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Twins Begin 2nd Year of their Taiwan Scholarship Program in Taiwan

Twin sisters NoƩmie and Cindy at 2023 National Intercollegiate Athletic Games

Twin sisters Noémie and Cindy are about to start their second year at National Taichung University of Education. In 2022 they were each awarded a Taiwan Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Physical Education at this university in Taiwan. They applied for Taiwan Scholarships after learning about them in the Study in Taiwan information provided by the Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium. 
Noémie and Cindy’s story is quite unique. Never before have twin sisters both been awarded a Taiwan Scholarship, nor have any former awardees decided to undertake a degree in physical education. The sisters had already finished a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpretation at the University of Saint Louis in Brussels, majoring in Chinese language. Being adventurous by nature and with a great desire to further improve their Mandarin language skills, it was an easy decision to pursue a master’s degree abroad in a place where they would be immersed in a native Mandarin-speaking environment while getting a quality postgraduate course. 
So, why did they choose Taiwan as their study destination? They had several reasons. Firstly, they had  heard numerous stories about Taiwan from their classmates who went on exchange there. All of them came back and shared details of a positive and unforgettable experience. This enticed them to discover this island with its always warm climate and fascinating culture for  themselves. Secondly, the possibility of getting a Taiwan Scholarship. These scholarships cover degree program tuition fees and offer a monthly stipend which is very important to lighten the financial burden. Thirdly, they weren’t planning on simply continuing to learn Mandarin: they wanted to study Physical Education. Both sisters have been active in track and field since the age of eight, and the possibility of combining their love for the Mandarin language and for sports was an ultimate goal. 
Getting accepted to at National Taichung University of Education was therefore a dream come true for them.  After participating in the online orientation meeting for scholarship recipients, hosted by Chen Yuwen, Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, they set off for Taiwan, even more excited about beginning their studies there. 
After one year of their degree program, they’re more than convinced that they made the right choice. The very beginning was challenging but their time in Taichung City has seemingly flown by. They arrived in Taiwan just before the end of the pandemic restriction period, and having to undergo quarantine and then get settled in a completely foreign environment and education system was a bit overwhelming. And the master’s program at National Taichung University of Education is completely in Mandarin. This was exactly what they had hoped for but it proved difficult at first. They were also the only two foreigners in their program and it took their shy class mates a bit of time to warm up to them. It probably didn’t help that they were twins which some people found confusing. But with the help of their teachers and classmates,  by the end of the first semester, they managed to settle in and overcome any hurdles and now they are proud to have successfully completed their first year.  
Both girls highly recommend Taiwan as a place to study and to live. Cindy finds the country beautiful and very safe with lots to discover, and studying in Taiwan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Noémi enjoys spending time with her classmates, with whom they now have several sports and other social activities. They look forward to meeting up with their classmates again and starting their second year at university after a well-deserved break.