Which School? Which City?

I have been accepted to Chinese Culture University in Taipei and National Cheng Kung University in Tainan. Now I have to tell the scholarship office (TECO) which one I want to go to. Any thoughts?

Also, lately older people in my life have been asking me ‘what is all this leading to’? I am 32, don’t know what I want to do ‘when I grow up,’ and have been teaching ESL for a long time, and writing/reporting before that. I am interested in foreign languages and traveling. I teach as a means to an end except that as an adult ESOL teacher I am hardly getting by. I still live at home. My interim plan is this: I got a 2-month teaching position in Seoul for the summer (test prep). The idea was to do that, make some money, go to Taiwan and study Mandarin, and I hope, make some money on the side by tutoring/teaching English. (Will I get busted if I try to do this?)

All I’ve ever wanted to do was write books, but I am mature enough to know that I have to do something else to pay the bills and put away some savings. I just wish I knew what that was. I am rambling here, but my question is – if I carry out this interim plan (summer in Korea, school year in Taiwan), where could it lead?

What departments have you been accepted into? I attend NCKU. The department is the deal-breaker, really.

NCCU is up in the mountains. Lovely, apart from when it’s winter. NCKU’s in the middle of the city and everybody speaks English (though they all stop being able to speak English when your Chinese is better than their English… weird). Milder winters, though still cold as hell for me.

I didn’t realize Taiwan got cold weather. But what about the programs and the lifestyle in each place? Where do you study if I may ask?

I realized I didn’t answer your question – I have been accepted to Mandarin Language Centers at both schools (non-degree).

Do you already have at least a four-year university degree?

What passport(s) do you have?

You are less likely to be busted for tutoring than teaching.

I’m studying a degree at NCKU, used to study at their Mandarin Language Center and I liked it alot. It’s gotten a lot more demanding than when I was there, but it’s still a good place to be with great teachers.

I don’t know much about CCU.

And yes, it gets cold in Taiwan!!! Our cold down here in Tainan is about 14C, and dry. We had a really cold winter, though, and it got down to 8 one day (with a few days of 11C). At least it doesn’t rain much during the winter, though; it was around 10C and drizzling one day, I don’t remember ever being as cold in my life as when I rode my scooter to school that day.

You’ll have a year of Chinese classes, which means you’ll have a smattering of Chinese. You won’t be fluent, most likely. You won’t be able to read a newspaper. You won’t be able to become a translator or get a great job in business because you know Chinese. (These are mostly famous quotes one hears at the NTNU Language Center each September, not trying to ascribe them to you.)

If you don’t know what to do now, spending another year in Taiwan is not going to open substantial doors nor (most likely) facilitate some sort of revelation on your part. You’ll be a year older and won’t have acquired any usable skills (although basic Chinese might or might not have some value to you somewhere.)

Chinese is something, IMO, to study only if you feel compelled to do so through deep interest or love fo the language. The investment of time that’s necessary, given the way it’s taught, is enormous if you want to get to the point where you have real usable skills. When you do, you’ll find that you’re competing either with people who are bilingual from birth and have other useful qualifications like MBAs and so on, or that the market has moved to Mainland China (as is increasingly the case for translation work). I’m not saying you might not have a nice time for a year, might not meet some interesting people or even get married or something, or might not think of something else to do. But I doubt you’d suddenly have an epiphany about the major direction your professional life is going through attending a Taiwanese language school for a year. It’s too easy to get insulated and drawn into the comforting routine of memorization and class attendance, with a little easy living thrown in (no cooking if you don’t want to, no pressure about money, nice weather.) But at the end of the year, I think you’ll be in much the same situation you are in right now, minus your tuition money.

Of course, I have a reputation for being cynical about these things. :stuck_out_tongue:

Cranky Laowai - I have a BA in psychology. My passport is an American one. Ironlady, those are all valid points. Although I have to say, while I never thought a year in Taiwan could make me proficient enough to get work using the language, it is a bit of a downer. Perhaps I’ll just stay home. Not sure yet.

I totally sympathize with where you’re at with not knowing what you want to do. After doing Chinese for nearly 30 years, I’m racking my brains for something else to do, but not coming up with much. I would just worry that if you didn’t have a compelling reason to learn Chinese, it would just be a year’s delay of facing the inevitable. Plus, with work permits getting tighter and tighter, there are few opportunities available in Taiwan beyond what you’ve already been doing for some time. If you’re going to sell English, might as well go to the Middle East, where you’ll be paid much better for doing so.

The ME is out. I’m a Jew.

A personal question, but have you ever been outside of the house? As in, have you lived in the dorms back in your college life or ever studied abroad? I ask this because even though it is ‘just one year’ you can learn a lot about yourself. I myself have gone through a similar experience studying abroad in Asia for a year, but that entire experience has changed me and how I view my current life and my goals. A year of just being able to sit back, relax, and think on my own terms and what I want out of life.

I have been back for a year now at the age of 22 (turning 23) and I can’t wait to graduate this year to see where it all takes me. Non of this thinking would have came to me if it weren’t for that one year. Drastic, but for me, I’ve always lived at home, and it was exactly what I needed. I say, go for it.


Yes. I taught English in Japan for a little over a year. I am 32. That was about six years ago already. It can be a great experience.

So, have you made a decision yet?

I am still waiting to hear if I got the scholarship and am weighing the whole thing against some other options, but I chose CCU over NCKU.