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40 Students from Austrian universities take a Summer Intensive Mandarin Program in Kaohsiung with MOE & BMBWF support

Some of the Austrian participants in this year’s Summer Intensive Mandarin Program at National Sun Yat-sen University

This year, the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria once again worked with National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung to organize an intensive Mandarin Chinese program at the university during the summer. This program is met with great interest in Austria every year and there are always more applicants than places available.
This year the program offered a range of  4-week courses suitable for four different proficiency levels - so even complete beginners with an interest in Mandarin Chinese and Taiwan could participate and take a suitable Mandarin Chinese course in Taiwan from July 3 to 28, or July 31 to August 28. 
The program attracts many applicants because of both the beauty of Taiwan, and because of the financial support provided by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education (MOE) and by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF). The students receive a weekly grant from the MOE to help pay for their course, and after the students return to Austria the BMBWF contributes a travel grant to support the travel costs that the students incurred. 
This year, 40 places were made available for 20 participants in July and another 20 in August. The interested students come from completely different types of tertiary institutions—including technical universities, universities of applied sciences, and business universities—but they all share an interest in Taiwan, and Taiwan’s culture, people, and language. For some, this was their first visit to Asia, which made it all the more exciting and memorable.
During their four-week program, the participants have language classes every weekday morning from 9:00 to 12:00, and students are introduced to traditional crafts such as seal cutting and sugar painting in culture classes.  Excursions and cultural courses are offered in the afternoons and on weekends, for example to explore Kaohsiung, Qijin Island, or the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. 
Thus, during a short but intensive stay, the July group and the August group of students from Austria taking the Summer Intensive Mandarin Program get to improve their Mandarin Chinese skills, and know Taiwan's culture, history and language better, even students who didn’t have much prior knowledge of Taiwan. Austrian students have always enjoyed the program at National Sun Yat-sen University: they often fall in love with Taiwan and its people during their stay and many are motivated to apply for a MOE scholarship to return to Taiwan to do further studies.
The Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria is glad that our cooperation with the BMBWF will be continued in coming years. This will facilitate more intensive exchanges between Austria and Taiwan in the field of education and research fields and enable more Austria students to study in and experience Taiwan. And who knows, this year’s program may stimulate some of the forty participants to spend a longer time in Taiwan in the future.