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Mandarin Chinese Teacher from Taiwan at the University of Innsbruck

Dr. Jen-Hsian Christine Han 韓仁先

The University of Innsbruck, located in Tyrol, began offering a new elective package on China/Taiwan/East Asia in October, 2023. The Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Austria and the Faculty of Language, Literature and Culture  at the University of Innsbruck worked together to develop this elective package and it is finally being implemented after more than three years of discussions and planning, even during the pandemic.

The China-Taiwan-East Asia courses are offered by the Comparative Literature Department, but they are open to all BA and MA students. Two teachers have been newly appointed to teach courses for this program: Prof. Dr. Frank Kraushaar, a professor in Sinology who previously taught at Riga University in Latvia, and Dr. Jen-Hsian Christine Han 韓仁先. Dr. Han is the first Ministry of Education-sponsored language teacher from Taiwan to teach the Chinese language course at the University of Innsbruck where she also conducts seminars on society and politics.

More than thirty students enrolled in the language course in the winter semester, and Dr. Han taught two class groups of beginner Mandarin. Each had four language classes a week: two listening and speaking classes, and two reading and writing classes. The students included both undergraduate and master's degree students, from various disciplines. A small number had some prior experience learning Mandarin Chinese.

In the summer semester, she will teach an advanced Mandarin class, literature reading, and a course on the political and social situation in Taiwan.

Dr. Han and Professor Kraushaar also organized a well-received tea ceremony for their colleagues in their office in mid-December, just before Christmas break when the winter semester courses come to an end. Dr. Han conducted the tea ceremony using her own Taiwanese tea set, after which Dr. Han recited a number of poems written in the Tang dynasty in Chinese, and Professor Kraushaar recited each in German and provided additional information.

Before starting her new position, Dr. Han had never been to Innsbruck or heard of Innsbruck University and she was initially nervous about the classes  being taught in German and Chinese, but this gradually transformed into pleasure, seeing the progress made by her students. Dr. Han is very grateful for this opportunity to teach at the University of Innsbruck, such a beautiful place, and for the support provided by the Ministry of Education.