THERE ARE THREE main scholarships for travel and study in Taiwan:
- Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES)
- Advanced Mandarin Studies Scholarship (AMS)
- Taiwan Scholarship
All three are available to everyone from beginner-intermediate students of Chinese language to PhD candidates in Chinese literature. I’ve received two out of these three scholarships in the past, and I used to work in the office in Washington, DC that distributes them. They’re an excellent way to get to see a new part of the world and immerse yourself in the Chinese language and culture of Taiwan.
Name of scholarship, and $$ per month provided Name HES AMS Taiwan Scholarship Amount / month (TWD) 25,000 25,000 30,000 Amount / month (USD) ~$853 ~$853 ~$1,023
Who’s the money coming from?
The office that distributes these three scholarships is called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, or TECRO for short. TECRO is like the Embassy of Taiwan, though it can’t officially refer to itself as an embassy for political reasons. TECRO wants to encourage interest in Taiwan amongst a young generation — hence your chance to get paid to study Chinese in Taiwan.
1. Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES)
Award amount: 25,000 TWD / month, or ~USD $850 / month
The HES is a scholarship available to anyone, regardless of their background with the Mandarin language. Someone who has been studying for 8 years is just as eligible to apply for the HES as someone who has never studied Mandarin for a single day. Usually the scholarship is given for a 3-month period over the summer — end of May through August — though TECRO shortened the duration of the award to two months in 2012.
- Apply for the HES here.
2. Advanced Mandarin Studies Scholarship (AMS)
Award amount: 25,000 TWD / month, or ~USD $850 / month
The AMS is almost the same deal as the HES, except that you need to have studied Mandarin at the college level for 6 semesters (3 years) or more in order to be eligible to apply.
Whereas the HES is for 2-3 months’ study over the summer, the AMS is awarded for a period of 3, 6, 9, or 12 months. TECRO looks for serious Mandarin students / scholars with a genuine interest in Taiwan and the Taiwanese culture, and prefers to award the AMS to candidates that will study in Taiwan for a full year.
- Apply for the AMS here.
3. Taiwan Scholarship
Award amount: 30,000 TWD / month, or ~USD $1023 / month
The Taiwan Scholarship is TECRO’s most sought-after scholarship. It’s offered to students seeking an academic degree in Taiwan, like a full undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degree. TECRO tends to award the Taiwan Scholarship to people that are serious and accomplished scholars — those who have potential to make a big impact in the academic world.
If you want a Taiwan Scholarship, you should make your application super professional and clean. TECRO only awards two Taiwan Scholarships every year, so attention to all of the little details really counts.
- Apply for the Taiwan Scholarship here.
General eligibility requirements for all TECRO scholarships
- Does not hold the Republic of China (Taiwan) nationality and is not an overseas Chinese student
- Must have an official letter of acceptance from the university you will study at in Taiwan to submit along with your application
Pretty self-explanatory — you can be from any country except for China, and you need a letter of acceptance from your target school. These letters are easily attained, and all you have to do is submit an application to one of the universities in Taiwan. National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Normal University, and National Cheng Chi University are the most popular.
General tips for a successful application
- Submit all of your application materials together in one complete package. This might seem like common sense, but your application can get lost more easily if you submit different parts of it at different times.
- Make your application neat and professional — don’t submit it with dog-eared pages and coffee stains.
- Stress in your essays that you are curious and eager to learn about the culture of Taiwan. The political situation here is a little sensitive, and it helps to show you’re curious to learn about the country from the inside.
- Submit your application as early as possible. Do not wait until the last week to mail your application, and definitely don’t let it arrive on the last day.
- Make sure you aren’t missing any documents, letters of recommendation, transcripts, or other required materials.
- Follow up with a friendly email or phone call to thank the officers at TECRO for the time they put into the scholarships, into giving you the opportunity to study in their country. They are busy with other things at work, and in their personal lives, and this is a great personal touch to help ensure they remember your name.
- Be friendly and prompt in any correspondence with TECRO officers.
- January – TECRO begins to publicize scholarships for the year.
- March 31 – Application deadline (getting your application in sometime in February will give you an edge).
- Early May – TECRO notifies all applicants of decisions.
- Late May – Students completing a summer term in Taiwan arrive right after the US academic school year ends to register for classes.
After you have been accepted, how do you get your money, when do you get your money, and how can you use it?
After you’ve been accepted, you will receive your scholarship money in monthly installments on the 15th of every month through the university at which you are studying. Depending on the school you’re at and the length of your scholarship, you’ll either receive the money as a wad of cash in an envelope (about the sketchiest way possible), or into an account you’ll open at the post office.
Once you get the scholarship, you can use it for whatever purposes you want. The requirements are that you study for 15 hours a week for the duration of your scholarship, but you can use the cash however you want — rent, food, tea, reimbursing yourself for airfare, or for a series of heinous debaucheries.