When I was arranging for language study in Taiwan a few years ago I was advised by a few professors that NTNU’s MTC was the best place to start.
I’ve not attended the NTU program, so can’t comment, other than to suggest that having since studied at the MTC and a Mainland university, my overall impression is that the number of classroom hours per week is perhaps more important than the quality of the materials and reputation of the school. Learning by attrition!
If you want to learn to speak educated Mandarin, find some educated Taiwanese friends and chat with them about your area of study. If you want to learn academic language and improve your grammar, read articles in your field in Chinese.
If you Chinese is not yet good enough to do this, then you may as well save yourself the money and enroll in the MTC. At the end of two or three terms there your Chinese ought to be good enough to learn the bulk of what you need outside of a classroom.
No doubt the NTU program is more intense: it’s the twice the class time as a typical MTC class, and tailor-made to your needs. Shrug. I would do it if I had your goals and could afford it; but one could of course meet those goals in much cheaper ways too.
Again, the one I’d suggest is this: wander over to NTU, visit the department you’re interested in, and invite one of the keener looking grad students in your field to do a language exchange. Drink the occasional beer. Read and discuss articles in English and Chinese.
In Mainland China the standard langauge program for students with no Chinese background is a year of 20 hour weeks. It’s amazing, but true: by the end of it most students are fit to commence studies. And it’s not because the materials are superior or the teachers exceptional. It’s the lack of an expat community in many areas and attrition plain and simple. Shrug. Really, anyone who’s not reasonably fluent after two years of living in Taiwan is either gripped by the mental analogue of excessive clumsiness or isn’t talking with the locals.