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MOE Huayu Enrichment Scholarships Offer a Study-Abroad Experience Embracing the Unknown

Ms. Gabrielle Shorr beside statues in a religious procession on a street

Ms. Gabrielle Shorr went to Taiwan to study Mandarin in 2019 after being awarded a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES). Gabrielle wanted to gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture by studying Mandarin, specifically traditional characters, in a Chinese language environment. Her experience living and studying in Taiwan was very positive, so much so that after her scholarship ended, she decided to stay in Taiwan and continue studying Mandarin.

Gabrielle considers that the HES program offers foreign students significant incentives to go to Taiwan to study Mandarin, regardless of whether their motivation is personal, intellectual, or professional. Being in a Chinese language environment using Mandarin every day is an excellent way to learn and improve Mandarin. So, despite inevitable difficulties related to the language barrier or cultural misunderstanding, Gabrielle thinks it definitely makes for a more rewarding experience: you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor by speaking with locals and engaging in basic aspects of your daily life.

The HES program also offers students a unique opportunity to learn about Taiwan's identity and history. Depending on where you’re staying in Taiwan, you’re likely to hear Taiwanese, Hakka, and even indigenous languages spoken as often as Mandarin. Taiwan also has a distinct, polytheistic religious culture, and it’s common to see and hear public religious activities on an almost daily basis.

According to Gabrielle, public transportation in Taiwan is extremely convenient and easy to navigate. The environment is clean and safe, the food is delicious and affordable, and people are genuinely friendly towards foreigners and curious about them. Taiwan is a democracy, and has an excellent nationalized healthcare system. It’s also stunningly beautiful, with beautiful landscapes.

Anyone aged at least 18 is welcome to apply for a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. Gabrielle recommends the scholarships as a generous opportunity to study abroad and improve their language skills, and as a gateway for foreigners to pursue longer-term plans to live, study, and working in Taiwan.