2019 Taiwan Scholarship and Huayu Enrichment Scholarship Program Orientation and Welcome Party for Newly Arrived International Scholarship Recipients
The Taiwan Scholarships and Huayu Enrichment Scholarships, provided by the Ministry of Education (MOE), and the Taiwan Scholarships provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), are awarded to many hundreds of international students each year, to pursue degree and language studies in Taiwan. The number of students continues to increase every year, and this year Taiwan welcomed a record total of 1,609 scholarship winners from 89 different countries.
An orientation and welcome party was held for this year's scholarship winners at the Chang Yung-Fa Foundation Building on October 28. As well as being given important information about their scholarship regulations, and about studying and life in Taiwan, they had a chance to try some traditional Taiwanese cuisine and enjoy a cultural art performance.
The welcome party was attended by more than 570 students, from 65 different countries, and with the additional presence of diplomatic envoys and representatives, the party very much resembled a small UN conference. Dr. Klement Ruey-Sheng Gu, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Policy Planning, gave the first opening remarks. He pointed out that Taiwan is a country of freedom, democracy, and rule of law, and that Taiwanese people are very enthusiastic and kind, and there is no ethnic or religious conflict in Taiwanese society. Dr. Gu outlined other aspects of the country's appeal, including its cuisine, modern and lively lifestyle, 24-hour convenience stores, well-established mobile communication and computer network, movies, music and arts, historical sites, and beautiful scenery. Dr. Gu's speech included humorous comments which the students welcomed with laughter. He ended his remarks by encouraging them to get to know each other, to make new friends, to go out of their classrooms and dorms and explore Taiwan, and to fall in love with this country.
Ms. Hsu Heui-wen, an Education Counselor at the Ministry of Education, then explained that the Ministry's Taiwan Scholarships and Huayu Enrichment Scholarships were set up in 2004, to encourage outstanding international students to come to Taiwan to undertake degrees and language studies, and at the same time, facilitate exchanges, understanding, and friendship between Taiwan and countries around the world. Since then, more than 12,000 students have received one of these scholarships, and the Ministry made even more available this year. Like Dr. Gu, she encouraged the scholarship recipients to value their time in Taiwan, and make new friends, and to become familiar with Taiwan's diverse range of cultures.
Two students who received their scholarships in an earlier year were invited to the welcome party to share some details of their own experiences studying in Taiwan. Ms. Sushanthi Poovendhan, an Indian master's degree student at National Taiwan University and a MOE Taiwan Scholarship recipient, praised the professional knowledge and friendliness of her professors at the university. She commended them for their dedication to giving students unique learning experiences by providing a diversified range of course designs, and said that seeing the professors giving attention towards their students' needs motivated her to focus on her studies. She also commented on Taipei's a convenient transportation system and convenience stores offering such a wide number of services, saying how this makes her life in Taiwan very comfortable. Poovendhan also encouraged her fellow students to use this chance to explore Taiwan as they start their new life here.
Mr. Rene Marcelo Barahona Sanchez from Honduras received a MOFA Taiwan Scholarship and during his first scholarship year, studied Mandarin at the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University. Speaking as a foreign student, Rene advised the newly arrived students to take advantage of their environment to learn Mandarin, saying that better language proficiency could help make life in Taiwan really pleasant, and they would be able to establish better relationships with friends and teachers through smooth communication and interaction. Sanchez also told them that he likes using his spare time to travel around Taiwan, and he encouraged everyone not to miss this opportunity to explore, get familiar with, and embrace Taiwan, along with its local cultures. He hopes that everyone will see the beauty of this island, and learn from their new experiences on their journey here, to both enrich themselves and also make the world a better place.
The See-Join Puppet Theater performed at the welcome party and showcased a traditional form of cultural entertainment, interacting and performing using English. This was very well-received, with rounds of applause. After the puppet performance, the students were treated to a Taiwan-style afternoon tea—which included bamboo-flavored rice cakes, fried rice noodles, braised dishes, zongzi, red bean cake, and brown sugar bubble tea. Everyone, including the diplomatic envoys and representatives, was able to interact and meet people as they savored these delicious Taiwanese specialties as the conclusion to a very happy occasion.
Source: The Taiwan Scholarship and Huayu Enrichment Scholarship Program Office