The number of foreign students studying in Taiwan currently stands at 56,000, the ROC Ministry of Education reported July 4.
According to the ministry, 45 percent of foreign students are in Taiwan for degree programs, with the majority of these students coming from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Another 26 percent are here for Mandarin training courses, with the majority of them coming from Japan, the U.S. and Vietnam.
Mainland Chinese students, who account for 20 percent of foreign students, are here mostly for the purpose of short-term studies.
Taiwan is keen on attracting more foreign students, both because its low birth rate means it has an insufficient number of its own students, and because Taiwan would like its campuses to become more internationalized, according to the MOE.
The ministry said that in 2008 it launched a project to recruit outstanding students from Southeast Asia, and that as of June the program has brought 1,200 students to the island.
“We have made arrangements with Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, according to which these nations agree to send talented students to Taiwan to pursue master’s or doctoral degrees,” the MOE said.
“Currently, 58 students are enrolled in doctoral programs in the biological sciences, computer science and urban planning fields, while another 95 are here to study in graduate schools of business management, computer science and biotechnology.”
Nguyen Van Hoa, a Vietnamese doctoral candidate in finance at Taoyuan-based Chung Yuan Christian University, said he is very fond of Taiwan’s culture and learning environment. “Besides being very beautiful, schools in Taiwan also have excellent resources and equipment that students can use when conducting research.”
“The faculty are also very professional and have abundant knowledge,” Nguyen continued, adding that “although Taiwan is not an English-speaking country, many professors can teach in fluent English.”
Nguyen said he is grateful for the guidance that his professors have given him and other foreign students, adding that the patience and kindness of his professors makes him feel that foreign students are valued in Taiwan.