I would say trying to learn to read or write Chinese is a waste of time for almost anyone. But speaking it isn’t that difficult. I was able to have pretty basic conversations in Chinese in about 4 months of being here. Without going to any classes. By the time I had been here a year I had a girlfriend who couldn’t speak a word of English and for the most part we didn’t have problems communicating. I did go to a teacher to learn my buh, puh, muh, fuhs. So that I could get my pronounciation right. I suggest you make sure your teachers Chinese is up to par. As it is now I often jokingly correct locals pronounciation…on things like saying 44, or hot…ect. I have a friend who studies written Chinese and I see him every day at school writting characters. So I asked him “Are these new characters that you are learning?” and he replied “No, these are old ones…I need to practice them for an hour a two a day so I don’t forget.”. I’m not willing to give up two hours a day for the rest of my life just to not forget something.
So the point is I think you can learn a shit load of Chinese in 9 months. But it’s probably better not to waste time with reading and writting. And find someone who can actually speak good Chinese to help you with your pronounciation…and that discludes 80% of the people in Taiwan.