Strategies for part-time work/study

Hi, this is my first post… I wasn’t sure if this should go in “Learning Chinese”, “Teaching in Taiwan”, or perhaps “Silly questions the poster should have searched for,” but here goes…

I am planning to move to Taipei later this year, hopefully in late September or October. My primary motivation is to learn Mandarin. That being said, I am a bit hesitant to just enroll in a university and study full-time, as financially I just don’t have the savings to swing it. Ideally I’d like to get a part-time job teaching English, and leave enough free time to do some meaningful study as well.

I guess I’m just looking for any reactions other forumosans might have to this plan… Is it realistic to find a job at like $600/hr, maybe 15-20 hrs/week, and still have the energy and brainpower to attend Mandarin classes and make real progress?

What have you done to balance your financial and educational goals?

Thanks very much in advance, I’ll be looking to this thread with great interest as I try to figure out what it is I’m doing!

Hi dong bu ting, and welcome to Forumosa!

If money is a problem but you have very strong self-discipline, you can go the self-study route. I worked part-time, studied on my own with books, tapes, local roommates and language exchange partners, and managed to become reasonably fluent without attending courses. A lot of people work PT and attend classes PT too. It’s certainly possible.

One key is to hang out with locals who don’t speak English. Immerse yourself – don’t go the lazy route and get English-speaking roomies and friends.

BTW, there have been many discussions on this topic in the past; the search function is broken right now, but if you scroll through the first few pages of the Learning Chinese forum I’m sure you can find quite a bit to read.

Best of luck! :rainbow:

I worked 3-10pm in shitty cram schools and hated it, but it enabled me to get a conversational level of spoken Mandarin in two years (self study) and pay off some university debts. I was in the sticks, with few English-speakers around, which also helped my language, if not my sanity.

I’m not sure I’d recommend this route to others, though. I had a goal and I achieved it, but it was far from being the most pleasant two years of my life.

Hi Dragonbones,
Thanks for the quick reply! Yeah, I’ve been sort of thinking that self-study is what I’m going to end up with… I lived in Tokyo for a while and learned a lot of Japanese with Pimsleur, some books, and a very patient girlfriend. Do you know how much it might cost to hire a tutor for some one-on-one sessions? Is it somewhere in the $500-600/hr range?

I’m thinking that pronunciation is going to be my biggest hurdle (no surprise), so I’d like to have a trained person be able to help me at least accelerate my “sounding like a complete and utter imbecile” phase. Also a little bit of structure (assigned homework, or topics I know I’ll need to have studied) would probably go a long way for me, in terms of my own self-discipline.

Roughly, yeah. Once you are ready, you can probably find some references for good ones here too.