Hello, I've been looking through the postings on this site but can't seem to find anything that quite answers my questions.
I am British and married to a Taiwanese national. We both live in the UK. I have been given a six month career break from work so that I can go to Taiwan to learn Mandarin ( I already have some Mandarin experience, having studied it with the open university for 6 months now)
I've been doing a lot of research but am thoroughly confused, there is so much conflicting information!
First of all, courses.
Unfortunately I've kind of gone about it the wrong way...booking my leave from work first and then trying to find a course that fits but I have no choice as the time I can have off from work is quite restricted. I am going to Taiwan in the middle of October and coming back middle of April. I have found that a lot of courses start in September or run until after April. Does anyone know of / can you recommend any colleges, universities, languages schools in Taipei that do taylor-made courses to run from when ever suits you and for as long as you require? ( I was hoping to find a course running from November until early April) Or, am I best piecing together a couple of separate courses?
This leads to my next question...do I need a visa to study Mandarin in Taiwan? And if not, how long can I stay as a European on visa free entry? I phoned the embassy in London, they said I can enter without a visa and stay for up to six months but I can't find anything in writing on their website that confirms this (the longest it mentions is 60 days). If I do need a visa but am planning on doing 2 or more Mandarin courses to make up the six months, will they only issue a visa for the length of the first course?
Thirdly, do I have to study at a government approved college, or does this depend on the answer to my visa question? If so, does anyone know of any that would do the type of course I'm after. I found a government list of universities but I also found on a lot of the private language schools websites that they mention giving you an acceptance letter for visas even though none of them are listed on the government website.
From the research I have done it appears that there are several ways to do what I want to do, so I'm just hoping for a bit of advice on the best way to go about it. My main concern is when we booked our 6 month return tickets the agent said the airline (Eva air) will check to make sure I have a visa because we are going for so long, but the embassy didn't seem to think it would be a problem!
My alternative appears to be applying for a spouse visa which gives me entry for 15 days, I can then apply for and ARC, how easy is the process and do they still allow you to do this even if you're not intending to stay in Taiwan permanently?
Sorry it's such a long post but I'm a bit confused!!