Should I bother...?

I’m wanting to gain something practical out of another language. I’m only fluent in my own native English language. I’m definately not wanting to stay here more then 1 year and will be leaving Taiwan in August. (in 9 months)

I have my degree back in Canada in Computers but I’m too obsessed with Travel to settle down in a computer job. I’m trying to find work in Western Europe after here so I can learn a European language.

Okay, I’m just blabbing on now… What I’m wondering is, should I be spending money on actual Chinese classes in a school if I know I’m not staying any longer then 9 more months? Will it be worth it? Or should I just spend money on some more books and CDs to gain a better understanding and confidence of this Chinese language?

Or my second option would be to forget Chinese altogether now and just concentrate on studying the European language?


I would say don’t bother. Chinese is awfully difficult; 9 months of desultory study won’t do much. You also don’t need it to live comfortably here.

For me, learning to speak, read, and/or write Mandarin well requires a deep commitment to hard-core study and burning desire to know.

I don’t think it is worth it to study Mandarin unless you are going to learn it well.

If you have to ask whether it is worth it or not, I’d say you already have your answer.

I guess I’m just not expressing myself as well as I would like. :unamused:

I do have a strong desire to know the language, I find the Chinese spoken and written language very interesting! Everytime I see some Chinese characters, I get overwhelmed and say to myself “how can anyone learn what those say?!”.

I’m just wondering if I should continue studying Chinese for the next 9 months or if I should get a head start studying the European language that I will probably use far more then I will ever use Chinese. (unless I can find a use for what Chinese I learn in these 9 months of course)

When I start a project or hobby, I do go hard-core all the way until I’m satisfied. That being said, I’m only teaching about 5 hrs a week and can devote all day, every day from now on to the Chinese language… and I’m sure I’ll love doing so! :slight_smile:

My advice is to pick a language and stick to it. If you are just here to work, what is the point of learning chinese? Instead of spending money on Chinese lessons, cds, books, etc., teach more classes and save your money for Europe.

Thanks for the replies. :slight_smile:

I’ve tried teaching in front of a large group of students for 3 months and had to quit. haha I just can’t stand being in front of many people, so I only do that once a week for a 2hr class now. Other then that, it’s just one-on-one teaching. I can’t just teach more classes since I don’t want to do the usual in a school teaching job anymore.

This is why I have a lot more time on my hands now. My wife is still teaching full-time and I have my resident visa through her. I get to stay at home and just study Chinese all day. :wink:

Ultimately, I want to have conversational ability in Chinese and another European language. I need English and 1 other European language in order to apply for any computer jobs in Europe.

Maybe I will go hard-core into Chinese for the next couple months and see how I progress. It would be helpful if I could use Chinese to help me get a job in the Travel industry or use it with computers in some way. Any suggestions?

I don’t know what I should do next either. I am kind of hungry but it is ten o’clock already and some peole say that you shouldn’t eat after ten o’clock. However, I am afraid that last weeks sushi might go bad if I don’t eat it tonight. The other thing that I need advice on is, do you think I should have a bath before or after I eat (if I eat at all) and should I brush my teeth or not? Your suggestions would be much appreciated even though whatever you suggest I will be sure to do the opposite, unless I get contradictory advice of course in which case I will do nothing. Thanks.

You will NOT be able to speak, read and write Chinese in nine months! :noway: Save your money for Europe.

Yes you could, depends on the person. IF you got the time and money, why not. Just don’t go to Shida or any other school where you have to throw down money for three months at a time. I’d suggest 1-1 classes 2-5 times a week (2 hours) and see how they go (try a month on for size). Try the Mandarin Daily News (my favorite place).

You can make a lot of progress in nine months, but I kind of agree with Tomas that if you’re asking that question it’s already answered. I was a Chinese studying fiend for about 8 months straight and didn’t have to think twice about it.

Another thing to consider is if you’re leaving soon and don’t get setup to continue practice you’ll lose a lot of it.

Wow, Bob! Please leave your excessive sarcasm for another thread. It’s of no use with me.

What’s it hurting by asking these questions anyway? I’m just starting to study the language. I could be just like miltownkid and be a Chinese studying fiend for the next 9 months straight without a second thought.

I am doing private language exchange with 2 taiwanese girls from the local university at least twice a week for 3hrs each timie. I will spend another 6hrs a day studying on my own.

I’ve thought about it and think I do have my own answer. I’m in the middle of this great country with a culture and language that I love. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be immursed in the language, so I’d probably regret it if I weren’t studying Chinese while I’m here!

Please let me know if there’s a closer school then the Mandarin Daily News in Taipei.

going anywhere for nine months, i would want to have a bit of the language. what’s a few bucks for some books? forget writing Chinese though. since you seem to have at least a spark of interest, i would say don’t dither, go for it. who knows, you may end up staying longer than you thought, it has been known to happen.

So anyway thanks for the advice. I’ve decided to eat the sushi and then throw it back up (in case it has gone bad). After that I will brush my teeth and then have a bath even though I know that tomorow I will have to brush my teeth again for sure. I will probably have to take a bath again as well. Baths are like that. If you don’t keep up with them you start to smell after a while so hoepfully you find some way to take baths that you find enjoyable. That way you can keep up with it and not wind up smelling like week old sushi.

Why not study the language as long as you live in a Chinese environment? It will cost you time and money, but it’s not all wasted if you keep continuing your studies whereever you go. Who sais one cannot learn two or more languages at the same time? If you’re fairly intelligent I’d just give it a try.

What other European language are you studying?

Yes, you should definitely learn what you can while you’re here. You might even get hooked and keep on when you go to Europe. I know it takes time and effort but almost everyone who started the journey is glad they did.

Remember, that some places in Europe have a lot of Chinese people. Wouldn’t it be nice to go and order your Chicken Fried Rice in Berlin using Mandarin and apologise, saying ‘Sorry, I know my Mandarin sucks… but it’s better than my German!’ :laughing:

You will also get a lot more patience and leeway as a monoglot English-speaker if they know you speak Chinese. 'Hey, his Dutch / German / French / Spanish / Czech / Latvian isn’t up to much… but [color=red]he speaks Chinese![/color] :bravo:

If I were living in a coutnry for even 9 months, I would want to study the language. You can learn a lot in 9 months if you live in the environment. Including reading and writing. But them I’m a language nut.

If you’re truly dedicated and have the time (and have some knack for the language), you can get pretty far in nine months, including writing.

After nine months of study in the states (which doesn’t take you too far) and maybe three months or so studying out here, I could discuss maybe 95% of ‘typical’ conversational topics, even if I did still sound a little like Forrest Gump. ‘Typical’ includes stuff like politics, history, whatever (of course at that point I didn’t know a lot of the more advanced vocab, but you learn to get around that, maybe using simpler words to explain a more abstract idea).

In other words, its well worth it if you have the time and inclination.

Thanks for all the great replies! :slight_smile:

Kategelan, I never thought of it like that! :laughing:

In my small city, I’ve found one University to study Chinese at:

When they say $140NT/hour for 4 or more students and $360NT/hour for 1on1 class, what does that exactly mean? Does it mean that if I want to pay the $140, I need to find 3 other people who will take the class with me? Or does it just mean that I will be in a class that happens to have a few other foreigners studying Chinese at the same time?

I’m studying at home for a couple hours everyday and I have language exchange 4 days a week for a couple hours each time. If I’m using the same books as the school, is it worth paying the money to actually enroll and attend the school classes or will I learn just as much on my own at this pace?

Thanks again… :wink:

After nine months of study in the states (which doesn’t take you too far) and maybe three months or so studying out here, I could discuss maybe 95% of ‘typical’ conversational topics, even if I did still sound a little like Forrest Gump.[/quote]

I still sound like Forrest Gump… :frowning: …and I’ve been living here almost four years! But, on the other hand, it doesn’t stop me prattling on. :laughing:

On a positive note, I think that nine months of intensive study will break the back of learning Chinese for you. It’s after that point that it gets hard not to completely plateau out. I learned almost all my Chinese in the first year. My listening has improved since then, and my reading. But I’m not much more fluent… and that’s despite working in a Mandarin environment since then.

If you have nine months under your belt here I am sure you can build on that wherever you go.

Sorry Miltownkid, I should rephrase myself. You CAN learn a lot in nine months! Just don’t expect to be able to read and write everything you want! I hope this clarifies my first post. :notworthy:

I just got back from Chia-yi and bought the Far East Everyday Chinese book 1 with the Textbook, Student Workbook and CDs. I must say that I’m feeling the CD was a waste of $600 since the 2 people are speaking quickly from one excercise to the other like they have something better to do asap. It would be nice if they would repeat the Chinese word at least once or twice before moving on. (This is why I love the Pimsleur series!)

I bought the CD for Far East Everyday Chinese Book 1, but it turns out that it’s only for the excercises in the textbook and doesn’t include any of the readings or excercises for the workbook. This is the only CD I’ve found in 4 different cities.

Anyways, finished the first lesson (out of 12) and moving on… :wink: