Twenty-two Vincentian students, a record high, were on Wednesday awarded scholarships offered by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF).
Taiwan Ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Calvin Ho presented the scholarships at a ceremony at the National Library in Kingstown.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Minister of Education, St. Clair Jimmy Prince also attended and spoke at the event.
In his remarks, Ho said that 201 Vincentians have received scholarship since the Taiwan Scholarships Programme was established in 2004.
He said the initiative, undoubtedly, has brought closer ties between the people of the two countries.
“We all know that 2020 is a special year for all of us, not to mention the scholarship recipients, as the world is still under the impact of COVID-19,” the envoy said.
“Although the pandemic delays their departure for Taiwan by one month, I am pleased to say that, while adhering to the guidance of the protocols of Taiwan government to contain COVID-19, every related agency in Taiwan, including our embassy, has done the best to expedite the process for the scholarship recipients to go to Taiwan to pursue their study,” Ho said.
He said that this year’s scholarship recipients will pursue degrees in areas such as international health, health care administration, mechanical engineering, international business and trade, international studies, and medicine.
“We are especially happy to know that 15 of them will take the Mandarin Chinese programme for the first year. I am sure that all kinds of relations and cooperation between our two countries will be further advanced with more Vincentians being able to speak Mandarin Chinese,” Ho said.
He told the students that they might encounter difficulties settling in during their first few weeks in Taiwan.
“However, please remember that Taiwanese are always glad to offer help and provide assistances. I encourage you to make Taiwanese friends — as many as possible — to travel in Taiwan as much as you can, and to proudly share your wonderful cultures with Taiwanese friends as cultural ambassadors of your own country,” he said.
“You are going to experience a very different, vibrant and modern lifestyle in Taiwan. I hope you will take the advantage of your staying there to explore the beauty of my country.”
He said that the opportunity to study in Taiwan is a good start to their higher education.
“Although we always think that ‘a good beginning is the half of succeed’, I still wish to remind you that while enjoying your stay in Taiwan, do make sure that you study hard for your degree.
“Over the years, Vincentian students have maintained an excellent reputation on academic performances. I believe that all of you will make it through and get your degrees back as planned,” Ho said.