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OU awarded grant funding for Taiwan study abroad program

Oakland University, Howard University and National Dong Hwa University of Taiwan secured a three-year, $100,000 grant from Taiwan’s Ministry of Education to support Chinese Language and Culture studies for students at all three universities.   

This generous grant will support 27 Oakland students per year to study at National Dong Hwa University for three months and cover the majority of expenses, including tuition and living expenses and part of the airfare. 

“This grant offers an unprecedented opportunity to our students because financial consideration is often the number one reason that hinders students’ decision to study abroad,” said Hsiang-Hua (Melanie) Chang, associate professor of Chinese in OU’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, who helped secure the grant. 

In addition to enabling students to study in Taiwan, the grant will be used to sponsor other academic exchanges, such as online art exhibitions, seminars and research projects.

“This is Oakland’s first partnership with a university in Taiwan,” Chang said, adding that she hopes it will lead to a long-term partnership between the universities across various academic fields.

Chang cited the efforts of colleagues Alex Zimmerman, director of International Education, Executive Director of Global Engagement Rosemary Max, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Britt Rios-Ellis and Stephen Filler, chair of the Department of Modern Language and Literatures, for helping to establish the partnership between Oakland University and National Dong Hwa University.

“All university programs require teamwork, and I’m grateful for all the support from our faculty and staff,” said Chang.

Currently, the grant requires students to take courses for at least three months in order to receive funding. The grant will cover all program costs, except for approximately $1,000, which may be covered by OU scholarships. Students can choose to study for three, six, nine or 12 months. They will receive the $850 per month scholarship for the period that they are enrolled in the Dong Hwa program. For more information, visit the program web page. 

National Dong Hwa University is among Taiwan’s most prestigious universities, located just six miles from the Pacific Ocean and famous for its programs in indigenous studies. Chang noted that China is the No. 3 trading partner for the U.S., behind Canada and Mexico, and Chinese is one of the critical languages defined by the U.S. Department of State. 

“Most people in the world believe in the importance and value of learning Mandarin Chinese,” said Chang. “I believe that Chinese language skills will help prepare OU graduates for successful and globally-minded careers, and that this partnership demonstrates our commitment to make study abroad opportunities accessible to every student at OU regardless of ability to pay.”  

In addition, Chang points out that Taiwan has a “strategically significant location and rich history with different ethnic groups, especially indigenous peoples, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.”  

“There are hundreds of unique animal, insect, and plant species that can only be found in Taiwan and nowhere else in the world,” she said. “Taiwan also offers many natural treasures, from high mountains to the deep sea. Taiwan has the tallest mountain in East Asia, Mount Jade, and the coral reefs in Taiwan make up one-third of the world's variety of species. Taiwan has so many cultural and natural resources to offer, which are not usually accessible for our students.”

For more information about the Taiwan study abroad program, contact Chang at (248) 370-4248 or

To learn more about studying abroad in general, contact OU’s Office of International Education at (248) 370-2889 or

Chamber Trustees