Thoughts on MTC Shida?

I'm planning to attend the 2 month summer term at the Mandarin Training Center at Shida. I've already submitted the AIDS test, the financial statement, the college transcript, my credit report, good citizen record and the mandatory sacrificial virgin, and gotten my acceptance letter. I'm going in for the placement test on Friday.

Now my Chinese is pretty good, so I’d like to get into a higher level, probably 6-7 on their scale of 9. My special circumstance is that I work all day, so I’ve no choice but to go for the evening slot. Guess I’ll find out soon if there are enough applicants at my level and with my schedule.

I’ve gotten tired of the Buxiban scene, and while I have a great private instructor, I hate the hit & miss of looking for a quiet corner at a Barista. Plus Shida does have a certain reputation, and I’d like to judge it for myself.

Any tips, suggestions, gotchas, warnings, from veterans of MTC?


If you’ve already submitted all that stuff, I guess go ahead, but I don’t see anything different between Shita and any other language center. They are all alarmingly homogenized. If it were me, I’d just choose the one that’s cheapest and/or most geographically proximate to wherever I happened to be, especially as visa issues don’t seem to matter in your case.

You will more likely make out just as well or better with your private teacher (IMHO). With your tutor you have the luxury of thinking deeply about your own goals and directions and imposing these on your “class”; at Shita you will slog through a pre-set curriculum, unless you pay the big bucks for a one-on-one.

They are supposedly testing out a “new method” this summer, but it’s something a teacher made up him/herself (“S/he [can’t remember which] goes to Beijing a lot and…” was the answer I got when I inquired as to which method it was.) I’m not holding my breath, personally.

[quote=“ironlady”]If you’ve already submitted all that stuff, I guess go ahead, but I don’t see anything different between Shita (Shida) and any other language center … They are supposedly testing out a “new method” this summer … quote]

thanks ironlady,

Asking for an evening newspaper reading class in a group or 2-on-1 arrangement seems to be such a ridiculous request as to solicit laughter followed by vigorous headshaking, at Pioneer, TLI and all the other buxiban’s I’ve asked. Hence my resort to Shida.

Will try to find out more about new method at MTC.

I attended Shida for six months two years ago. The teaching method in my experience was to shovel information at you, leave it to you largely as to how to assimilate it and then test you regularly to see how well it had all worked out.

Reading and writing Chinese characters was emphasized. Conversation skills were not.

The instructors were concerned and hard-working but actual teaching methods seemed primitive. There seemed to be a strong testing culture as if passing tests is the prime goal of local education. Covering as much territory as fast as possible rather than patient, repetitive assimilation seemed to me to be a core problem.

I’m teaching myself Chinese now with help from native Chinese speakers and that – as wanting as it inherently is – is the most effective method I’ve found so far.

Did you try guoyu ribao (the Mandarin Daily news)? I plan on asking them about creating my own class and having someone there teach it for me. I have a good felling that things should work out the way I want them to. You can also choose to have class 5, 3 or 2 days per week and their scheduling is very flexable. The price is good too (I paid 3,600 for this month). Just a thought.

Tell me more, what are the locations, are they any different from other language centers?


There’s already a whole thread dedicated to it. I’m taking classes there now and have a feeling that they follow the same teaching styles of shida (good or bad?). I was planning on going to shida in september, but if I stay satified at guoyu ribao I’ll just stay there.[CLICK HERE] for the other thread and more details.

I spent 3 months at shida, and will go back in september. i was completely satisfied, until my teacher left to work in germany, i ended up up with with an old battle axe by the name of Gao.
They do move quickly there and you haave to be pretty sharp to keep up. i was the only english speaker in my class which helped, as all the other students actually worked here and use chinese everyday. i cant say that i totally assimilated everything and there was a week or two in which i felt like it was going over my head. the school is there to plant the seeds, i did most of my learning outside of the classroom and on the street. this helps to fill in the blanks.
the school and the materials are fine…they at least employ people with correct pronounciation but it is pot luck as to whether you get a good teacher or not

Thanks for the replies. I did stop by Mandarin Daily News last nite. The place looks nice, more spacious and clean than the typical buxiban’s, but they don’t have any advanced group classes either in the evening. Instead I got the standard sales pitch for one-on-one.

Here I come Shida.

Just a “devil’s advocate” sort of question, but if you were in the West, say, in the US, and signed up and paid money for a language course, would you settle for “the school is only there to plant the seeds”?

I don’t think any sort of language school in the West could survive if the level of student satisfaction with goal orientation, instructional techniques, and materials were at the low level we seem to see in Taiwan. Individual teachers are often praised, but institutions seldom seem to be, which would indicate to me that there’s a systemic problem which should be addressed.

i see your point iron lady but we are talking 10 hours a week class time as opposed to a full time university course here. shi da generally attracts serious students and excludes ‘visa-students’ with its higher prices. this provides a more conducive atmosphere for learning than the other schools that are full of jokers who roll in once or twice per week so that they can stay in the country.
they move a little quickly at shi da but it is preferable to labouring over the same stuff for an eternity like my housemate who was at cld…who incidently learned fuck all in six months there.
i agree, quality is lacking in taiwan, and thiss applies to almost everything here. someone here reffered to this aas ‘chabuduo-ism’

and before the spelling and punctuation nazis aarrive…my keyboard is totally buggered thus making me even less likely to be bothered to make any sort of effort

anyway, im saving up for a trip to beijing univerity to see if they can do it right.

Shi Da is a gamble. You might get a good teacher. You might not. But you will be treated like you’re five years old, and you will pay a lot.

I did the newspaper course in 1995 and it was very good with one particular teacher (40s, Taiwanese) and awful with some old git from Beijing (90s) - I couldn’t make out a word he said.

I’m into my 2nd week at Shida, and quite happy. I was originally placed in my 2nd choice timeslot, which was really not an option for me (why did I specify a 2nd choice? maybe I was curious what would happen…), but I didn’t encounter any resistance in switching to a 6:30pm class. This in spite of the fact that their paperwork, handed out after registration, states that conflict with work schedule is not a valid reason for class changes.

There’s a world of difference between Shida and the average Buxiban. The difference is not the teaching methods, which are fundamentally the same for all language learning everywhere. It is in the environment and the student body. I’m a sucker for a clean, spacious classroom, and the peace of mind I get from knowing that the audio-visual room down the hall was not a bathroom in a former life. The fact that classes are taught up on the 8th floor, with a nice view of the hills to the south, or the school grounds, rather than a dark alley jammed with clotheslines, is also a plus. The people in my group are serious about learning, and mostly manage to make it on time, and amazingly, never get the impulse to bring their dinner to class!

I’m curious why Hexuan said Shida treats its students as 5 year olds. I suppose the hold-your-hand style orientation might put off the average expat roughneck, but I’m sure it’s a nice safety net for the first-time-in-Taiwan exchange student. I don’t even mind subsidizing some of the services I never will use, I get a studious group of mostly Asian classmates in return.

ps: despite the subject of this post, i will not make this a regular report :wink: