Taiwan & Huayu Enrichment Scholarship Alumni
The excellent quality of higher education in Taiwan attracts many foreign students to study there. In 2020 these included 678 students from Australia, of whom 209 went there to undertake Mandarin Chinese language studies. After returning to Australia many such students go on to work as professionals in various fields. The Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia (TECO) thought that it was important for Australian students who’ve received scholarships and studied in Taiwan to have a network to allow them to share their study-in-Taiwan experiences with each other and also with other Australian students who are planning to study in Taiwan.
This led to the Education Division organizing the Taiwan Alumni Network and this was launched with a social gathering in May in Canberra – where everyone spoke in Mandarin. Two former New Colombo Plan scholars also joined the gathering. They had both studied at National Taiwan University for a year followed by suitable internships. The New Colombo Plan is an Australian Government initiative to enhance Australian’s knowledge of the Indo-Pacific and Australian students study in Taiwan under its scholarship and mobility programs every year.
The Taiwan Alumni Network will have a volunteer chair each month and that person will be invited to talk about their study in Taiwan experience with young language learners at schools that have Chinese immersion programs. This will make a valuable practical contribution to giving more Australian students first-hand knowledge and information about studying in Taiwan.
The alumni network is already planning to set up a Taiwan Alumni Network in Canberra group and hold monthly social activities discussing a topic. The Taiwanese Students Association at the National Australian University will assist the volunteer chair to set a topic each month and find a suitable venue. A group is being set up on Line to stay in touch.
Jill Lai, Executive Director of the Education Division at TECO, encouraged the newly formed Taiwan Alumni Network to continue practicing their Mandarin Chinese and to invite more people to join the network and attend its activities. Its next gathering will be in June.