ICLP @ NTU vs. other Mandarin centers (in particular Hualien Tzu Chi CLC) - a few questions

Hello all,

I’ve been considering NTU’s ICLP because of the flexible curriculum, small classes, devoted teachers and good reputation and the vibrant university community, which I’ve heard and read a lot of good things about. On the other hand, I currently live in Hualian and I know there’s a decent Mandarin center here at Tzu Chi which teaches the (much cheaper) more regular Mandarin course, based on the curriculum seen in other universities across the land, including ShiDa, NCKU, NCCU etc.

I’ve lived in Taiwan for many years and studied on the side while I work full time. Now I’d like to switch things around and focus on studies for a year. I’m not so good at self-motivation, so I really want a course with classmates I like, which will challenge and motivate me. Having said that, I do also enjoy some balance in life for other things.

Because I’m torn, I’ve considered trying a term at Tzu Chi (because I already live nearby), seeing how it goes and then reassessing whether or not to make the big move and try ICLP. This arrangement would allow me the possibility to switch schools between fall and winter terms if I feel ICLP would suit me better.

The admissions department of ICLP said they encourage students to begin in the fall term but accept students who begin in other terms. They mentioned there’s a certificate for those who study from fall to summer, although the value of the certificate depends on who your future employer / place of study is.

My main motivations for studying Mandarin full time are:

  1. To allow me to forge better friendships and relationships with people using Mandarin.

  2. To challenge myself in a new way.

  3. Possibly to use Mandarin in a future job.

I have two questions for the Forumosa community:

  1. Has anyone ever taken either of these courses? Any thoughts or feelings on them?

  2. Does anyone feel there is a clear disadvantage to starting the ICLP course in the winter term as opposed to the fall term?

Many thanks - sorry this is such a long post!

PJ :slight_smile:

I took the 3 quarter (fall to spring) ICLP program 12 years ago and found it very worthwhile. My Chinese greatly improved to almost native level fluency (although I wasn’t a beginner to start with so your mileage may vary). But it really depends how disciplined & serious you are about it. 4 hours of class per day is standard (4 different 1 hour classes) but I also put in about 4 hours of homework every single night.

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I studied at Tzu Chi’s CLC five years ago. Here’s a bit of my experience, for what it’s worth:

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Hi Steve,

Thanks a lot for sharing your encouraging post. I’m currently feeling pretty worried about everything, I guess because I want to make a decision I’ll be satisfied with. I’m prone to worrying about things so it’s good to hear from you guys to put my mind at ease. It sounds like you put a lot in and got a lot out of the course.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Hi FangLang,

Thank you for your comment. It’s great to hear you had such a worthwhile experience there. It sounds like a great course.


I will start at Tzu Chi in September. I have studied Mandarin before, and after doing a skype interview with the school they suggested I start at level two. I picked Tzu Chi and to study in Hualien for three reasons: the opportunities to hike and fish, the cheap rental prices (5000-7000) for a nice studio, and the lack of English speakers which will force me to speak Mandarin.

I have to say, those sound exactly like the reasons I chose Tzu Chi. Good luck in your studies and enjoy the awesome east coast!

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Thanks Steve

I can’t wait.

ICLP …It’s a lot of money but money doesn’t raise your level of Mandarin, you do.
Be your own ICLP. And acquiring Mandarin ability is a marathon not a sprint.
*Spend too much early on and you compromise your ability to keep at it. You may study Mandarin 10 years daily before You ever earn a penny from it. In that time, you could accomplish other things with a higher ROIl Above all, remember this


Why would anybody want to be Chinese in Taiwan in the first place? :thinking:

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