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Canadian 2021 Huayu Enrichment Scholarship Students Give Details of Their Taiwan Experiences

2021 Huayu Enrichment Scholarship reipient, Mylène Demers at Sun Moon Lake

The pandemic has made overseas travel extremely difficult, but despite a series of pandemic containment regulations and related entry restrictions, many scholarship students with a strong desire to study Mandarin in Taiwan have successfully travelled there to start a new stage in their language-learning journey. Mylène Demers and Megan McDonald are two of the 2021 Huayu Enrichment Scholarship recipients who received 9-month awards and arrived in Taiwan in December last year.

Mylène Demers has always been a lover of languages and she started studying Chinese independently in 2020. She fell in love with this language and wants one day to be able to translate it. Mylène believes that learning Chinese can be useful and extremely rewarding; even though this fascinating language is also hard to learn.

She chose to study at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages in Kaohsiung because Wenzao is the only university in Taiwan specializing in language studies. She found that her teachers at Wenzao were all very knowledgeable while having different teaching styles, something which she appreciated. In her free time there, she liked to travel outside the city and explore the magnificent mix of nature, culture, and amazing food that the whole of Taiwan has to offer. Mylène described being in Taiwan on the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship as being by far one of the most amazing experiences of her life and she highly recommends it to anyone interested in learning Chinese!

Megan McDonald had been to Taiwan and learned Chinese before she received her scholarship. She found herself extremely interested in this rich language and she wanted to return to Taiwan to improve her Chinese in a formal study setting. Receiving the scholarship made it possible to focus on studying and not worry about making ends meet or being distracted.

Megan chose to study at Soochow University because she thinks the textbook used there—A Course in Contemporary Chinese—is well-designed and aesthetically pleasing. She thought that living towards the edge of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, would give her easy access to all Taipei has to offer, including being able to go on hikes in her free time. She thinks that the full-time immersion experience she had in Taiwan will surely improve her career prospects, as she now has intermediate Mandarin language skills and also lived experience of Taiwan, something she could not have had if she was studying Chinese while living in Canada. Living in Taiwan and making friends with local people gives insight into the thinking of native speakers and greater understanding. Megan hopes that with these new abilities, she will be able to find a job that facilitates closer ties between Taiwan and Canada in the future.

The Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada hopes that their reports of their positive experiences will attract more outstanding Canadian students to apply for a Huayu Enrichment Scholarship.