I’m kinda new here and I’ve looked through the old posts but can’t find an exact answer to my query…
Ok, well I’m looking to learn Chinese in Taiwan over the summer (with a view to spend a year or more there after I graduate in UK…). I have never learned Chinese before. I like the idea of the student life and getting to mix with actual Taiwanese, not just foreigners. I was looking at NTNU’s Centre for chinese culture and Language studies, and NTUs Chinese Language Division of their language centre… and I am soooo confused :s . Is one of these places much more reputable or reliable than the other??? Will one have more foreigners on campus than the other?
I feel kinda lost at the moment because I don’t really know what options are open to me and I have no clue as to what schemes are meant to be good and which are rubbish… Are NTU and NTNU popular choices for language study? Or am I completely overlooking somewhere else that may be better (I wanna be in Taipei). Does one of these places offer more choices and chances to progress than the other (that is, it would feel more like being at a university than just doing a part time course?).
Any info or advice much appreciated!
There are lots of places, and they’re all basically the same (it usually depends on your teacher and not the school itself, IMO). Other choices are the Chinese Culture University, Tamkang University, etc. As for getting the opportunity to mix with Taiwanese students, that’s not very likely, as your classmates will all be other foreigners, unless you actually study for a degree in Chinese, then you’d be part of an actual university program. Although these kinds of language schools are technically a part of the university, they’re basically run like “cram schools” for foreigners wanting to learn Chinese, and in the eyes of the university, you are not a “real” student.
I spent about 9 months at NTNU about 3 years ago to help me prepare for the entrance exam for NTU’s M.A. program in Chinese Lit., and that worked well enough for me.
i’ve studied at both schools incidentally. i spent one year at NTU about 8 years ago, and one quarter (3 months) at NTNU last winter.
the truth is - if you’re an absolute beginner studying for 3 months, it probably doesn’t matter too much where u go. don’t have such high expectations - u won’t learn THAT much in 3 months. to be honest, if you’re really serious about learning, you’re best picking up a good beginner’s book now while you’re in the UK, and learn some basics. that way, if u come here and meet some locals - u’ll at least be able to talk to them. otherwise, u’ll be in ur room all hours of the day in the beginning, just learning the basics.
absolutely positively - the best way to pick up the language here is to get a local gf. reading/writing etc - can actually be done in a non-chinese remote location (e.g. in the UK) but speaking - u just gotta do it with the locals here. be warned - finding compatible locals is difficult - and being in school won’t necessarily help u. but don’t shy away from foreigners here either - because when your foreign friends invite u out to the clubs and pubs etc. - SOMEONE in the group is likely to know some locals and invite them along. that’s your ticket to meeting some locals.
advertising for LEs works for some people, but i find that u meet lots and lots of LEs before u end up meeting someone ur compatible with (either as a LE or as a friend).
(oh btw - both NTU and NTNU are top schools here, so u don’t have to worry about that. CCC is ranked a bit lower down - but if you’re here to study chinese, it really doesn’t matter how good the school is in terms of reputation)
2 years ago, NTNU was a lot cheaper than NTU. Everything else was just about the same - even the text books.
I recently studied at NTNU and its a very well known and popular school for studying chinese. The fees are very reasonable but if you want to go to NTU (Tai Da) it’s quite expensive. They teach four hours a day there in small classes of 3-4 students. It’s more intensive and not easy to take part-time job.
Go to NTNU (Shi Da) is a good bet for a year. They teach two hours basic and bigger classes. You can do more classes if you want too although you need to study reading /writing independently.
Again it largely depends on the teachers rather than the schools after a certain level, beginners you’ll be following a fairly rote program from the book. Chinese is not like other languages, even after a year you probably wont be very proficient. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it takes very active personalities to acheive good results in first year.
Another school/buxiban you may want to look at is TLI (Taipei Language Institute). They use their own book, which I found a little more useful than the NTNU (Shi Da) book that everyone else uses. It was a little easier to get things grouped so you could use the language outside class. My teachers were good, too. The only downfall is they may be a little more expensive.