ShiDa good for beginners?

Anybody know how Shida (in Taipei) is for beginners? Do you recommend it for that level?

If you have the money, it’s ok. It gives you structure that a lot of the cheaper schools don’t. If you’re motivated, disciplined and have clear goals, you could probably do the same on your own or at one of the cheaper schools. Yeah, I think it’s an ok place to start and since motivation and discipline aren’t necessarily part of the make-up of most of us, I’d recommend it. You may find that after you’ve studied there for a couple of semesters, you are ready to go out on your own. The key is getting started.

The big problem with Shida is that their class sizes have gotten to be so big. A class of more than five students is not conducive to learning a second language, but they’ve got classes now of 15-20 students … definitely not a good environment for learning, especially if you’re a beginner.

Wow! I had no idea. When I studied there, class size was limited to five students. Now it’s 15-20? On second thought, it probably isn’t the best place to start.

Hi there…

well i’m at Shi Da now and there are only 10 of us in my class…

in London i’ve been in classes with 25-30 which can be a bit ridiculous… a class of 5 or less would be great but a bit out of my budget…

Im on the second book (xia level) the atmosphere in our class is really good but i think this depends more on your teacher and class mates.

…This is only my first semester here … so i can’t really compare it to any other courses in Taipei

Its a well known fact though so i probably dont need to point it out but in case you dont know - their admin s*cks though…

Only 10 students? Like I said, for learning a second language, anything more than five students is bad. When I was at Shida about 6 months ago, the director was talking about how their Mandarin Training Center had to start operating like a buxiban: more students, bigger classes, less teachers, and more money. I also had about 10 students in my class when I was there, but it was a Level 8 literary Chinese class, so speaking wasn’t really important for us, but for the beginner and intermediate levels, speaking and interaction with the teacher is vital, and you can’t get enough of that when there are more than 5 students.

I believe the classes at NTU (Taida) are smaller, maybe 5 or less, and you also get 4 hours per day instead of just 2 at Shida, for only NT $2,000 more than Shida per semester. That’s quite a bargain. Anyway, that might be a better place to check out, although I don’t think they have as wide a variety of courses as Shida.

I guess things change but when I was at ShiDa a year ago classes were 6-10 students. I started from nothing and stayed for 18 months (ran out of money).

Teachers (unlike the administration) are highly motivated, and they have to be. They are not tenured, they are on contract. Two bad terms in a row and they are out. I guess they go on to become teachers at second-tier schools after they are thrown out by ShiDa. Admin staff, on the other hand, have what is known as an “Iron Rice Bowl” and typify everything bad about government employees. Try to deal with them as little as possible.

Excellent school and students more interested in learning than in getting a Visa. Cut class and ShiDa WILL inform the police. If you are serious about learning Chinese then go to ShiDa, if you want to get a Visa and then cut a lot of classes, go elsewhere.

Highly motivated or not you will learn a lot at ShiDa.

If I had the chance to go back and redo things I’d go to ShiDa again. No regrets. I think it strange that anyone suggest you start at ShiDa and go elsewhere later, if I had the money I’d be there now. No other school has the kind of student numbers that ShiDa has and no other can offer the same range of courses, especially at the higher levels.

Thanks for this information. Do you have any further information? Links? Or can you point me in the right direction on the Tai Da campus where I can go in and ask about these classes?

Thanks, LittleBuddhaTW.

This is the website for Taida’s Chinese Language Center:

BTW, it looks now like they’re class are only 10 hours per week, so I guess they’ve cut back … but the class sizes are still guaranteed to be small (I think that’s the most important thing). Also, unlike Shida, they offer dorm accomodations for students in their Summer program.


I remember you mentioned that you would like to tutor students in Chinese. It’s a good time now to start your business.

Thanks, LittleBuddhaTW, for the link to the Tai Da site.


Included whole section.
-> Survive (left menu) -> Housing

"Because of the inadequate quotas of the university dormitory, only the students who belonged to the exchange program can have the right to apply for staying in the university dormitory. It is the Foreign Exchange Center in our university which in charge of this arrangement. The rest of the CLD students have to find their own accommodation off campus. Since our center is situated in the busy part of Taipei city, housing is very limited. The possibility of renting an apartment or a room during the beginning of the semester (September) is even lesser. Therefore it is best if students can arrive in Taiwan at least two weeks before the beginning of the course, so that they can have sufficient time to find a place for accommodation. At our university’s front gate or on the bulletin boards around campus, there are always advertisements of letting rooms or apartments, which can provide a very useful mean for students to find their own accommodation off campus. However, our center is not responsible in assisting students to find the suitable accommodation.

Our university will provide accommodation for students who attend the summer course offered by CLD. Our university’s International Youth Center will provide places for 20 students, while the male dormitory will provide a accommodation for 30 students. Students only have to pay a monthly payment of NT$3,000. This policy is under the “first come first serve” basis.

Accommodation for one month: from the 1st till the 31st of July/August"

Hello everyone!
Shidao is great.If you live faraway from the school,I’d advise studying by yourself either before or after class and take advantage of the utilities and the library. The lessons are 2 hours a day and you have the same teacher everyday for one semester.It’s one of the cheaper schools in Taipei and the teacher I have is v.good. If you combine studying at home with attending class, you’ll improve. Don’t expect amazing service when you try to enroll though. One bad point is the lesson pace may be a bit slow for some and those wanting to work on their conversation skills may be better off finding a language partner to complement their learning. I still recommend this school for someone who’s never studied Chinese before.

Forget about language exchange. Practise with your fellow students after class. Don’t hang out with anyone who has the same native language as you. The other students are in the same boat as you. When your listening sucks and they have to repeat themselves 5 times they will understand. They won’t use words you don’t understand because they are at the exact same point in the text book you are. Talking with other students is the best way to improve.

Heard Tai-Da is better now. But most people still go to Shi Da, becasue it was the better one.
But also heard Tai Da is more expensive.

Tai Da Tuition fees :frowning:10 hours

My first teacher was good,my second teacher much better.
I think doing language exchange compliments going to the school v.well.
Just attending class and studying at home is not enough.
Some teachers may use a little too much English or your classmates may so I would recommend getting used to a Chinese-only speaking atmosphere as soon as possible.
The teachers at Shida ARE good though!