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Taiwan Scholarships available Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00

Since the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) made scholarships available to Belizeans in 2002, over two hundred and thirty Belizeans have received scholarships to study in Taiwanese Universities. On Tuesday, January 28th, the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Belize-Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) Alumni Society in Belize hosted a public briefing to encourage more students to apply for a scholarship of their choice.

There are 29 programs being offered from 21 universities under the 2014 Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) scholarship program. Students and parents from across the country assembled inside the conference room of the Chateau Caribbean Hotel to listen to presentations by officials from the Taiwanese Embassy as well as past scholarship recipients. Jacqueline Ifield, President of the Belize Taiwan ICDF Alumni, was first to address the attentive crowd. She encouraged everyone to apply because a scholarship to study in Taiwan is the greatest opportunity one can hope for. She said the quality of education is excellent; the country is safe and the people are extremely nice. Ifield said living in Taiwan could be a little challenging at first with the language difference but as much as Belizeans are trying to learn Mandarin they are trying to learn English so communication is easier as time passes.

His Excellency Ambassador David Wu told the interested applicants that they will not be alone in Taiwan. There are over 100 Belizean students studying in Taiwan and over 78,000 other foreigners, most from mainland China. The Ministry of Education in Taiwan hopes to have over 100,000 foreign students in its 160 plus universities by 2016. One of the requirements for applying is a high school diploma or higher with a grade point average of at least 3.0. Ambassador Wu said that though proof of academic success is important it does not guarantee a scholarship because “we also evaluate character”. Ambassador Wu says in its screening the Embassy tries to select the candidates that it believes will make the most of the opportunity.

Ambassador Wu stressed the importance of education to the development of a nation. He explained that Taiwan was left in ashes and debris after World War II. The Government placed great emphasis on education and in a little over 50 years, a territory with no natural resources is an economic powerhouse. There are two main reasons for the country’s success, according to Ambassador Wu, “work ethic and innovative ideas”. He said his hope for the students that graduate and return to Belize is for them not to just blend in but use their skills to stand out and make significant contributions to the country.

Ambassador Wu said Belizeans need to embrace the spirit of competition. Taiwan is about 25 percent larger than Belize in land size but 75 percent is mountainous terrain. Therefore, there are over 23 million people living in an area way smaller than Belize. Everyone is trying to come up with a better idea than the other guy. Everyone is trying to work longer, harder and better. Ambassador Wu said, “Competition is the name of the game.” If we embrace a similar spirit of competition in Belize and use the resources of the country “there is no reason Belize shouldn’t see similar development [to Taiwan] in the next three decades.”   

Programs under the ICDF scholarships are taught in English. Deadline to apply for those are March 14th. Programs under the Taiwan Scholarship Program are taught in Mandarin. Candidates may take an extra year in a Mandarin Language Enrichment Program. Deadline to apply for those are March 31st. Application forms are available at the Taiwanese Embassy on North Park Street or online at www.icdf.org.tw for ICDF scholarships and www.taiwanscholarship.moe.gov.tw . For more information those interested can contact Mr. John Chang of the Embassy at 227-8744 or 223-1862.    

 

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