How To Study Chinese Abroad for Free

How To Study Chinese Abroad for Free

“How to travel the world for free!” posts are abundant on the travelblogosphere. Most of them involve suggestions like rewards cards, work exchange, and teaching English. Very few of them tell readers that dozens of organizations are ready to throw money at you if you want to learn Mandarin. Don’t be scared off if you’ve never studied Mandarin before or if you’re not interested in a master’s degree! There’s plenty of funding available whether you’re monolingual and 54 or fresh out of an East Asian Studies undergrad and ready to read some Lao Tzu.

Here, then, is an attempt at collecting Mandarin scholarships. They’re listed in approximate order of how wide their applicant pool is. I will try to keep this post updated. Please send updates, other scholarships to include, and other link collections to me via the contact form or leave them in the comments.

Happy adventuring!

Hanban Scholarships

NOTE: Hanban/Confucius Institute has been repeatedly criticized for a host of serious issues. I want to share all the resources I can with you, but I also want you to know what you’re getting into. Do your research. Here’s a Foreign Policy article to get you started.

The Confucious Institute’s scholarships are well known, and you’ve probably heard of them if you studied Chinese in the US. You can read about them here. Applicants shouldn’t have studied in China before and can’t be Chinese nationals. There are age limits and HSK requirements, depending on the program. Scholarships include language study and teaching Chinese as a second language. These scholarships are generous: they cover “tuition fee, accommodation fee, living allowance and comprehensive medical insurance expenses.”

Here are two useful posts that contain more information on the Hanban scholarship:

Study Chinese in China for a year…for free!

How To Get a Full Ride Scholarship in China (then throw it away)


Huayu Enrichment Scholarship

This is the scholarship I’m on! I’d link you to someone else’s site, but at the moment I seem to be one of the only people blogging about the HES, so here’s my archive of relevant posts. The HES application process seems to depend greatly on which TECO office/embassy you apply through. Scholarships might be as short as two months or as long as twelve months. There are no age requirements or requirements for previous Mandarin study. The scholarship gives you a stipend of ~850 USD a month. This is enough to live on if you apply to a cheaper school and find a cheap place to live.

This article might help you choose a school in Taipei, and here’s the complete list of schools you can apply to. StudyinTaiwan is another useful website.

Local Chinese Scholarships (~25)

A ton of provinces in China offer their own scholarships. The full list is here. This is just a hunch, but I’m guessing that they get fewer applicants than HES and Hanban, so they’re definitely worth checking out. Scholarships generally cover tuition and living expenses, but requirements differ between regions.

Chinese School Scholarships (~200)

Nearly 200 schools in China offer scholarships. Many of these are for degree candidates. Here’s the full list.

British Council

The British Council offers Chinese scholarships that cover everything except transportation, insurance, and visa fees. This scholarship is only available to British passport holders who are in college or recent graduates, and there’s a minimum grade requirement. You don’t need to speak any Mandarin for this scholarship.

Critical Language Scholarship

A scholarship for American college students, which limits the applicant pool. You’ll also need to speak some Mandarin if you’re vying for the Mandarin scholarship. If you want to study Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, or Urdu, though, you don’t need prior experience! Check it out — if you’re eligible, it’s pretty cool.

Other Lists and Resources

100kstrong lists Chinese-based and US-based scholarships, many of which I’ve already covered, some of which I haven’t. They skew towards academic scholarships ending in degrees.

The TECO office in the Philippines lists other scholarships in Taiwan.

Project Pengyou lists 20 scholarships, some of which I’ve covered here. Most of them are available to current US college students.

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