MOE Huayu Enrichment Scholarship

Hi everyone! New poster here, I searched for this topic but sorry in advance if it’s been addressed before.

I’m planning a gap year and was recently awarded the 3-month MOE Huayu Enrichment Scholarship from TECO’s NYC office. I have conflicting info about the scholarship (from the MOE’s general website vs. from the TECO NY website) and was hoping someone here could help. Specifically, I need to know what the scholarship includes; is it the stipend AND flight, tuition, room, board (edutwny.org says this) or just US 735 stipend (MOE Taiwan’s website…english.moe.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem= … 10634&mp=1).
I asked people in the NY office but haven’t really gotten a reply, so if anyone’s gotten this scholarship in the past, I’d really appreciate learning about how this works. (Incidentally, I ended up only applying for the Huayu scholarship/ schools in Taiwan b/c the CSC scholarship app was ridiculously long…kind of regretting that now).
Worst case scenario, the scholarship is composed entirely of the stipend; e.g. I’m given 2200 USD to live on for three months in Taiwan. How much more will I need? I have a decent amt. of savings from working part-time while in school, but I would rather use it to extend my stay.
I’ve lived in HK and I know expat life can be as expensive as you want it to be. I’d prefer to live modestly… I’m thinking 1300 more or less for flights (to/from NYC), 300/month housing, maybe 150 or so for food +visas and other things I haven’t even thought of…

Anyways I’m planning on studying either at NSYSU in Kaohsiung or NCKU in Tainan, any thoughts on one or the other? I studied four semesters at college (traditional, pinyin) and am wary of learning bopomofo- I’ve heard the former uses bopomofo, can anyone confirm? I’m interested in surfing/hiking, and the sense I’ve gotten from this forum is that NSYSU would be better for this (but Tainan is supposed to be good for hiking, not so much for surfing). Applied at both schools, got in at both (plus NTNU, but I think Taipei/ that program isn’t what I’m looking for right now), so the recommendations I get on this board will probably be the main factor in my decision…

Thanks in advance for your help!

Huayu? I thought that was a Singapore/Malaysia term for Mandarin…

According to these regulations, the scholarship is a monthly stipend of NT$25,000. In the past, most scholarships for language study have been monthly stipends. You will need to cover your tuition and flights from that or with your savings.

Taiwan is much cheaper than Hong Kong although of course not as cheap as China. Tainan and kaohsiung are both inexpensive place to live by Taiwan standards. You should be live on your budget of US$450 per month. A room should be about UST$170 (NT$5000) and you can easily live on NT$200 per day in Taiwan (c. US$200). I’m describing a very modest lifestyle here though.

Kaohsiung and Tainan should both be good places to study. I had a friend years ago who lived and studied in Tainan. He loved it. I don’t thik there is any hiking in Tainan City per se–it’s pretty flat. However, it seems there is some surfing in Tainan. See taiwanfun.com/south/chianan/ … lyfish.htm

Kaohsiung’s rep as a surf place may be based on its closer proximity to Kenting, which 90km south and Taiwan’s southern surfing mecca. You probably won’t be able to afford many trips to Kenting on your budget though. Kaohsiung does have some popular hills for hiking though such as Chaishan and Shoushsan (kaohsiungwalking.kcg.gov.tw/Engl … 18224401,1)

Both Tainan and Kaohsiung have good access to the real mountains. You could start with places like Maolin or the souther cross highway.

Even in Taiwan a lot of people, esp. Hoklo speakers, don’t like to use Guoyu for Mandarin, preferring Huayu.

I think it’s well on its way to becoming the politically correct term for Mandarin. For example, on this list of language centers at universities, several of the centers use the term huayu in their name rather than guoyu. For one thing, huayu sounds much more neutral. A second reason is that I believe a few years ago guoyu was pluralized to mean ‘national languages.’ And the term is entering popular usage much the same way that yuanzhumin eventually supplanted shandiren.

Hi maxfischer, and welcome to Forumosa! :slight_smile:

Feiren’s figures look reasonable, but do understand that those are based on living quite modestly, and you might want to budget a bit more for the room if you want something less grotty or if you don’t want to spend as much time hunting for a bargain place. You might also want to have a look at this threadto check out options for where to stay immediately upon arrival.

Thanks for the quick replies! If the scholarship is just the stipend, I’m considering doing later semesters in Beijing or another Northern mainland city (accent/ similar cost/ change of scenery).
The wording on the TW MOE NY website is really confusing, here’s the section of the Scholarship’s “Value”:

II. Value
A stipend of NT$25,000 (approximately US$750) is to be offered to a recipient by month.
Airfare, tuition, accommodation, insurance and miscellaneous fees are all included in the scholarships herein stated.

I think I’ve found theChinese original.

[quote]三、 待遇:
提供每名每月新臺幣2萬5,000元,入學後由大學附設國語文教學機構依受獎生出缺席情況及成績核給獎學金。學雜費、食宿費、保險費及雜費等,均自本獎學金中自行勻支,不另提供。[/quote]

It says that you need to pay your tuition and fees, room and board, insurance, and other fees out of the stipend. These fees are not otherwise provided.

I’d strongly encourage you to accept and come. Taiwan is a great place to study Chinese and you’ll be exposed to a very different kind of Chinese society, especially down south.

Submitted my app well in advance, only to realize last week (2 days after the deadline) I left out 2 forms & probably screwed myself out of the running … dammit!! :fume: Out of curiosity, did you get a letter? Email? I haven’t heard anything & want to know for certain before I start Plan B (which doesn’t yet exist…).

I think the $25K NT issue has been addressed already - that’s all there is. Doable, but tough to get by on in Taipei if you want more than noodles to eat & a really tiny, crappy, shared apartment.

As for Kaohsiung, I’ve only been on 2 short visits, but it had an interesting feel to it. I looked at NSYSU’s website while visiting the city 2 weeks ago & only saw several science programs listed for foreign students - didn’t see a Mandarin center, but I guess there is one. Didn’t quite make it to campus, but it has its own beach!

The waterfront harbor/ cleaned-up(?) Love River area was pretty decent, but the rest of the city is kinda ratty w/essentially no room for pedestrians. Lots of decent food & close proximity to nicer places down south, but sucks if you’re walking! Warehouse area along the water has potential. Lots of construction (be careful not to get spray-painted if you accidentally wander down the auto-repair street a block or so back from the harbor).

Easy transit via bus, slow train, MRT, High-Speed Rail, or cheapskate cabbies all around! Overall even the touristy waterfront area was cheaper than Taipei. (Good imported German or Belgian beer was $80NT cheaper in several bars).

Haven’t made it to Tainan, but I imagine it’s not as easy to get to, around or away from.

I will say that the level of Taiwanese vs. Mandarin was MUCH higher in Kaohsiung - maybe not the best environment for learning Mandarin. There were also considerably fewer foreigners though, so maybe a better overall immersion environment than Taipei (just for a different language/dialect). They also tended to stare & comment a lot more about the pale blonde girl & accompanying apparently Hollywood handsome white boy :unamused: Aside from that the people seemed pretty nice, but I didn’t find them to be as friendly as they are in Taipei.

BoPoMoFo is pretty simple to pick up, but if you’ve already had 2 years of college-level Mandarin you probably won’t need to bother with it. It’s possible to learn in a day or 2 & easy to remember if you actually use it.

Anyway, congrats & good luck!

To the OP:

Living in Beijing will be a lot more expensive than Tainan or Kaohsiung… and a lot harder on your health. The access to people and opportunities matching your interests are also a lot more.

I mean, you can request to live in the dorms -really cheap. Outside of campus, a suite can be found for 4000nts a month -I’ve heard of whole apartments for that price. The biking, the beaches, it’s all there. I come from a country famous for its beaches and I have been dissapointed by many other places also “renowed” for them, but I can tell you some pristine parks in Tainan along the coastline are truly breathtaking.

Tuition is paid once for 3 months, so, basically, you would stilll have more than half your monthly stipend to cover personal expenses -which, again, won’t be that much.

You alrerady have the scholarship. That was the difficult part.

[quote=“sjhuz01”]

I will say that the level of Taiwanese vs. Mandarin was MUCH higher in Kaohsiung - maybe not the best environment for learning Mandarin. There were also considerably fewer foreigners though, so maybe a better overall immersion environment than Taipei (just for a different language/dialect). They also tended to stare & comment a lot more about the pale blonde girl & accompanying apparently Hollywood handsome white boy :unamused: Aside from that the people seemed pretty nice, but I didn’t find them to be as friendly as they are in Taipei.

BoPoMoFo is pretty simple to pick up, but if you’ve already had 2 years of college-level Mandarin you probably won’t need to bother with it. It’s possible to learn in a day or 2 & easy to remember if you actually use it.

Anyway, congrats & good luck![/quote]

Young people will speak Mandarin. Learning Mandarin here won’t be any harder here than learning English in California (given that Spanish is probably spoken more widely there than Taiwanese is even in Kaohsiung).

Most people in Taiwan think that people down in Kaohisung and Tainan are friendly and warm to a fault. Indeed, you will probably find the friendliness and warmth down there a bit overwhelming at times. People are far more laid back down south than they are up here in Taipei.

[quote=“Feiren”] Young people will speak Mandarin. Learning Mandarin here won’t be any harder here than learning English in California (given that Spanish is probably spoken more widely there than Taiwanese is even in Kaohsiung).[/quote] Not quite on the CA bit, but after coming back to Taipei I was just surprised by what seemed to be an obvious increase in people of all ages speaking Mandarin instead.

[quote=“Feiren”]Most people in Taiwan think that people down in Kaohisung and Tainan are friendly and warm to a fault. [/quote] Just an opinion after a few short trips - there certainly were some very friendly & helpful people down south (like the off-duty Taidong cop who saved us a 10km hike to the train station). However, we did have more shady cabbies ($400NT for a 7km ride?! Piss off!) & a lot more of the “ugh, waiguoren … at least they don’t understand Taiwanese!” vibe from people in elevators & restaurants (at least some of whom actually said so, conveniently using the only Taiwanese words I know while staring directly at us.) Overall Kaohsiung was a decent place though - as long as OP doesn’t look like my girlfriend, I think he’ll be ok there.

Thanks for so much feedback! I’m still not sure which school I’ll choose and how long (e.g. whether I’ll stay 3,6,or 9 months) but this has been really helpful.

In response to an earlier question, I found out about my scholarship via e-mail- once you accept the scholarship, you get a formal letter discussing the details of the scholarship. I think the scholarship notifications differ between TECO offices though (mine was for NY,NJ, and CT).

It seems like I’ll be happy regardless of which school I choose. Some of the earlier posters have said Beijing would be really polluted/ more expensive- and I am hesitant to go through the whole application process again (esp since many of the mainland unis require copies of your physical, chest x-ray, etc). I guess I just want to make sure that being in Beijing (or some city in the standard pronunciation zone) would be that much better for my speaking abilities (not as worried about the switch to simplied from traditional characters).Can anyone speak to how their accent has changed b/c of being in Taiwan? I’d assume standard pronunciation is taught in the classes, but that wouldn’t be reinforced in daily interactions, right? I plan on continuing Mandarin in grad school (law) when I get back to the states, and in my experience learning Mandarin in college classes, the Southern accent is definitely frowned upon.

You are a foreigner. No one cares what your accent sounds like. The standard educated Mandarin accent in Taiwan is almost identical to the one that one hears in Shanghai and other centers of commerce.

If you do spend time in China, your accent will shift to conform with what you hear around you.

They will teach standard Mandarin at your center. You will definitely hear a lot of Taiwanese and Taiwanese-accents on the street down south.

The importance of accent is greatly exaggerated. For what it’s worth, many southerners look down on those harsh northern accents. Ignore both camps.

Of far greater importance is learning to speak clear, syntactically correct Mandarin with correct usage.

If I were going to China to study, I’d steer well clear of expensive Beijing and head down to Yunnan. The cost of living is cheap, the food is good, the Mandarin in beautifully spoken, and the place is spectacular.

Fantastic. I guess I’m worried b/c all my classmates are really serious about learning Mandarin. A lot of the them are going to Bei Da this summer, when I say I’m going to Taiwan to study, people are pretty surprised (especially when they hear I’m not planning on going to Taibei. I’ve gotten comments like “but Taiwanese pronunciation is horrible!” And in some of the videos we have to watch for h.w. (some Taiwanese show about traveling around China), I can’t really understand what the person is saying because his or her accent is so strong.I feel like I’ve made decent progress in the 4 semesters I’ve studied (5 hours class/week) so learning 15 hours+ hw+ interaction should be good no matter what. Plus I’m going to a university to study a language- you don’t have to go to Harvard to learn to speak English.
I have to research cost of living b/w Kaohsiung and Tainan but as long as Kaoshiung isn’t substantially more expensive than Tainan I’ll probably go there (similar opportunities for enjoying nature, but Kaohsiung’s a bit bigger/ seems to have more public transportation). I have friends from Tainan so I might go there for the winter semester. I think it’d be fun to switch cities every semester, which is a possibility since I only got a 3 month scholarship anyway.
I’ll look into Yunnan, maybe for Spring. That’s another thing in S. Taiwan’s favor- mild (no?) winters. I’m planning on going to Harbin with family during the Winter Festival but I couldn’t imagine an entire winter there, especially w/o central heat.

[quote=“maxfischer”]Fantastic. I guess I’m worried b/c all my classmates are really serious about learning Mandarin. A lot of the them are going to Bei Da this summer, when I say I’m going to Taiwan to study, people are pretty surprised (especially when they hear I’m not planning on going to Taibei. I’ve gotten comments like “but Taiwanese pronunciation is horrible!”
[/quote]

Ignore them. The world is full of uninformed snobs. You’ll be getting much more diverse view of the Chinese world this way as well as learning perfectly fine Chinese. And Kaohsiung won’t be crawling with foreigners ike Beijing or (to a much lesser extent) Taipei.

Sure the accent is different. But tell me about different accents after you have spent some time traveling in China. Everyone has wildly different accents there depending on what province they are from. Trust me, you are going to have this problem everywhere you go in China. But the standard southern Mandarin accent spoken by people in Taiwan is one of the most commonly spoken throughout southern and central China.

[quote]
I have to research cost of living b/w Kaohsiung and Tainan but as long as Kaoshiung (Gaoxiong) isn’t substantially more expensive than Tainan I’ll probably go there (similar opportunities for enjoying nature, but Kaohsiung’s a bit bigger/ seems to have more public transportation). I have friends from Tainan so I might go there for the winter semester.[/quote]

Kaohsiung is a good choice. Probably a bit more to do there than in Tainan.

Hi Maxfischer,

I just found out today that I also received an MOE Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. To anyone still waiting, it looks like they stagger their acceptance emails… I’m based in Chicago.

I’m thrilled and you should be too! I visited Taiwan last fall and it’s an amazing place. I’ve also been to mainland China a few times and I specifically picked Taiwan because it’s feels like a friendlier place. The experience is going to be worth more in the end then whether you have an accent or not. I’m also serious about learning Chinese.

I’m looking to simultaneously get my MBA. I have applied to both NCCU and NSYSU, in addition to other places in the states… I won’t hear until later this month on the TW programs. It’s still up in the air whether I’ll wind up in Taipei or Kaohsiung. My friends living in China travel to Taiwan a lot for work and say they prefer Kaohsiung over Taipei.

Good luck to you! Maybe we’ll wind up in the same program with the same accents :slight_smile:

Hmmm, I thought foreigners were not allowed to only have scholarships that are only 3 month duration. I thought they had to be at least 6 months.

Or maybe I heard it backwards, perhaps foreigners that plan to only stay in Taiwan for 3 months are not allowed scholarships? They have to show that they plan to at least stay 6 months?

Hey Emahee-
Congrats on the scholarship! Have you decided which school you’ll attend? If NSYSU, what are you planning on doing in terms of housing? I know the school doesn’t provide housing and the places I’ve seen advertised online look really cheap, but the prospect of finding an apartment is a bit overwhelming right now.
I’ve been way too busy with finals lately, but I know I need to buy tickets/ start planning for this asap. What are you planning to do in terms of visas? I’m thinking I’ll stay for at least two semesters (with trips to HK/ Japan/ Thailand/ Philippines on weekends to visit family/friends), so maybe it’d be better to try and get one of the multi-entry res. visas. Is there a specific time-line for when you have to apply for the visas (assuming I’d want the scholarship money for the Sep-November session)? I’m currently planning on applying for the visa in late July (going to Europe till then, will need my passport!). I’m finding the lack of info from the TECO office sort of disconcerting. I’m hoping I’m not missing any deadlines…

Hey Maxfischer,

Things are up in the air for me as well. For language centers, I’m deciding between NCCU, NTNU (Shida/MTC) and NSYSU. I can’t decide on a language program yet since I’m still waiting to hear from NCCU and NSYSU on whether I’ll be admitted to their global MBA programs. I’m then hoping to defer a year and study Chinese.

My scholarship email did say I have to submit an admissions letter from a language program and state my choice no later than June 10th. They are expecting a travel itinerary at that point. I plan to make all my decisions before then and apply for my visa by early June. I wouldn’t wait until July for your visa. I don’t know a tremendous amount about TW visas; I’ve been to China several times and the process has been simple enough. I plan on getting my visa (multi-entry if possible) and then applying for an ARC after 4 months. I would recommend the same for you since I think once you have an ARC you’re on the national health insurance plan. If I wind up going to NSYSU I will stay in the dorms since I plan to be there for more than a year. I felt I read somewhere that NSYSU offers a “buddy system” and will match you with a Taiwanese national to help you find housing (???). If I wind up in a place that doesn’t provide dorms, I plan to fly in and stay at a hostel until I can get myself situated and find housing.

Sorry I don’t have more info or connections. I feel a little overwhelmed myself. I did find a NSYSU group on LinkedIn which has been helpful. I also follow several blogs using google reader – it’s a handy application that allows you to track several blogs at a time without searching for updates. This blog is by a woman that was awarded the Huayu MOE scholarship, and is how I heard of it in the first place: shuflies.blogspot.com

Let me know what you decide. I hope to see you there!