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Over 1,000 seek gov't scholarships to study in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- More than 1,000 applicants have applied for a government-funded scholarship to study in Taiwan this year, the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF, 國際合作發展基金會) said yesterday.

Speaking during a Foreign Ministry press conference, Morgan Chao (趙家寶), the fund's deputy secretary-general, said the ICDF has been offering a higher-education scholarship program to bring foreign talent from Taiwan's diplomatic allies to study in the nation.

The program was first launched in 1988 to train professionals in the agriculture industry. This was later expanded to include other research fields to diversify the overall scholarship program, he added.

It offers full scholarships to students from Taiwan's diplomatic allies to study undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. programs in 21 local higher-learning institutions, he said. The ICDF also offers NT$10,000-plus monthly subsidies to scholarship recipients to cover their living expenses.

The 21 universities and colleges that have partnered with the ICDF will offer guidance to these foreign students to make their lives in Taiwan easier, he said.

This year, more than 1,000 foreign students have filled out applications to the ICDF to compete for 182 vacancies.

Chao said the ICDF will announce the scholarship winners on its website by the end of June.

Mandarin-language Programs

 One of the unique features of this year's program is that the ICDF has offered three pilot programs; environmental biology and fisheries science, civil engineering and computer science and information engineering, all taught in Mandarin, for applicants to choose.

Scholarship winners will have to first take a one-year Chinese-language training course and pass a language certificate test before they can continue their education in their chosen fields.

“We are hoping that the Mandarin-taught program can help these foreign students better understand Taiwan's culture so that they can have a closer connection with the country,” Chao said.

According to Chao, the scholarships have always been highly popular among students of the nation's allied countries.

For instance, students in Taiwan's former ally The Gambia have been extremely active in applying for the program. The ICDF regularly receives more than 1,000 applicants from the African country each year, he said. They can no longer do so because both countries severed ties last November.

The ICDF is Taiwan's chief organization for deploying technical missions and offering humanitarian assistance overseas.

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