Yes I have experience in immersion learning.
My native language is russian and I learn english this way when I came to US,… of course it was much longer period. But each time I visited Taiwan (5 times) before, even 1-2 weeks and trying to communicate with parents in law and just on the street, suddenly at the end of my stay I discovered that I picked up few words and sentences.
But nonetheless I appreciate your advices.
[quote="cranky laowai"]Have you already learned languages (other than your native one) through the sink-or-swim approach? If so, maybe you have a talent for languages and you could through some miracle get by.
But … even if the whole immersion-without-any-guidance approach were any good – and I think you’d do much better with something more traditional programs, certainly in the early stages – you do know, don’t you, that temples in the mountains (as opposed to, say, Longshan Temple in Taipei) tend to be quiet places? Not a lot of talking going on. And even if there were, one wonders just how useful the vocabulary you might pick up would be for life outside the temple.
I suppose there’s the possibility, too, that people there wouldn’t speak primarily Mandarin and you’d end up with Taiwanese and maybe some Hakka.
Basically: If you want to volunteer at a temple in the mountains because you want to be at a temple in the mountains, then go ahead. But as far as language-learning plans go, [/quote]