Scholarship winners learn about Taiwanese culture during three-week Mandarin course
Scholarship recipients with Mandarin teacher, Yuhui Huang
August 8, 2023

Scholarship winners learn about Taiwanese culture during three-week Mandarin course

Students who received 2023 university scholarships to study in Taiwan are elated to have created bonds with each other while learning the new culture after being exposed to a three-week course in Mandarin.

The cohort of students who are slated to leave St Vincent and the Grenadines ( SVG) for Taiwan later this month shared some of their experiences with SEARCHLIGHT.

The course, which kicked off at the beginning of July ended on July 28 and saw the majority of the awardees attending and participating in various activities.

Students said that having being exposed to the course makes them a lot less worried as it pertains to learning the language as they were able to grasp the information that was being presented, while having fun.

Not only was the course a learning exercise, but bonds were created amongst the students as they were able to get to know each other while learning about the culture.

The course was described as “informative” and “interactive” as they engaged in practical exercises such as conducting dialogue, the use of chopsticks and learning cultural dances.

“I was amazed to learn that unlike the English alphabet, there are over 20,000 Chinese characters,” one student said.

She highlighted that learning the language is important because of the growing relationship that SVG has with Taiwan.

She added, “It is nice to learn about the people and their culture who have poured out so many of their resources into our small island nation.”

She further noted:” Considering that the Caribbean is considered a “melting pot of cultures,” adding Mandarin to our list of languages can only add to our diversity.”

She therefore recommends Mandarin courses to others even if they do not wish to study in Taiwan. “You never know where life can take you” she said.

Mandarin teacher, Yuhui Huang told SEARCHLIGHT she is looking forward to teaching many Vincentians and not only those who will be studying in Taiwan.

This is because she is of the opinion that not enough Vincentians are acquainted with the language.

Huang noted that she has been teaching Mandarin in SVG for three years, and she also lectures at the Community College and the Girls’ High School as well as conducting public classes.

She stated that this year’s scholarship recipients are the second batch of students she has taught who will be studying in Taiwan, and she is looking forward to continuing this.

Huang said that while it is a known fact that Chinese is one of the more difficult languages to learn, she has taught students basic survival skills such as greetings, numbers, pronunciations and how to order food.

The students were also able to try Taiwanese cuisine, participate in games and learn the Kung Fu Fan Dance.

She said that the culture may surprise the students, as even she had a culture shock when she visited SVG. However, she advises students to keep an open mind and instead of judging pay attention to the meaning behind the culture and try to get used to it.

Taiwan has been offering scholarships to Vincentian students since 2004, and this year, a total of 34 students received Taiwan ICDF and MOFA scholarships.