It is not only Taiwanese politicians who are eager to learn Hoklo (commonly known as "Taiwanese"). An increasing number of well known international universities -- including nine institutions each in Japan and the US -- are now offering accredited Hoklo language classes.
Last year, the Hoklo language craze reached Europe, where France's Universite de Lyon III added a Hoklo language program to its Chinese department, making it the first European university to offer such a program.
Professor Liu Kuang-neng (
Gregory Lee (
The Universite de Lyon III's post-graduate Taiwanese Studies program is divided into two parts.
The first year of the program offers classes in Taiwanese film studies, and the second year focuses on Taiwanese history classes.
Liu said that although there are not very many students in the program now, it serves as a bridge for young French students who want to learn more about Taiwan.
Lee arrived with the university's president, Guy Lavorel, on Sunday evening, for a one-week stay.
The aim of their trip is to visit the institutes for Taiwanese literature at National Central University, National Taiwan University and Tsing Hua University in order to initiate exchanges with the three schools.
The National Central Library will also present the Universite de Lyon III with books on Taiwan studies.
On Thursday, Lavorel is scheduled to give a speech at National Central University.
Liu said that the fact that the EU promotes cultural diversity will help promote attempts to set up Hoklo-language programs in Chinese departments at universities throughout the EU.
By taking advantage of this wave of interest to initiate active exchanges with European universities and build a good impression of Taiwan in the eyes of young Europeans, the nation will be able to connect with the international community.
Overseas universities and colleges offering courses in the Hoklo language.
Nagoya University of Foreign Studies
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
University of Hawaii
University of California, Berkeley
Pennsylvania State University
University of Michigan
University of Illinois
University of Colorado
Universities where student societies offer informal tuition in Hoklo: Yale University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Brown University and Massachussetts Institute of Technology.