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Taiwan to reopen borders to foreign Mandarin students in March

5,000 Mandarin students without scholarships can begin entering Taiwan on March 1

Foreign Mandarin students at NTU. (NTU photo)

Foreign Mandarin students at NTU. (NTU photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced that Taiwan will open its borders to Mandarin students without scholarships in March, with about 5,000 students expected to arrive in the country.

According to the MOE, foreign citizens who have signed up to study Mandarin in Taiwan for at least six months but have not received the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship can enter the country starting March 1. Colleges and universities can begin applying on behalf of the students on Feb. 14, which is the last day of the Lunar New Year quarantine scheme.

In August of last year, the MOE allowed some 13,000 international students to apply for entry, including students enrolled in degree programs, recipients of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Taiwan Scholarship, and Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) awardees. However, non-scholarship students wanting to learn Mandarin were excluded.

In recent days, the MOE has sent letters informing schools that the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has approved the entry of non-scholarship students enrolled in Mandarin programs for six months or longer. The MOE informed the academic institutions that they can begin applying with the Overseas Students Attendance System on behalf of their students starting Feb. 14.

Before entering the country, the students are required to present proof of a negative PCR test taken within three days of their flight. Upon entry and at the end of their quarantine, they must also undergo separate PCR tests.

In addition, they must take rapid antigen tests on the sixth and seventh days of the self-health monitoring period. Students who have traveled to a high-risk country within 14 days of arriving in Taiwan must stay in a quarantine center, which will be paid for by the government.

Students who have not traveled to a high-risk country within two weeks will stay at a quarantine center at their own expense. The MOE emphasized that Mandarin students without scholarships may only enter the country through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

If a school is planning to arrange for a charter flight for their students or if a large number are coming on the same commercial flight, the institution should notify the MOE in advance so it can help allocate personnel and arrange for quarantine centers, epidemic prevention hotels, and airport guides.