an online application portal and you will still need to contact your local Confucius Institute to find out their reference number and to double check you have the right information.
A few other notable features of this particular scholarship is that you do not need to be receiving credit or be currently enrolled in an Australian university. Also, despite the eligibility criteria listed below, Confucius Institutes should take applications from basically anyone who is a non-Chinese national under the age of 55.
Below I have included generic information about the Confucius Institute scholarships application process. However, readers should be wary that this information can change without being properly updated (especially application dates).
The Confucius Institute Scholarship Program was established by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters in order to encourage students and Chinese language teachers all over the world to study Chinese or conduct research regarding Chinese language and culture in China.
- Outstanding students at Confucius Institutes (classrooms) worldwide;
- Mandarin teachers and those who intend to become Mandarin teachers and who are devoted to the spread of the Chinese language and culture;
- Outstanding examinees of Chinese tests organized by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters;
- Outstanding participants of any of the following “Chinese Bridge“ Chinese Proficiency Competitions, held for foreign college Students, for foreign secondary school students, or for foreign students in China;
- Those who qualify according to certain Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters agreements.
Applicants must be non-Chinese citizens who are in good health.
Scholarship categories and qualification
- Scholarships for advanced study. Duration is for one semester or one academic year. Applicants are required to have a basic knowledge of Chinese language, and be under the age of 55.
- Scholarships for Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of other Languages. Duration is two years. Applicants are required to have bachelor degrees or its equivalent and be under the age of 45.
Majors supported by the Confucius Institute Scholarship include literature, education, history and traditional Chinese medicine and pharmacy.
Scholarship coverage and criteria
- Scholarship holders are exempt from tuition, accommodation fees on campus and outpatient medical service;
- Monthly allowances (CNY Yuan/month)
a. Advanced study: CNY 1,400
b. Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of other Languages: CNY 1,700
- One settlement subsidy, at the following rates (CNY Yuan)
a. Students who will study in China for 1 academic year or more: CNY 1,500
b. Students who will study in China more than one semester, but within one academic year: CNY 1,000.
- Comprehensive Medical Insurance: provided by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters for scholarship students in China in case of hospitalization for serious illness or injury.
Applicants should submit their applications to the following institutes:
- Educational (cultural) departments of Chinese embassies and consulates abroad
- Confucius Institutes worldwide;
- Institutes accepting the scholarships
- Other organizations appointed by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters;
Application and evaluation
- Applicants, please log on to the Confucius Scholarship website, set up an individual account, fill in the application form online, print the form and sign it; then submit it to one of the recommended institutes along with the other application materials before March 31st;
- The Recommended Institutes will select the best applicants and submit their documents to the accepting institutes. Evaluations will be made by the accepting institutes and the results will be submitted to Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters by April 30th, which will make the final selection and award the Confucius Institute Scholarships.
- Applicants may check their application process and results at any time through the individual accounts they have set up on the Confucius Institute website.
Applicants must submit their documents according to the following instructions (all in duplicate):
- Application form for Confucius Institute Scholarship: log on to the Confucius Institute Scholarship website, fill in and submit the form online; then print and submit it;
- Photocopy of passport photo page;
- Application statement: include applicants’ Chinese learning background and study plan in China. It should be no less than 200 words. Print and sign it in Chinese or English. And for Masters of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of other Languages applicants, please give a detailed plan for your study and research in China.
- Chinese proficiency certificates: a copy of the HSK results is strictly required when applying for the Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of other Languages;
- Diploma and transcripts: to be issued directly by the educational administration office of the school/university, with an official stamp. Documents in languages other than Chinese or English must be accompanied by notarized translations in Chinese or English. Applicants for Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of other Languages are required to submit two letters of recommendation in Chinese or English by professors or associate professors.
- Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters will inform the recommended institutes and accepting institutes of the scholarship decisions by the end of May each year.
- The accepting institutes will send both the letter of acceptance and the certification of scholarship to the applicants.
For more details about the Confucius Institute Scholarship application process please see the official website. Some information in English can be found here.
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