Hello I am a college student and I want to study Chinese in Taiwan. I have been doing a lot of research and I would like to ask a few questions? I am thinking of studying outside of Taipei probably in the south. I want to study in the south because of the weather and the cost of living is much cheaper. I know Taiwanese is spoken more in the south. Will it be harder to learn Chinese in a city like Taichung, Tainan, or Kaohsiung? Also I know a lot of people come here on tourist visas and then find a job and switch it to an ARC. Can I do the same thing with Schools, or would it be better to apply for a school first and do it that way. I would really like to come over first and look at schools and find the right place for me, can I do this without going home? Also I know the Taiwanese government gives out scholarships to study Chinese. Would I be able to apply if I am already in the country? I would appreciate any advice.
Yes studying in a city other than Taipei will have lower cost of living and arguably offer a better environment to learn chinese as there are less english speakers. There is no such thing as a tourist visa, you can either have a visitor visa or visa-exempt entry (no visa can stay 30-90 days with no extension). Depending what country you are from you will have different rules. Usually in order to get a visitor visa (which is extendable and can be changed to ARC) you need to enrol first in a language school. If you want to come to Taiwan first, then you can enter with visa-exempt, travel around a bit and then decide to enrol somewhere. After this you probably need to travel to Hong Kong to apply for a visitor visa and then come back to taiwan. For studying chinese the first 4 months you will use a visitor visa but if you study for longer than 4 months you must change to an ARC which gives you insurance I believe.
I’m not too sure about the scholarships but I know a lot of people apply for the huayu enrichment scholarship (HES), but I think you need to apply in your home country for this, just google. Other big language centers often offer scholarships too, although normally the first semester you must pay yourself and if you study longer than 3-4 months and your grades are good you can receive some scholarship from the school. Hope this helps.