Any mtc alums or current students?

just wanted some info on mtc since i’m currently applying for the summer quarter.

how many students are there? are there any organized events to socialize with other students? how old are the students generally?

would love to get in touch with someone who has more info on what life is like while attending mtc since i’m going for the experience of living in taiwan as much as for the actual learning of mandarin.

thanks in advance for any help.

quote[quote] i'm going for the experience of living in taiwan as much as for the actual learning of mandarin [/quote] Oh god, not another one...
Originally posted by TheEqualiser: Oh god, not another one...

once again, looking for info from anyone who’s been in mtc. overbearing people looking to post condescending one-liners need not reply. thank you.

It’s been a while since I was at the MTC, but rest assured that you’re going to a great place to study Chinese. The MTC makes some rather half-hearted efforts to put on social events for the students, but it doesn’t really matter because there are a million cafes and bars in the Shita area where you can socialize to your heart’s content. You could also consider joining CAPT or the Taipi Hash House Harriers.

When I was there, most MTC students were in their 20s but there were quite a few other students in their 30s and 40s as well.

If you want the “full” Taipei experience, and you want to get serious about your Chinese, try to go out and get a non-English teaching job. These pay less, but you will have a chance to practice your chinese with your coworkers all day. Staying at home and obsessively practicing your characters is not going to help your Chinese.

One common complaint about the MTC is the quality of the teaching. I think this is due to to mismatch between what the students want and what the teachers know how to teach. Generally speaking, the students are desperate to learn how to seak Chinese, but once they finish the first few levels, their MTC teachers focus on reading and writing Chinese. Frankly, many of them just have no idea how to teach you to speak, so they teach you what they know.

Now in my view, you shouldn’t even look at a character during your first year or so of studying Chinese (reading and writing Chinese are actually the easy part!), but in the long run the MTC focus on teaching you to read and write will help you. If you are in a hurry, you might take a few supplementary hours a week at TLI or Pioneer to brush up on your spoken Chinese.

Good luck!


FYI, there is a MTC Alumni Association. The website is:

We are very eager to have more current students and alumni participate both in Taiwan and around the world. Please visit the website or contact me (the Taipei Liaison) for more information.


Well, reading and writing is important too. The only way to learn that is to practice like hell and memorize a zillion characters. If you try and socialize with some Taiwanese and/or get a local girlfriend, then the listening and the speaking part should improve. However, great spoken chinese requires you to learn to read(at the very least).

Just my two cents.

Originally posted by Holger Nygaard: If you try and socialize with some Taiwanese and/or get a local girlfriend, then the listening and the speaking part should improve.

Just be careful that you don’t, like many male foreigners who come here and get Taiwanese girlfriends, end up sounding like a woman every time you open your mouth.

Although in my admittedly limited experience it seems like most of those couples speak English.

I completely agree that you eventually need to master reading and writing. However, learning Chinese is complex. Most complex things can be more easily learned if the learning process is broken down into components. With Chinese, you need to get down a tonal language, an elusive grammar that requires you to learn a new way of thinking about grammar, and many, many points of usage. At the same time, you’re busy memorizing those zillions of characters. I say make it easier by first learning the pronunication and grammar and then by learning to read and write.

Most foreign students of Chinese who stick with it achieve a quite high level of literacy (at least reading) but very rarely do they become speakers with near-native fluency.

i’m going for the experience of living in taiwan as much as for the actual learning of mandarin

Oh god, not another one…


Originally posted by BlackIce:


a bit rich for an english teacher to hurl smug insults at a chinese student, don’t you think? shoo, troll, go away…

as for everyone else, thanks for the info about mtc. would like to get a better idea of what the program’s like before i actually start. i checked out the alum webpage, but i didn’t find as much info geared towards perspective students as towards alums(which makes sense).

Hi, if you visited the MTC alum site, then you’ve probably been to the main site:

There’s plenty of opportunity for socializing unless you work yourself to death outside of school. I had a great time at the MTC. Good luck.

Curious George

Unless you

Shita or another university does have two things a private school doesn’t. They can give you an ARC after six months and they have pretty stable classes whereas the private schools are always changing students and teachers and merging classes etc. Still a lot to be said for the small private schools though.

I really disagree with you about learning to write thouhg. The best way to learn to read si to learn to write. You really need to learn written Chinese to properly realise the differences between words that sound the same but are actually adifferent character. Your learning will be much slowed down if you don’t lern this. In short, even disregarding the usefulness of being able to read, learning the charcters will help your spoken Chinese.

I think start by learning simple characters first and your written and spoken Chinese will be completely separate for a while (as you write characters you don’t know how to use inconversation and speak characters you can’t write) and then start to come together.


Strange how illiterate people can speak Chinese just fine though …

quote[quote] Strange how illiterate people can speak Chinese just fine though ... [/quote] Is this supposed to be a reply to something mentioned already, or just off the top of your head. Nobody said you won't be able to speak Chinese unless you can read and write it. However, as Bu Lai En pointed out, your spoken Chinese can be improved a lot by being able to read. Firstly you have access to a hell of a lot more reading material than would otherwise be available to you. On a more basic level, you can read a newspaper or follow the TV news better and have more to chat about in the Barbers, Taxi whatever. OK so it takes a bit of effort but knowing even 50 common characters gives you a buzz as you recognise them in everyday life, and therefore the enthusiasm to learn more. My Chinese may not be perfect, but it has improved a hell of a lot since I started to learn to read and write.

I was responding to this questionable proposition:

quote[quote] You really need to learn written Chinese to properly realise the differences between words that sound the same but are actually adifferent character. [/quote]

If this were true, then illiterate Chinese speakers would not be able distinguish between the qu4s in hui2qu4 and you3qu4 just as illiterate English speakers would be unable to distinguish between ‘knight’ and ‘night’.

I think you just proved the point they were making by typing

quote[quote] ‘knight’ and ‘night’ [/quote]!

The problem is that learning to write every character you want to be able to recognize, while it might help you to learn to recognize them, will take more time than merely learning to recognize them using other methods (association, imaging, kinesthetic methods, flashcards, reading level-appropriate reading material in context, etc. etc.)

The other problem is that Chinese teachers generally don’t know many other methods of teaching students to read, and there is very little truly level-appropriate, interesting, varied reading material available for Chinese. (Stick around, we are trying to change that!!)

Personally, everyone has their own special way of studying that suits their own unique aptitudes. Some people are more visual, others more auditory.
Its hard for me, because right now, I’m living in NYC and envy those in Taiwan…walking down the street is like being in a classroom!
I use a great computer program called HyperChina by Sinologic. Its by far the best.
It also uses the traditional characters, which I feel is the best way to learn to write characters.
I’m my own teacher, so its tough…but fun. I watch lots of Chinese movies and soaps. Don’t laugh, but its a great way to learn.
Regardless of your methods, I think its GREAT to learn chinese and will only enrich your stay in Taiwan.
Zai jian!

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.

Good luck!