Best bilingual elementary school option for 6-month stay

Hello all,

I am a professor in South Korea (but US/Canadian citizens). We originally intended to come to Taiwan for the 2021-2022 school year, as I have a research sabbatical. I will be affiliated with NTU and doing research, as well as refreshing my very rusty Chinese skills. Of course, with the pandemic now it is very hard to plan, and so now I am planning to shorten our stay and come later, likely February 2022 through the summer.

My daughter is 9 and in 4th grade. She attended a Chinese immersion school (Taiwanese curriculum) here in Korea from kindergarten through the first semester of 4th grade. By the time we are in Taiwan she will have been out of Chinese school (in Korean public school) for almost a year, but we are doing some online tutoring and are hoping that will help her not to forget too much of the Chinese she knows.

I have searched these forums and asked questions on other forums and Facebook groups, but am still having a hard time figuring out what the best option would be for this kind of short stay. I think 6 months is enough to really improve my daughter’s Chinese, and we will continue coming to Taiwan in the long Korean winter breaks to maintain. But she’s not a little kid anymore–will be 10 in August–and the social aspect is important too. A really strict and competitive academic environment will probably not be good for her. I saw recommendations for the Taipei New World Montessori School, as well Waldorf schools. For a short stay I think we can afford this kind of private school. However, I am concerned that the amount of Chinese listening and speaking she would do at these schools would be minimal. A truly bilingual Chinese-English school would be best. Or even all Chinese but more experimental (forest schools, etc.).

Thanks for any advice! I also was planning to study Chinese intensively at ICLP on the NTU campus, but since the affiliation itself doesn’t require that I am on campus or even in Taipei at all times, I could conceivably also consider schools (and living) in other parts of Taiwan too.

you don’t need to worry about it for Taiwanese elementary school, especially for 1st to 3rd grades. Imo, public school would be the best if she already knows some mandarin and it is only for 6 months.

I’m assuming you will get ARC for the 6 months via your affiliation to NTU.

I think you had better go on Facebook and join the Taipei Parents group. You’ll get the advice you seek there.

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It seems that I will get the ARC through my affiliation with NTU, but as it’s not a paid position, my husband and daughter will not get visas. So that is where I was confused (and also a big reason why I am postposing the trip, as tourist visas are not currently available). I was also thinking of trying to apply for a Gold Card due to this, and because we may be in Taiwan at least a few months each year in the future. But I’m not sure if it really applies to me due to being paid in Korea.

Oh, I did join the Taipei Parents group. But most there suggested that for a short stay enrollment in public schools wouldn’t be possible.

they should get their ARC as your dependants. You sponsor their residency. When you will apply for your resident visa, you should apply for theirs to gather as your dependants at the same time. Without her ARC, your daughter cannot go to school.

If she has an ARC. she should be accepted by a public school.

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I had a kid in one of the bilingual schools and they are a mixed bag. Your daughter will hear a lot of Chinese, but she won’t be able to keep up with the local curriculum and people will speak to her in English. Socially and for English my kid did fine, but you may may not see much Chinese progress in six months.

Public school is also a mixed bag. If you can do that + tutoring, that is probably the way to go. It also depends on how long you’re willing to have her in school. When we did bilingual we didn’t realize our kid probably needed a couple of hours of tutoring to keep up (ie 4-6pm). Of course, this also depends on how much Chinese you all have and what your support network is like. For six months I’d probably aim for public school. If you want a bilingual school I think Fu-hsing and Lih-Jen are probably relatively close compared to the other schools (Kang-Chiao, Kuei-shan). Good luck!

If you are a univ. professor, most probably you are eligible to the gold card. Did you already check the site?

Yes, I checked it! It does seem like I am eligible, though it seems slightly shady (or too good to be true) to apply as someone who has no intention of living permanently in Taiwan. I’ve been holding off on applying since I’ll be leaving Korea in two months to spend the first part of my sabbatical in Canada, and I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I was supposed to pick up my passport at the Taipei Mission in Seoul but it took too long to process and I need the passport to fly in late July. It’s hard to find information online about how long the process takes.