Let’s get back to the topic: what to expect from MTC… or what not to expect.
Don’t expect a program that compares with a university summer “immersion” program. MTC generally offers one 2-hour class Monday to Friday, same book, same teacher and very few outide activities.
Yes, there is a voluntary language lab. When I was there, you could listen to the tape, record your voice and listen to yourself.
Yes, there is a computer lab. Check what kind of software they have. When I was there, people only used the computers for e-mail.
Yes, there are some supplemental classes (pronuncation, calligraphy, newspaper reading). But be sure the check the duration (is it the whole term or one or two meetings?), check the level of language (maybe beginners can’t join), if they will be offered during your term, and if you will be able to join them. As you have heard already, though, don’t expect the school itself to fill up your out of class hours.
At MTC, what you do when class is over is up to you. Other students may not be as serious as you, enjoying an extended holiday that is justified by language study. Or maybe they are working and disappear immediately after class. There’s no dormitory, either, so again, unless you make specific plans, you may not run into classmates outside of class.
Certainly, MTC has the advantage of being in Taipei, isn’t that the total “immersion” experience? That depends on you. Think of all the immigrants to English-speaking countries who never have to really speak English. In most situations you can either point, use body language or throw out a few key words to take care of necessities. There is also a lively foreign social scene in Taipei. So if you’re serious about learning Chinese (or Taiwanese)you’ll need to develop relationships with locals. This can take a big effort on your part, especially if you’re just starting to learn.
Basically, if you’re looking for a new experience, come to Taipei for the summer.
If you’re outgoing and a self-motivated language learner, come to Taipei for the summer.
If you’ve studied Chinese already and want to use it in everyday life, come to Taipei for the summer.
If you want to learn as much Chinese as possible in one summer for academic reasons, you may want to consider a university program in your country.
If you are shy or need a “kick in the butt” to go out and practice what you’ve studied or learn best in a structured program, a program in your country might be better for the time being.