The US, Canada, Australia and the UK are bastions of higher education that attract thousands of many international students to its shores each year. This includes Indian students, who are among the largest source country of international students in these markets. However, an article by Dr Mumin Chen, published in The Week, notes that Indians are the fastest-growing group of international students studying in Taiwan.
The deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India said some 1,000 Indian students were studying in Taiwan five years ago. This figure grew to 2,783 in 2019-20 and 2,239 in 2020-21.
Currently, Indian students are ranked as the top 10 groups of international students in Taiwan. The majority of them are pursuing a master’s or PhD, said Chen. Most Indian students in Taiwan are majoring in engineering, national sciences, life sciences, medical and public health, business and management areas.
“Taiwanese universities prefer to recruit more Indian students because they speak fluent English and excel in various aspects. Many Indian students were recruited into research institutes such as Academia Sinica or high-tech companies in Hsinchu Science Park,” he said.
Taiwan — a strong contender in the higher education scene?
The Taiwanese government offers various scholarships to attract Indian students to study in Taiwan.
This includes the MOFA (ministry of foreign affairs) scholarships for degree-seeking students; the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship for short-term language training; the Taiwan Fellowship, which sponsors scholars to conduct field research in Taiwan; the Elite Scholarship Programme for lecturers to pursue PhD degrees; the Taiwan Education Experience Programme, or paid internships, and various summer school and visiting programmes, said Chen.
These programmes have resulted in more bilateral cooperation in science and technological areas between Taiwan and India.
Studying in Taiwan: A robust education
There are many appeals to studying in Taiwan, including a lower cost of living than other Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea and Japan. The island state offers international students reasonable tuition fees, a safe and friendly learning environment, and English-conducted programmes in many universities, said Chen.
Study in Taiwan notes that Taiwan’s higher education system provides opportunities for international students to study a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Mandarin Chinese language and history to tropical agriculture and forestry, genetic engineering, business, semi-conductors, to name a few.
There are 153 universities and colleges in Taiwan; 10 Taiwanese universities listed in the top 500 of the QS World University Rankings 2022, and 15 within the 1,000-range.
Chen said the number of international students studying in Taiwan had grown steadily in the past few years. “When President Tsai Ing-wen launched the New Southbound Policy in 2016, students from south and southeast Asia increased tremendously,” he said.
“In the 2019-20 academic year there were 1.3 lakh international students studying in Taiwan, including both degree-seeking and exchange students. The number dropped to 98,000 in 2020-21 due to the pandemic but is expected to resume to the pre-pandemic level in 2022.”