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Facebook Connects Australian 2014 HES Scholarship Recipients in Taiwan

The Ministry of Education Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) is a signature initiative of Taiwan government designed to increase knowledge of Taiwanese culture and society by supporting international students and graduates to undertake learning Mandarin in Taiwan. The Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia announced that this year 27 people in Australia would be offered a Huayu Enrichment Scholarships. The recipients are provided scholarships to undertake language study in Taiwan for a period of 3, 6, or 9 months.

Most Australian students depart for Taiwan at the beginning of December, after the Australian academic year finishes, but Joshua Morgan began his learning journey earlier, in September. He had already completed a postgraduate qualification in International Relationships in 2012, and he applied for a HES scholarship to develop his Mandarin language proficiency further. He works for the Australian government and hopes to be able to improve his Mandarin language skills to liaise with the increasing number of Chinese-speaking people in work settings.

Joshua volunteered to organize a social media group for enhancing connections between Australian HES recipients in Taiwan. His idea was to have a “2014 HES Australia Facebook group [that] provides a space for Australian HES recipients in Taiwan to share articles of interest, details of upcoming events or general tips for living in Taiwan. It also offers a potential in-country support network for those looking to connect with others in the same boat, or for those who simply have an urge to hear an Australian accent from time to time.”

This Facebook group is effectively harnessing social media to assist students understand and integrate into their host culture. It can also be used to connect Australians who want to go to Taiwan to improve their language proficiency with people who are already there. They are sure to have a positive experience. When asked about its key attractions as a study destination, Australians who’ve studied in Taiwan say that it’s a safe and stable democracy, with friendly welcoming people!