Centre launches new study abroad program with inaugural Taiwan cohort 

by Matt Overing

2024 Taiwan Cohort

Centre College is expanding opportunities for students in Asia.

The College faculty recently approved National Taiwan University (NTU), ranked the top university in Taiwan, as a new study abroad destination beginning in 2024-25.  

Centre’s partnership with NTU will be launched in the Fall 2024 semester with a cohort of five students, four of whom were awarded the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) for Mandarin language study by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education: Kylin Jia (class of 2025, Chinese and Business double major), Jennavieve Dunbar (class of 2026, Chinese and Business double major ), Hana Morioka (class of 2025, Chinese and Computer Science double major) and Michael Liao (class of 2025, Computer Science major and Chinese minor).  

“We had a number of students apply for the program in Taiwan. The HES funds not only supplement students’ living costs abroad but also reward them for the years they have spent studying Chinese,” said Mei Li Inouye, Assistant Professor of Chinese at Centre. “NTU has one of the top language immersion programs in the world and we are thrilled that our students can advance their language and cultural proficiencies there.” 

The program these students will participate in is called the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) which is known for its intensive instruction and development of diplomats and top scholars researching Taiwan and China.  

Centre has a unique relationship already with ICLP: Stephen Rout ’24 took a gap year in 2022 to participate in the program when abroad options were still limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adam Chen-Dedman, the Executive Director of Centre Global and a scholar of social movements and cultural politics in Taiwan, helped Centre’s Chinese Studies faculty facilitate this new partnership which complements other language immersion study abroad programs Centre offers for French, German and Spanish. 

“This is exciting because it marks a diplomatic moment when Centre students can return to studying Mandarin in Mandarin-speaking countries,” Inouye said. “Centre students will have the opportunity to make friends and study culture, society, history, politics, and economics in person and in the language of those who live there.”  

Inouye, alongside Assistant Professor of Chinese Jingjing Cai, worked with Chen-Dedman to develop the program. Additionally, students will resume attending Centre’s Shanghai, China study abroad program in 2024-25, its first year since the pandemic.  

“We began discussions on developing a study abroad program in Taiwan with a language-immersion focus,” Chen-Dedman said. “Taiwan is a thriving liberal democracy, a technological powerhouse, a close partner of the United States, the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, and overall an incredibly safe and ideal place for Centre College students to learn Mandarin and be exposed to a diversity of viewpoints.” 

Inouye noted that NTU has programs offered in English as well — so students without prior study of Mandarin can take courses in computer science, medicine, politics, business, environmental studies, and many other subjects. They will have the opportunity to study Mandarin as well.

For the relatively new Chinese Studies program at Centre (approved by the faculty in 2022), the partnership with NTU and the return of the study abroad program in Shanghai, China will create new cultural understandings, relationships and career pathways for Centre students. 

“The Taiwan and China study abroad programs are crucial to students in Chinese Studies because our students can now apply what they’ve been learning and conduct research on what interests them abroad,” Inouye said. “Learning Mandarin opens up all sorts of doors—doors that will help our students practice global citizenship in different parts of the world.”  

At top: Four students were awarded the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES), from left to right: Hana Morioka, Jennavieve Dunbar, Michael Liao and Kylin Jia.