The number of foreign students studying in universities around Taiwan totals 17,742 for the 2007-2008 academic year, up 3,263 over the year-earlier level, according to tallies released yesterday by the Ministry of Education.
Visiting students include those pursuing academic degrees, exchange students, and language students.
Foreign students pursuing an academic degree in Taiwan come from a total of 117 countries worldwide, with Vietnamese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Japanese and Americans accounting for the greatest number, said officials at the MOE's Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations.
Among the 109 Taiwan universities with foreign students pursuing a degree, National Taiwan University has the largest number at 438, the officials said.
The tallies show that science, engineering, medicine and agriculture are the most popular areas of study, followed by business management.
Among exchange students, who come from 70 countries, Asians are in the majority at 1,361, the officials said.
By nationality, the five largest groups of exchange students are Japanese, Koreans, Americans, Germans and French, they said.
Meanwhile, among foreign language students learning Mandarin in Taiwan, the majority are from Asia at 5,860, they said, adding that the largest number of these language students - 2,921 - are at National Taiwan Normal University.