Huayu Scholar for 2020/21: Queries

Hi all,

First time poster, long time browser (finally decided to get an account and join in)

I’ve been awarded the Huayu Scholarship for 9 months starting December and have to finalise my choice of institution and wondered if anyone had any input on my shortlist - or any suggestions in general. I’m sorry if these have been asked elsewhere (I’ve posted something slightly differently worded on r/Taiwan)

So far I’ve been thinking about :

National Taiwan University (Can’t afford ICLP so it would be CLD)
National Taiwan Normal (probably the small class intensive)
National Chengchi
National Taipei Education
National Tsing Hua
National Sun Yat Sen
National Dong Hwa

My thoughts/questions so far

  1. Taipei or elsewhere: probably the biggest question and the most commonly asked but what would I gain from Taipei i.e. Are the institutions that much better and worth me dipping into savings?

  2. Which leads into this question, given that course programme is broadly similar, does reputation matter? I’m guessing this isn’t necessarily something many people have come across but is important to me as I’m doing this before I start a PhD so if say a potential supervisor might get excited over NCCU or NTU but look down on NDHU or even NSYSU or wonder why I went to a STEM heavy institute like NTHU for language?

2.5) given my academic interest how widely does their focus or even seriousness range? Are some places going to be focusing more on colloquial or speaking for example (reading is probably the most important for me) and will some be like some of the Mainland language schools where the students (and sometimes teachers) often take the easy path?

  1. if I’m outside of Taipei how much cheaper is it likely to be (Hsinchu/Kaohsiung/Hualien). Are we talking neglible or is it like comparing London/NY to a smaller city.

  2. I’ve not heard great things about Hsinchu and Hualien also seems pretty small - I’m not a party animal but I like to socialise and do things like pub quizzes, team sports (rugby usually but not expecting much of that…) will I need to travel for this?

Thanks in advance, really interested in personal experiences of either the studying or just living in some of the less covered cities like Hualien and Hsinchu. I’m aware this is a lot of questions and might either be hard to answer or covered elsewhere but I figured it might be a chance to get more up to date views?

Outside of Taipei you can learn chinese quicker, inside of Taipei you can do more “social things”. Enough said. Taipei is a mini america, beware the chinese learner.

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I was also awarded the scholarship and intend to study prior to Phd plans. I have already enrolled at the NTU CLD program on the basis that NTU is considered quite prestigious, at least anyone looking at my resume could recognize the name. I’m not sure it really means anything though. The program itself seems fine, pretty standard as I’ve heard. From what I understand, NTU CLD and NTNU have the two largest programs, there isn’t much discrepancy on choice although I have heard many mixed reviews from NTNU. I use the Course in Contemporary Chinese book as a self-study tool from NTNU and I find it to be really excellent. Most of the vocab is relevant and somewhat practical but beyond that I don’t have any intention to study at NTNU based on what I have heard.

I’ve traveled TW extensively, I’ve been to every city and many parts of the southern countryside, my experience points me toward Tainan being the best place to study seeing as though many people don’t speak English in the city, it could be considered a hub of Taiwanese culture, and the university (National Cheng Kung Uni) is not bad. I know it isn’t on your list, but comparatively, Tainan is the cheapest city that offers the most advantages to cultural experience and practical exposure. I know a number of other people here have also mentioned Tainan as a good choice. Hualien and Hsinchu likely lack many social aspects that you can enjoy in Taibei, Kaohsiung, or even Tainan. Further, the cost discrepancy is much larger, you can likely afford to live in most cities outside of Taibei and pay for tuition using the scholarship stipend.

NEVER select Shida. They’re only happy when they’re taking your money. Any complaints you have will be dismissed and you’ll be labelled a problem student. Administration and older teachers still hold onto the outdated idea that teachers are gods and do not like being questioned.

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Thanks for this. I’ve visited Tainan (enjoyed it), Kaohsiung (really enjoyed it) and Taipei (nice but pricey) so had a mini sort of idea about the situation but your comments are very helpful in clarifying that.

I did actually look at NCKU but outside of Taipei I was ideally looking for on campus housing and due to COVID they weren’t too sure about. I’ll take another look at it and see what housing is like in Tainan.

In terms of Hualien I think I can probably write that off as the campus isn’t even in the city (it’s about 30 minutes away) and it’s quite a long way from Hualien to anywhere, which with regards to Hsinchu isn’t such an issue with Taipei nearby.

Thanks again. Definitely food for thought and all the best with your Huayu year and eventual PhD!

I’ve heard this elsewhere actually. That they can be quite old fashioned in their teaching style too. I got warned off Wenhua for similar reasons

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Great, thanks for this. I definitely want to learn Chinese so probably outside of Taipei is best. Transport on the West Coast is pretty good so I guess I can always visit friends at the weekends in Taipei if I want.