Auditing university courses?

I’m teaching English in Taipei and spend most of my day studying Chinese, mostly just by reading novels and short stories. I’ve got friends that I can ask about grammar problems or weird words/expressions, but it would be helpful to be able to discuss (or just listen to discussions about) the books.

Anybody out there audited (or just enrolled in) university courses here in Taiwan? I know that students enrolled at various language programs can often audit courses, but what if you are not enrolled in language courses?

I used to audit years ago when I was at the (then) MTC, and I was also permitted to audit courses at Nat’l Chengchi Univ. without being enrolled in anything approaching courses there.

I think the key is to approach a professor who’s teaching a course you’d like to audit, and tell him/her why you’d like to audit. Since most of the university students don’t bother to show up to classes half the time (they have the “gongbi” system going!) most profs would probably welcome somebody who was proposing to show up and look interested! I don’t think it’s something that would concern the school per se, although if you appear foreign I suppose it might be a concern if the teacher was worried about “the rules”. Usually in Taiwan, the rule is “Don’t ask, so as not to give anyone the chance to say ‘no’” (i.e., “That which is not expressly forbidden ought to be OK!”)

Which books did you want to hear discussion about?


“What books did you want to hear discussion about?”

I’m pretty open. Lately I’ve been reading silly Kung Fu series,“Novels of Chivalry,” or whatever you call the wuxia xiaoshuo that my students seem to enjoy. However, despite all that great jianghu vocabulary, I don’t think I can get myself to read another series any time soon. I bought a copy of “Family” (Jia) by Ba Jin at the used books store and will probably start that soon. Basically I’d love a class on any aspect of modern/contemporary Chinese literature, anything from May 4th stuff on. Classical stuff would be interesting, but going to a college-level class on classical lit is quite beyond my Chinese level.

The thought of just asking a professor is genius. (If it works that is.) I can’t imagine that being at all possible in the US.

Given that I’m not terribly picky about exactly what the class will be studying, I suppose I could ask around, and sooner or later someone should say yes.


Aw, shucks. Genius?? Not really.

When I was at a university in hte States, I ran out of tuition money during my last semester, and I actually prevailed on half my professors to let me continue in their courses in an “auditor” status (this included a 10 hour a week Russian language course, too). I always took that as a guide and now whenever I am in the position to say, I let anyone who wants to audit my classes do so.

I think most professors in Taiwan would be pretty open to this (maybe you should try to pick ones that aren’t 80 years old, though!) because I think most are intrigued to see a foreigner who bothers to learn to read that stuff in the first place. Most teachers are going to be favorably impressed by academic motivation wherever they find it, so if a teacher doesn’t let you audit (might be for institutional reasons too) be sure to ask if s/he could send you to another place that might work out.

Hey, you might try some of the “extension education” classes at the various universities, too. I’ve never paid too much attention to their literary-type things but I would suppose they might have some sessions. Also, why not try posting to (I’ll probably screw up the name of the group here) tw.bbs.language.chinese or whatever it is? That’s a group of folks who are always going on about this character and that piece of writing, and seems like they might have some suggestions for you too.

Good luck

It works, just ask the prof and he most likely will agree…=)