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Mandarin, design emerge as hot majors among foreign students

2012/02/28 14:16:00

Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) A growing number of foreign students studying in Taiwan are choosing Mandarin and visual communication design as their majors, according to statistics published by the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Monday.

In addition to traditionally popular business majors, Chinese language and culture and visual communication design have squeezed into the 10 most popular majors chosen by foreign students in Taiwan over the past three years, according to MOE figures.

Another rising star is finance, which was the top major of choice among foreign students in 2010 and 2011, the MOE said.

Other more traditional favorites that continue to prove popular are business administration, management, science and engineering.

The MOE attributed the rising popularity of finance as a major to Taiwan's increasing recruitment of students from Southeast Asian countries, with the region's booming financial sector boosting demand for those majors.

Max K.W. Liu, dean of the International College at Ming Chuan University, said the choice of major for foreign students is often related to market demand in their home countries.

Countries in Asia have a high frequency of contacts with the Chinese market, leading to an increase in demand for Mandarin speaking talent, Liu said.

Also, the increasing popularity of visual design could be traced to rising demand in cultural and creative industries and also growing recognition of Taiwan's soft power in the international community, Liu said.

Tai Wan-chin, vice president for International Affairs at Tamkang University, said as a Chinese language and culture major tailored to international students is less demanding than the traditional Chinese language and literature major, the former is more popular among foreign students.

(By Hsu Chi-wei and Ann Chen)