Taiwan Welcomes More Talented Huayu Enrichment Scholarship Winners from Canada
Taiwan’s borders have been closed since 2020 because of the impact of the pandemic, but after a long waiting time, the borders opened to scholarship students in April this year. Marc-Olivier Doyon, one of the students from Eastern Canada to win a 2020 Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, was the last student to be allowed entry to Taiwan before the borders closed again, in May this year.
Marc-Olivier said “Traveling during the Covid pandemic was no easy feat” and he expressed his thanks to TECO Canada for making sure his visa was processed in a timely manner. He also appreciated how extremely helpful the Mandarin Learning Center staff in Taiwan were, preparing him for his arrival. The Covid-19 outbreak in Taiwan in May this year led to all courses having to switch to remote learning mode, but Marc’s teacher made the classes fun and engaging, even though he attended his whole course online. Overall, Marc’s learning experience in Taiwan was great.
The Education Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada received twice as many Huayu Enrichment Scholarship applications for the 2021 academic year, as they received in the previous year. This year the Education Division sought applicants who would be willing to also assist Taiwanese students who are learning English, to help Taiwan achieve its 2030 Bilingual Nation goal. Thankfully, many indicated that they’d be happy to do so, including Brittany Gaetan and Stephanie Tessier.
Brittany Gaetan is a certified teacher from Canada who has taught Visual Arts & English in Malaysia. After travelling in Taiwan, she was inspired to learn herself Mandarin Chinese. She’s currently completing her Master of Education with a concentration on Societies, Cultures, and Languages, and she’ll be studying this alongside Mandarin, with the aim of incorporating her language acquisition experience into her research and teaching career.
Stephanie Tessier is currently completing a master’s degree in Foreign Language Teaching.
She started learning Mandarin at the beginning of the pandemic, as a hobby and a personal challenge. The scholarship gave her a concrete goal to work towards and the motivation she needed to pursue her learning. She believes that the experience of studying in Taiwan will help her understand more about Taiwanese culture and significantly improve her Mandarin.
With the pandemic easing in Taiwan, eligible foreign students have been allowed to apply for a Special Entry Visa for Student since the end of August this year. These 2021 scholarship recipients are eager to arrive in Taiwan and begin a new stage of their Mandarin learning journey.