NTU and the University of St Andrews Sign Collaborative Mandarin Teaching & Student Exchange Agreements
Dr. Chou Chiapei, the Executive Vice-President of National Taiwan University (NTU), and Professor Lorna Milne, the Master of the United College and Deputy Principal of the University of St Andrews, each signed two agreements on behalf of their respective universities on October 5, 2022. One was an agreement to become university-level sister schools and conduct student exchanges. The other was a Taiwan Huayu BEST Program cooperation agreement.
The signings were attended by Professor Gregory Lee, Founding Professor of Chinese Studies; Dr. Yvonne Chi, an associate lecturer; Professor Nicki Hitchcott, Head of the School of Modern Languages; and Dr Christian Harding, Acting Director of the Global Office from the University of St Andrews, and by Mr. Chang Chia-Cheng the Director of the Taipei Representative Office in Edinburgh; Ms. Mindy Chang, the Assistant Director there. Mr Andy Cheu-An Bi, Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, and Mr. Marc Kai Tsou, the Assistant Director of the Education Division also participated the signing ceremony.
In addition, the officials presented also discussed the feasibility of joint degrees and teacher exchanges between the two universities.
The University of St Andrews – A World-Class University
Founded in 1410, the University of St Andrews is one of the UK’s seven ancient universities. It is the oldest university in Scotland, and the third oldest in the UK and in the English-speaking world. This prestigious university was ranked the leading university in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2023 rankings, ahead of both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.
The Taiwan Huayu BEST Program
The Taiwan Huayu BEST—Bilingual Exchanges of Selected Talent— Program is an umbrella program launched by the Ministry of Education to promote the establishment of collaborative language education partnerships between outstanding universities in Taiwan and overseas in the UK, Europe and the US, to help meet the global demand to learn Mandarin Chinese. The universities in Taiwan will send Mandarin Chinese language teachers & teaching assistants to the overseas partner universities and will provide access to language teaching and learning resources. The program also provides Taiwan Huayu BEST Scholarships for students at the overseas partner universities to learn Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan. Scholarship recipients will assist English learning activities in secondary and elementary schools in Taiwan.
The Ministry of Education currently provides support for eighteen universities in Taiwan and 48 overseas institutions of higher education to implement a Taiwan Huayu BEST Program. Five of these 48 overseas partner institutions are in the UK: the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, Nottingham Trent University, SOAS at the University of London, and now the University of St Andrews. In addition to the Taiwan Huayu BEST Program, each year the Ministry of Education allocates Huayu Enrichment Scholarships—to study Mandarin Chinese—and Taiwan Scholarships—to undertake a degree—for UK students to study in Taiwan, and last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up the Taiwan–Europe Connectivity Scholarship Programme, for students from the UK and Europe to come to Taiwan to study Mandarin Chinese and engage in exchanges with Taiwanese students.
Following a luncheon reception with students from Scotland who had studied Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan, Andy Cheu-An Bi, Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, commented on their fluent, authentic-sounding Mandarin Chinese, saying that they had an impressive ability to express themselves. The students described studying in Taiwan as a valuable experience, in a free and diverse environment and they all expressed their gratitude to Taiwan’s government for providing their scholarships.
The Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK looks forward to assisting more institutions of higher education in the UK to establish Taiwan Huayu BEST Program and other collaborative agreements with institutions of higher education in Taiwan.