Interview with the Education Divison of the Taiwan Mission in Sweden

December 13, 2021
On a bench outside of Wenner-Gren Center, I met Stacy Huang, Head of the Educational Division at Taipei Mission in Sweden. We discussed different study and work opportunities, as well as what it is like living in Taiwan for international students. Our interview went as follows.

About the Education division in Taipei Mission in Sweden

The educational division of Taipei Mission in Sweden is an oversea office affiliated to the Ministry of Education. The main mission is to promote educational and academic cooperation with Nordic countries. We provide most updated information about studying in Taiwan and provide scholarship programs to encourage Nordic students to go to Taiwan. We assist research institutes and schools to build connection.

Study in Taiwan

Q: If a student wants to study in Taiwan, how can Taipei mission help?

A: The most direct way is through our scholarship programs. Every year there are 15-20 Swedish (and Norwegian) recipients go to Taiwan for degree programs or short-term Mandarin language courses. They come from a variety of backgrounds and have different goals for studying in Taiwan. There have been students interested in diverse topics, from traditional art of Taiwanese puppet show to street dance, from public health to reginal studies, said Stacy Huang. 

Aside from that, for students who go without scholarships for Mandarin studies, Taipei Mission is willing to provide consultations and resources. As there are more than 60 university-affiliated language centers providing quality mandarin Chinese course for foreigners in Taiwan, it might be difficult to choose from them. We will provide basic guidance. information about different characters of different university and cities.   

For example, Taipei, Taichung or Kaoshiung are big cities with most convenience of daily life, diverse cultural events. For those who love outdoor activities in the nature with beautiful scenery, they will find cities on the eastern coast very attractive, like Hualien city. Tainan city is a popular choice for international students as a historical city in the south of Taiwan with its famous cuisine and passionate people as the sunshine in tropical area.

Q: When applying for a scholarship at Taipei Mission, what are the top three characteristics that you look for?

A: Asides from the required documents for application, such as reference letter and academic performance, we also focus on applicant’s determination, ability to adapt to different cultures or new things, and motivation for studying in Taiwan.

Pros and Cons of Taiwan

Q: What have previous students seen as difficult as well as good or easy living and studying in Taiwan?

A: The majority of students find it easy and safe to live in Taiwan. Some of the common reasons are the Metro Rail Train (MRT), medical services, the variety of food, stores that are open 24/7, like 7-Eleven. But 7-Eleven isn't quite like the convenience store you’re used to. 7-Eleven in Taiwan sells concert tickets, and even does laundry, it’s very convenient. I think Taiwan is a good option for students that have never been abroad. Although, there might still be a slight culture shock in the beginning.

Some Swedish students found it difficult to rent an apartment because some landlords prefer renting only to local people not to foreign students. Climate is another issue to be adapted. It can be very humid and hot in the summertime.

Life in Taiwan

Q: What would you say makes Taiwan an ideal place to study?

A: Taiwan is a country rich in culture where there’s freedom of speech and people are open minded, friendly, and quick to help. Furthermore, living expenses are affordable. In a way, I think it’s easy for Taiwan to feel like a second home to overseas students. 

As for field of study, Taiwan is competitive in mechanical engineering and in the semi-conductor industry. It doesn’t require much language ability to work in these fields. 

For example, we’d like to introduce the opportunity to spend a gap year studying Mandarin in Taiwan, or the opportunity to participate in exchange programs in universities. There are nearly 30,000 international students go to Taiwan to learn mandarin Chinese. Taiwan also well preserves the beauty of traditional Chinese characters.

Mandarin Chinese

Q:  Speaking of language, how important is it to speak Mandarin in order to study and live in Taiwan?

A: If you are in Taipei or other big cities, English is widely used and emphasized. However, knowing Mandarin will certainly create more conveniences and it allows you to build connection with local people, so it’s useful to know a few useful phrases.

Work Opportunities

Q: Is it possible to work part-time in Taiwan while studying?

A: When you’re on the scholarship, a part-time job is not allowed. However, it is possible for students to work short-term in a university lab through what is called the Taiwan Experience Education Program (TEEP). Additionally, there’s an organization called the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, which is a good avenue for Swedish students looking for work opportunities in Taiwan.

Sweden-Taiwan Academic Cooperation

Q: What kind of academic cooperation such as research is there between Sweden and Taiwan?

A: There are 17 universities in Sweden have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with 28 universities in Taiwan in fields of student exchanges, dual degree, joint research, and scholarly exchange visits. Before the pandemic there are many Swedish exchange students in Taiwan, and more Taiwanese exchange students come to Sweden, around 80-100 each year. There are also many Taiwanese free movers and young researchers in Sweden.

The most important academic cooperation in recent year will be the Sweden-Taiwan Collaborative Research by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan. Six projects involve 14 Taiwan and 23 Swedish scientists working together in the fields of solid anode-less lithium batteries, nanopore biomolecule sensors, subwave communications equipment, quantum optoelectronics devices, chip-size accelerators for material research and health, as well as antenna technologies for fifth generation and beyond wireless communication. A total of US$8.12 million will be allocated by the MOST and SSF toward the projects over the next five years.

 Taiwan’s representation hails from top institutions like National Taiwan University and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei City; National Tsing Hua University and National Chiao Tung University in northern Taiwan’s Hsinchu City; National Central University in northern Taiwan’s Taoyuan City; and National Cheng Kung University in southern Taiwan’s Tainan City.

 Sweden’s participants come from Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Linkoping University and Uppsala University. 

It is the first large-scale research cooperation between two countries We are looking forward to promising research result and many solid connections to be built.


Check out Stacy’s favorite Swedish and Chinese song:


Swedish: Kärleken finns överallt - by Cajsa-stina åkerström , also many Swedish Christmas songs

Chinese: Songs by Sodagreen (a Taiwanese band, also known as Oaeen )

Sarah Nygård

Sarah is a master student in the Asian Studies program at Lund University, currently based in Seoul, South Korea. Her main areas of interest are the culture, and history of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the international relations and security situation of Taiwan.
Privacy Policy