Students pose for a picture during their last lesson of a free Mandarin language program. Photo: New Taipei City government

To help migrant workers adapt quickly and successfully to their new environment in Taiwan, the New Taipei City Labor Affairs Bureau offered a free Mandarin language course to 154 migrants, who reportedly benefited a lot from the program.

One of the students, Marilyn, 41, from the Philippines, who regarded herself an introvert, said she had not tried speaking much Mandarin when she first arrived in the city. Her employer learned of the course and recommended it to her, according to a media statement by the New Taipei City government.

With support and encouragement, Marilyn worked very hard and did not miss a single day of the three-month course. On top of being granted an attendance award, she was appointed as the student representative to deliver a thank-you speech – in fluent Mandarin – at the closing ceremony.

The course not only equipped her with language skills, but also allowed her to make friends with compatriots and other migrants, she said.

A Vietnamese man named Thai Binh, described as the most energetic student in the class, said he was referred by his company to join the program. He said he enjoyed every lesson very much and loved giving everyone a good laugh.

Hsu Hsiu-neng, director of the New Taipei Department of Labor Affairs, said the class, which targeted migrant workers from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, aimed to enhance the capability of foreign learners to express themselves in Mandarin.

Hsu was glad that the class had been well received and that 154 students had completed the course this year with fruitful results.