Where can I find a one year chinese course?

Hi.
I really want to go study in Taiwan for one year after I’m done with high school, and I have a bit of problems finding a school… I don’t ace my classes, but I do decent, so I wondered if you could help me find a one year course where the requirments wasn’t too demanding.

Thanks. -André

I don’t think most schools care very much about your grades if you’re just going to study Chinese. At least NSYSU, the school I’m going to attend with beginning this fall, said they didn’t. So just do a bit of research on universities in Taiwan. You could start by looking for a city you like and then see what language centers there are, I’m sure you’ll find something.

Just one thing. Most language centers don’t have programs extending over a full year, most have their years divided in quarters. Not a big issue, you just need to apply again every three months, but I just thought it’d be good for you to know.

You’re probably better off to sign up for quarters anyway – that way you can change schools during the year if you like.

Try to decide if you want to read and write characters or just speak. If you are not sure, make sure the first choice you pick does as its simpler to change from one that does to one that doesn’t, the other way round you will find yourself starting from scratch again. Shida is very good in my experience, they like a test though, but that seems to be the norm here. You have the option of 2 hours a day class time or 3 in a more intensive class. Both will allow you to get a visa. I did the 2 hour a day class at shida, that involved learning about 30 characters a week. In found it took a further 2 hours everyday to be ready for tests and to really learn the stuff. I have a friend whom has been at TLI for a year, the first 3 months in a group class, the rest in one to one lessons. He speaks very well. But characters he is way behind. I have found language exchange a good way to get the extra speaking time, and also as its not rigid
y text book its more relaxed. As iron lady said you can change schools, many do. My personal recommendation would be shida. If you need any more specific questions answered feel free to ask.

Another option is the Mandarin Learning Center of Chinese Culture University. I tried Shi-Da out (in 2005 or 2006), and found it a bit frustrating. When I was there about half of my classmates would use English when they couldn’t express themselves in Chinese. Quite a few of the Chinese teachers also used to be English teachers, and would sometimes chat with us in English. I tried Chinese Culture University’s Mandarin Learning Culture out, as it wan’t far from Shi-Da. I was happier there because most of my classmates couldn’t speak English. Many were from Korea, Japan, and other south east Asian countries, this forced us to use Chinese to communicate, and in my eyes made a great deal of difference. After class some of us would go for a coffee and continue chatting in Chinese. I also liked the teachers there better, as few of them bothered to show off their English. I wasn’t impressed with the textbooks at either place though.

Even if you don’t fancy Chinese Culture University - it may be worth your while asking where the majority of your classmates will be coming from. If you can get in with a bunch of none English speakers, your Chinese could benefit a lot. Chances are the only people who are going to be willing and patient enough to speak with you in Chinese (for free and for longer periods of time) will be students on a similar level. Of course a lot native speakers of Chinese may offer you language exchanges, but that’s another story all together.

Another option might be a Rotary year abroad, as a high school student in a Taiwanese high school. I’m not sure of the details but I know folks who’ve done that and enjoyed it.