Anyone reading this who study at the Mandarin Training Cente

I’m going to Taiwan this August for 5 years, and plan on applying to teach at Hess Language School, while also studying at the Mandarin Training Center. Is there anyone here who is doing a similar thing? If so, have you been able to take the classes you want without your teaching schedule keeping you from taking those classes?

Peter Schwartz

Hello Peter,
I am not teaching as Hess nor do I study at the Mandarin Daily - but my co-workers are studying there (I study at CLD). Anyways…we are all working here legally and taking Chinese classes. Working at HESS, you will surely have time to study Chinese. At Mandarin Daily, they have classes at different times in the day (5 different times?) so you can easily find a class time that will fit your schedule. (Are you sure about working at HESS?) There are many pros and cons about working for them. (You should check out this site - there is a HESS discussion going on…and also on other sites…I’ve heard many complaints about HESS and other BIG SCHOOLS)
Good Luck!


If you’re teaching at Hess you should have time in the morning for classes. Hess will definitely give you a minimum number of hours (14, I think) but they may give more (up to 26?) and you usually just have to accept it. Hess does often offer morning kindergarten classes and you may be asked to teach these. However, you are under no obligation to take those classes.

In regard to legal status, you get your visa/work permit from Hess, so there’s no legal problem with taking classes. If you get your visa from your Chinese school then there are certain restrictions on legal work.

Finally, make sure that your contact at Hess knows that you plan to study at MTC. You want to make sure that you are placed at a school that isn’t too far away, or at least is near good transportation, such as near the MRT. You will almost definitely get 8-10am class your first term. For a while, I was leaving my house by 6:30am to get to the MTC by 8:00, and that taking the “express” bus!

If you’re going to be working at Hess, I assume they will furnish you with a work visa, which means you are not reliant on MTC to give you a visa by virtue of attending class there.

So, I would advise you – don’t!
(Don’t go to MTC, that is.)

The other language centers (apart from the former Flag, that is!) offer classes that are just as good in quality as MTC. The teachers at MTC do their best, but they are not any better trained than nearly anyone else teaching. I’ve studied at most of them (MTC, 2 TLI centers, CLS, but not Mandarin Daily News “Guoyu Ribao”) at one time or another, and they’re basically the same. It depends on the luck of the draw in terms of your teacher, and then on what you are personally going to put into your studies.

Before people get going on me, by the way, I have a Ph.D. in Foreign Language Education with a concentration in teaching Mandarin Chinese, so yes, I do think I have some basis for this opinion.

Save yourself some money and go to a smaller center. They’re more flexible, cheaper and usually more accomodating. MTC was better when there were only 200 students or so, but that was back in the 1980s…

Just my NT$1

Is there any Chinese language schools in Taipei that focus on business related reading/writing skills for intermediate level speakers (like ABC’s)?
I’m getting an internship in Taiwan (working in the financial sector). My Chinese reading ability is about 3rd grade level (thats when I left Taiwan). Writing skill is worst. My Chinese speaking is not not level of professional either. To get most out of my internship, I would like to improve my practical language skills concurrently.

I think a structured learning environment will expedite my learning. Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks!

I once took a “course” in Business and Stock Market Chinese at the TLI on Hsinyi Rd. in Taipei. They had a teacher at that time who had extensive experience in import/export and another who had worked on the stock market for some time. They alternated days with our class. I don’t know what either one of them was doing teaching Chinese at a buxiban, but we were the beneficiaries (especially since I set it up as a 2 person class and then my classmate failed to show up!!)

You are more likely to get someone who at least has a degree or business experience in the smaller schools than at Shita, which (IMHO) is stultified by its own opinion of itself.


HESS currently requires that you teach 20 hours at the bushiban. Kindergarten contracts are separate from bushi-ban and also require a separate training.

The schedule is very fairly regular: M,T,H,F from 430-?840 if you have two classes each day… this includes clock-in time.

Wed and Saturday are on a slightly different schedule. Just make sure you let your contacts know what you need.

I would echo ironlady’s points. The MTC is good if you get a teacher you can work with. I studied there, but on a scholarship, so I never had to pay their ridiculous fees. I left when I got a teacher I couldn’t understand (unintelligible mainlander in his 90s). If you don’t need a no-quibble visa extension, and aren’t looking for a government scholarship, then there are other cheaper places to go to. When I was in Taipei (92-7) most of my working friends went to TLI, and liked it well. I never got the impression TLI was particularly cheap, but it had a solid reputation.