I’ve heard that some people are getting free post secondary educations in Taiwan. Is this true? If so, are the classes taught in English or Mandarin? And how can I apply?
It is true that many foreigners are studying at Universities for free in Taiwan right now. Free education for foreign students is widely available in Taiwan right now because Taiwanese universities are trying to improve their international images, and thus want more international students. So, to attract more international students both the federal government, and individual universities, are offering scholarships, and they are not very hard to get.
There are three main kinds of scholarships:
The federal government offers three types of scholarships for normal post-secondary studies. They pay a monthly stipend sufficient to allow a student to live comfortably in Taiwan. They include:
MOFA Scholarship: For undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. Only open to students from countries that have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan (I think this means that they recognize Taiwan as a country). Includes one initial year of Mandarin study if the degree being pursued is taught in Mandarin.
MOE Scholarship: This is the same as the MOFA scholarship, except for students from countries that do not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
NSC Scholarship: This is the same as the MOE scholarship, except that it’s limited only to postgraduate studies.
Most universities in Taiwan offer scholarships to international students. These scholarships usually basically amount to free tuition. This varies from university to university.
The federal government offers a scholarship called the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. It offers a monthly stipend sufficient to allow a student to live comfortably in Taiwan while they study Mandarin at a University.
Which Scholarship is for Me?
Of the above scholarships, the university scholarships are the easiest to get. I’ve never actually heard of anyone being turned down for one. The federal scholarships are more competitive because they are worth more money. The Huayu Enrichment Scholarship is probably the most competitive because it’s the only one that allows a student to focus only on studying Mandarin for an extended period.
What Classes Can I Take?
Some classes are offered in English and some in Mandarin. Often there is a mixture of the two because, although the teachers and students are mostly Mandarin speakers, the best textbooks and journal articles are all written in English. English assignments are almost always accepted, even in classis taught in Mandarin. Because of these two factors, it is often possible for English speakers to take courses that are taught all in Mandarin.
Many schools offer an International MBA program that is taught only in English. These programs are popular among foreign students. English literature courses are also usually taught in English. Beyond this, though, you will have to check with individual departments for language requirements.
How Do I Apply?
For more information about how to apply for these scholarships, check out these articles that I wrote for TransitionsAbroad.com about getting a free education in Taiwan. Although they’re a couple of years old, the information still appears to be fairly accurate:
Get Your B.A., M.A. or Ph.D. for (almost) Free in Taiwan
Study Mandarin for (almost) Free in Taiwan
I hope this helps.