Where to Study Mandarin?

I’ve written it out before,

but just basically, in a nutshell, they’re only happy when they’re taking your money.

They have no concept of customer service. Teachers are gods and thus need to be treated as such even though I pay hard earned money.

In upper levels, they’re more concerned with niche Chinese cultural concepts over giving people a good basis for independent living/working. For example even though you’ve hit book 5, you know how talk about the olympics, yet have almost no independence for everyday things like newspapers, workplaces. You know at most a few colours and almost no shapes and other basic things like that are largely ignored.

When I complained, they kicked me out.

I was harassed by another student and they protected her by trying to move me out of the class.

When I was sick as a dog with gasteroenteritis, like, I was diarrhoeaing every 20 minutes. Not only did they refuse to let me take a leave (threatening to pull my student ARC) but tried to move me out of the class cause I couldn’t keep up while I felt like I was dying. Other students found that I was a disruption to them because I didn’t want them pushing the teacher to go faster than the curriculum in a non intensive class while I was seriously and dangerously ill AND working a part time job to afford it.

No matter if I was the ‘problem’ or victim, admin often picked on me.

Upper level classes usually mean westerners drop out because they run out of funds. Your classmates will be only Asian, meaning they have a head start and none of them will likely be the type to practise like the way Westerners do, instead getting 90s on tests because that’s all they know how to do, test. Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese in particular have a head start on cultural understanding and the Koreans and Japanese have head starts on character learning. So if you’re not a 90s student, the teacher will resent you for pulling down the average.

Oh don’t worry, Many, if not all of my Japanese classmates couldn’t speak worth shit. Because they didn’t practise and the school doesn’t value phonics or phonetic training…something that I excelled at. Taiwanese frequently note how weak my accent is in Taiwanese Mandarin.

My Chinese friends think my Taiwan Drawl 臺灣腔 is absolutely hilarious.

Exams are 1 hr and all of your learning may be centred on a single sentence for an entire unit/chapter. If you forget a character, all of your training is no longer represented. It’s not forgiving. You either have to be a 90s student or guess correctly. It doesn’t actually represent what you learned.

Japanese student: Laoshee! Laoshee! Tianchee Tai Le!

What do you mean the weather is happy!


Wow, sorry to hear that, and thanks for typing it out. What you said about knowing “how to talk about the olympics” really resonated with me. How is that going to help with finding a place to live or negotiating rent? Like seriously.

Exactly. Knowing the olympics doesn’t put food in my stomach.

Another was talking about ancient Chinese comedies. I get that they are important, but they are secondary as I am an Adult not living on foodstamps. I need to be independent and self sufficient first before I enjoy leisure activities.

I learned my accent by listening and copying the way my still-best-friend in Taiwan speaks on the phone. She is from Kaohsiung so I do sometimes lean on the thicker side, much to my Chinese friends’ in Canada amusement.

If you’re wondering, my 4s and my 10s sound the same, minus the tone.

When I was in Canada, I paid a visit to one of my Chinese friends. A harbiner. She was definitely amused.


You have ascended to the level of the Taiwanese

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Yeah, @meishijia has heard my Chinese. His is also really good.

Now gimme my green passport!


Kind of depends on your goals. Do you really want intense reading and writing and testing and then get the certified levels and things or you just want to kind of study what you want your own pace.

I liked Wenhua Jianguo. Did not like NTNU.

Also tried others that are more flexible and allowing you to focus on areas you want to focus on like reading and writing or just speaking and listening.

It’s kinda the same with me. But I’ve been told by my teacher that most Southerners have the same problem. When it comes to monetary matters though, I usually just write the numbers out after saying them.

What is wrong with you? You need to bust out the calculator with the $50 coin glued to it, punch the numbers in and spin it around.

:rofl: jokes.

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I write out the Chinese characters :slight_smile: Practice for me. Entertainment for the other side.


I would recommend Wenhua over NTNU. I did both like 15 years ago though so my information might be a bit outdated. :wink:

I started at NTNU in the beginner to intermediate courses and then did advanced at Wenhua. I liked Wenhua for better interaction with the teacher, not just going through book exercises, but group projects, smaller class sizes. The teachers really seemed to care whereas NTNU felt like a Chinese language mill - churn and burn.

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I liked studying at Tamkang university, they teach mandarin next to Dongmen station.


That’s my name for it. Taiwan Drawl.

I was referring to the characters. :slightly_smiling_face:

Whoops. Wasn’t paying attention. Shouldn’t forumosa and work

It’s my 職業毛病. :slightly_smiling_face:

It’s kinda ambiguous in like is it saying that Taiwan is strong or is it more “the Taiwan is strong with this one?” :wink:

Sorry. Post edited.

I would not recommend NTNU but it is the only one I did. The books teach me all the tourist spots of Taiwan and how friendly people are. I have a teacher who didn’t allow me to use Taiwanese Mandarin because in her view the real Mandarin is from China and Taiwan is part of Taiwan and we pay to learn Chinese Mandarin, even though she speaks more English than anything else: “American people coffee, burger. Chinese smart. You country very poor”.


Pioneer across street from Shida is where I started. Get 1:1 tutor 3 hours each day. They will be your employee. If you need to take a visa run, take it . Emphasize pronunciation and practical stuff from day 1. Practical stuff is how to fill out the visa form, get bank account, order in a restaurant, read bill etc.

if you want a different teacher, you tell Them because you are the boss. Group lessons are a waste of time. TLI is another private school

NTNU MTC will take your money and treat you like dirt. After Pioneer, I went there and left after 8 months

You can hire your own private teacher and not use any school. You can pay that teacher a fraction of what you pay a school. Whatever McDonald’s pays is what you could pay.

You have to be the boss. In Confucian society you will only rarely meet any authority figure who is reasonable and balanced and fair. If Chinese Taiwanese have a speck of authority they will condescend to you as if you were a farm animal.

(You have some counter examples of nice Confucian authority figures? Of course. Everyone has a few counter examples— to. Everything. Do they disprove the general rule? No. Are they representative of the population? Nope. They’re just outliers)