Goodbye Confucius, Hello Matzu: Is Taiwan Becoming a Chinese-Language Education Hub?

Taiwan’s political environment is making it more attractive for international students.

The News Lens
Date: 2017/11/14
By: Matthew Fulco

The global craze to learn Chinese has moved in tandem with China’s rise, with the

Photo Credit: Depositephotos

number of students surging since the mid-2000s. Even Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s five-year-old daughter Arabella has been part of the trend, enabling her to show off her Mandarin skills by singing and reciting poetry for Chinese President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the United States in April.

Globally, the number of people learning Chinese as a second language has more than trebled from 30 million in 2004 to 100 million today, according to an October opinion piece in China’s state-run China Daily. The PRC has benefited considerably from this boom. “With the rise of China’s international influence, the Chinese language will enter more classrooms in foreign countries, helping young people around the world better understand the country,” the China Daily article states.

For Taiwan, Mandarin’s surging popularity has been a two-edged sword. Rising interest in the language has boosted enrollment in Chinese-language courses here. With its cleaner air and friendly people, the island offers a more inspiring environment to learn one of the world’s hardest languages than smoggy mainland metropolises.

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