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Taiwan signs working holiday agreement with Slovakia

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan and Slovakia yesterday signed a reciprocal working holiday agreement that will allow 100 young adults from each country per year to visit and work in the other, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday.

Taiwanese representative to Slovakia David Lee (李南陽) and Slovakia's representative to Taiwan Michal Kovac inked the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. The program will officially take effect in June.

Slovakia is the sixth European country and the 11th in the world to have sealed such a pact with Taiwan, the MOFA statement said.

Taiwan already has working holiday agreements with five European countries — Germany, Ireland, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Hungary — as well as similar arrangements with Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Under the agreement with Slovakia, Taiwanese youth aged 18 to 35 will be eligible to participate in the one-year working holiday program, MOFA said.

The program allows Taiwanese youth to visit the European country for tourism, work or privately funded studies and is expected to broaden their international horizons through learning foreign languages and gaining an in-depth understanding of foreign cultures, societies and lifestyles, MOFA said.

The project is also expected to broaden and boost closer exchanges between the two countries and will foster a long-lasting friendship between the youths of both sides, it said.

The ministry reminds Taiwanese youth to make good use of the working holiday program and to follow local laws when visiting the country once the pact takes effect.

In case of emergency during their tours, the ministry said Taiwanese nationals can ask for assistance from Taiwan's representative offices in the capital.

The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over 5.5 million and an area of about 49,000 square kilometers. The largest city is the capital, Bratislava. Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, OECD and WTO among others. The official language is Slovak.

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