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An immersion in language and culture through the International Chinese Scholarship

4 January 2024

Benjamin Miller (BA Chinese) standing in front of a Xiamen University building
Benjamin Miller (BA Chinese) standing in front of a Xiamen University building

Cardiff University School of Modern Languages student Benjamin Miller is currently undertaking a year-long experience in China after receiving a scholarship from Xiamen University.

With a recommendation from Prof. Benlan Ye, Academic Director of Cardiff Confucius Institute, Benjamin applied for the International Chinese Language Teachers Scholarship in April 2023.

Benjamin said: “After taking my HSK 4 [Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi is a Chinese proficiency test], I understood the importance of immersing myself to further improve my proficiency. I also understood that by taking this opportunity I would be provided with a breadth of experience that the second year of my degree wouldn’t have replicated in the exact same way. At the same time, it would set me up in a better position to perform at a higher quality in the future in Cardiff and have more input in the successive direction of my studies. I could pause my degree for a year, but other opportunities need to be taken with urgency.”

Benjamin says that everything has been going well so far, and he feels his level in Mandarin Chinese has improved considerably. He also believes he is much more confident in communicating than before: “There are many challenges that every international student will face but the main lesson I can take away is to persist and keep pushing to find solutions to any concerns, it will make you feel so much more relief in the long term.”

“Natural immersion will always be invaluable; there are many further aspects to understand when living in this environment, than just reading about it, especially when comparing the conversation and behaviour of words in a textbook to the reality of younger generations.”

For those considering applying for a scholarship, the advice from Benjamin is to “...keep patience in mind. There is quite a wait between receiving university admission and news of the award, yet if you are passionate about improving your Chinese language competency it is an invaluable opportunity. The earlier you apply for scholarship opportunities, the greater your studies will advance from these extra experiences. You can look on for further details.”

Watch a video of Benjamin talking more about his experience in China.

Prof. Ye said: “International Chinese Language Teacher Scholarships supports in-service Chinese language teachers or those aspiring to start a career in Chinese language teaching and offers the opportunity for successful candidates to delve deeper into Chinese culture, understand and learn the language at a higher level, and experience life in China. Students are expected to have a strong foundation before applying, and during the scholarship their degree programme at Cardiff University is paused.”

A number of scholarships and funded schemes are available to support study and internships in China. These range from short-term study placements and summer camps, through to full scholarships for Master’s degrees and PhD study. For more information, visit the Cardiff Confucius Institute Scholarships and Funding page.

Email Cardiff Confucius Institute at if you are considering applying for any of these scholarships or if you have questions you’d like to ask.

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