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Study in Taiwan Promoted at Jean Monnet French School and UCLouvain

Language assistants Lee Ping-Chen and Wu Hsiao-Mei at Jean Monnet French School talking about Lunar New Year customs

The Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium launched a new call for applications for Ministry of Education Taiwan Scholarships and Huayu Enrichment Scholarships at the beginning of February, and it organized several events to encourage outstanding students in Belgium and Luxembourg to consider studying in Taiwan and experiencing what life there has to offer. 
On February 15, Education Division personnel and Lee Ping-Chen and Wu Hsiao-Mei, two Mandarin Chinese language assistants from Taiwan working in Belgium under the auspices of the Language Assistant Exchange Program—a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Wallonia-Brussels International—visited Lycée français Jean Monnet de Bruxelles, the Jean Monnet French School, a K-12 school located in Uccle, Brussels that offers the French government curriculum. Established in Brussels in 1907, the school was a pioneer in language learning and it continues to offer a wide choice of language learning courses tailored to students’ interests and ambitions. The purpose of their visit was to inform the students about opportunities to study in Taiwan. 
They were warmly welcomed by Cendrine Jupin-Petit, the school’s Chinese language teacher with more than a decade of teaching experience, who told them about her students’ exchanges with Taipei Private Dongshan High School. The Mandarin Chinese language assistants then told the students the story of the lunar new year monster called Nian (年獸) and explained traditional New Year customs such as giving red envelops, and families enjoying reunion dinners. They also taught the students how to cut paper to create the character chun (春) which means Spring but also designates the lunar new year.  
After this interactive session, the Education Division gave a presentation about opportunities to study in Taiwan accompanied by vibrant photos of travel and daily life in Taiwan. They began by giving details of the Taiwan Scholarships, Huayu Enrichment Scholarships, the Taiwan Education Experience Program (TEEP), the 4-week Summer Intensive Mandarin Program at National Sun Yat-sen University, the Language Assistants Exchange program, TOCFL - the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language, and various free Mandarin Chinese learning resources. This was followed by short films showcasing the experiences of foreign students in Taiwan. These captured the students’ interest and led on to a discussion about their motivations for learning Mandarin Chinese. The Education Division  hopes that their visit planted the seeds for these students’ going to Taiwan to study in future.
On February 23, the Education Division held an information session about studying in Taiwan at UCLouvain, the largest French-speaking university in Belgium. The university, founded in 1425, has a strong tradition of international engagement, facilitating student exchanges, hosting international scholars, and fostering partnerships with other universities. UCLouvain collaborates with various institutions in Taiwan. Each year, for example, the Faculty of Philosophy, Arts and Letters at UCLouvain and the Department of History at National Chengchi University invite members of each other’s academic staff to visit to teach and do research as a Visiting Fellows in conjunction with the Ministry of Education's Taiwan Studies Project.
Several students at UCLouvain have already made plans to study in Taiwan and they asked for details about related matters, including eligibility criteria for various scholarships, TEEP, the Summer Intensive Mandarin Program at National Sun Yat-sen University, and the Language Assistant Exchange program. Some students expressed concerns about the limited number of scholarships available, so the Education Division gave the students practical information about living costs in Taiwan. They also provided the students with informative, multilingual flyers and brochures about Taiwan; stressed the advantages of taking the TOCFL language proficiency tests; and strongly recommended several popular tourist destinations. The students appreciated the “study in Taiwan” information session and the Education Division will be holding more at other universities next month.