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Austrian students attend Mandarin language courses at NCKU

Two separate subsidized Mandarin-language courses at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) in Taiwan were offered for the first time this year for students from Austria, one for high-school students and the other for university students.

In April, eight students from senior high school or secondary vocational Business College in Austria participated in a week-long Mandarin language program at NCKU, specially designed to suit senior high school students. It included excursions to high schools in Tainan to get to know students in Taiwan, and a day trip to Sun Moon Lake, and the Austrian students each spent a weekend with a host family. The young students enjoyed their trip very much and many stated that they wished to return to Taiwan as soon as possible, be it for an internship, to attend another language course, or even to study at a university or college in Taiwan after completing their secondary education, and they put a video on YouTube to share their experiences in Taiwan. Here’s the link:

This new program was jointly subsidized by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan and by the Federal Ministry of Education of Austria, and it was such a success, that it will continue in 2017.

Studying Chinese is becoming more and more popular in Austria each year, and NCKU also offers intensive summer language courses designed to suit university students. Last year, the Ministry of Education in Taiwan subsidized a Teaching Chinese as a Second Language course at NCKU taken by a group of Austrian teachers of Chinese, and these teachers then recommended the courses to their students.

This year’s course was held from August 1 to 26. It featured an interactive teaching style, and included cultural classes, on topics such as Chinese calligraphy, Chinese knots, Tai qi and Aboriginal dances. The 27 students stated that they made much more progress in just one month than in a full semester in Austria and felt freshly motivated to continue their Mandarin language studies back in Austria.

The program will be held again in 2017 but the competition for a place is becoming fierce. Tourism and law students are now joining the language teaching and Sinology students who are keen to go to Taiwan and enjoy a summer language program at NCKU.