With Australian students flocking to Asia to find opportunities for studying, working and interning, those who wish to follow in their footsteps have ample resources to learn about their experiences. But, as with any relationship, these cultural exchanges go both ways and learning what the other side thinks is also helpful when making decisions about studying in Asia. With this in mind, Asia Options recently sat down with Mr Andy Bi, the Executive Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia. The Education Division is responsible for facilitating interaction and cooperation between Taiwan and Australia in the areas of education and culture, including scholarship administration and Mandarin language learning programs. Mr Bi was more than happy to share his thoughts on increasing exchanges between Australia and Taiwan and offering some tips for students interested in studying in Asia.
Mr Bi recently started his posting in Australia (just over a month ago) and he is already excited by the range of opportunities promoting exchanges between Australia and Asia (Taiwan). The one he is most excited about is the Australian Government’s newly launched New Colombo Plan (NCP). Taiwan was formally invited to participate in the NCP from 2015 onwards and Mr Bi has affirmed that Taiwan ‘keenly and fully supports the NCP.’ The Taiwan Education Division will work closely with any NCP recipients and partner universities in Taiwan to develop a solid study program and a range of internship opportunities for NCP recipients to allow them to make the most of their award.
Why study in Taiwan?
This naturally segued into Asia Options asking Mr Bi the obvious question why study in Taiwan? Mr Bi started off by listing the well-known benefits of studying in Taiwan. These include the hospitable and friendly nature of the Taiwanese, who are always willing to help. The rich and unique culture found in Taiwan, which has been able to maintain its strong traditional Chinese heritage as well as being one of Asia’s cutting-edge modern cities. This unique cultural fusion is also found in Taiwan’s food which includes traditional Chinese food, as well as some of the best Japanese food found outside of Japan, while also having restaurants serving food from all over the globe. Not to mention the friendships students make, not only with their fellow students but also new Taiwanese friends. Mr Bi also raised some of the lesser-known positives of studying in Taiwan. These include how supportive the Taiwanese education division is of all its students. Not only Taiwanese students studying in Australia (to whom they assist via funding and support), but also foreign students in Taiwan where there exist many resources to make their stay as easy and memorable as possible.
However, while Mr Bi quite effusive about the wonderful environment Taiwan offers for studying Chinese, he believes the best way to convince students to study in Taiwan is to read what other foreign students have to say about studying in Taiwan. Mr Bi having read Aidan Dullard’s story here on Asia Options thought Aidan summed it up best when he said ‘Taiwan is an incredible place, and I fell in love with it almost immediately.’
While often overlooked in the international domain, Taiwan should not be ignored by students wishing to improve their Chinese or undertake further study. With a range of scholarships including those for short-term Mandarin study, to long-term Masters and PhD scholarship (many Taiwanese universities offer Master degrees taught in English), high quality of life and supportive government, Taiwan provides the perfect study environment for Australian students who want to equip themselves with the skills required to thrive in the Asian Century.
For inquiries in the areas of education information, Mandarin language learning programs, and scholarship opportunities, please contact the Education Division.
To find out why you should study Mandarin in Taiwan you should definitely check out this post!
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