Opening a pastry shop is the dream of 24-year-old Taipei resident Chang Chi-hsuan (張綺軒), and while her parents expect her to have a steady job, she chose to work at restaurants and obtained an interest-free loan from the Taipei City Government this year to pursue culinary studies in France.
The NT$1 million (US$34,430) loan will cover her tuition and living expense at Le Cordon Bleu Paris for a one-year culinary program next year.
“I’ve always wanted to be a pastry chef and open my own pastry shop, and thanks to the loan, I will have the chance to attend the culinary art school and realize my dream,” she said yesterday at Taipei City Hall.
Chang is one of 827 people who received the interest-free loans from the city government since the program was launched in 2010 to encourage foreign studies.
The study-abroad loan program was part of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) campaign platform, in which he promised he would build a better future for Taipei’s younger residents.
Taipei residents between the ages of 20 and 40 are eligible to apply for interest-free study abroad loans for masters and doctoral studies ranging between NT$1 million and NT$2 million. The subsidy recipients are required to repay the interest-free loans within 10 years. The city government gives the subsidy to 1,000 residents a year.
Another recipient, 24-year-old Taipei resident Lin Shu-yang (林書漾), will leave for Denmark in January to study design.
She said the application process was easy and encouraged young people to take advantage of the loan.
Hau said the city government will expand the program this year and open the program to those who wish to pursue studies for professional licenses, such as pilot licenses and jewelry branding licenses.
“Young people are the hope and the future for the city, and it is the city government’s obligation to offer assistance to the city’s youth and help them turn their dreams into reality, especially amid the sluggish economy,” he told a press conference.
Taipei Department of Education deputy commissioner Feng Ching-huan (馮清皇) said the department would budget NT$80 million next year for the interest-free loan program.
Taipei residents who have registered their households in the city are eligible for the loan. Application forms can be obtained at Taipei Fubon Bank branches.