University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby Tempo Gain » 12 Apr 2012, 00:17

Feiren wrote:You can try filing a complaint with the Taipei City Consumer Protection Office:

Tel. 1999 ext. 7812 or 1950 direct line (Taipei city ONLY) or 2728-7812

They are at Taipei City Hall.

Northeast Wing, 9F, 1, Shifu Road,Xinyi District,Taipei,11008, Taiwan, R.O.C.

You should go in person. Bring all relevant documents and lots of patience.


While you're there I'd hit up the Education Bureau as well. Same building. But I'd tell the school you're going to take those steps beforehand--they may have a change of attitude.
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby Petrichor » 12 Apr 2012, 02:30

MidgetWarden wrote:Hi its long but I need some helpful people please

I am new to the island and thought I would use the opportunity to learn some Chinese. Not to go on and do a course but just for myself to help me get around on a day to day basis.

I enrolled in a university a language school.


This was your first mistake. You aren't the first person I've heard of who needed beginner, functional Chinese and found they learned anything but that on a university course. The study of Chinese by foreigners here is usually assumed to be an academic pursuit and mimics the way that the educators learned their Chinese literacy at school. To learn useful Chinese quickly you will need to think carefully through exactly what you want to learn and be very assertive in directing the course of your learning yourself. Do not assume that the person teaching you will understand and cater to your needs.

There are quite a few texts with CDs available for self-study in the bookshops whereby you can learn literacy at a pace that suits you, and small conversation classes at language centres to develop your speaking and listening. You can also use language exchange partnerships, but again you will need to be assertive about getting what you want/need out of it. Many potential partners will want to help you by going through a textbook when what you really need to know are things like how to ask for garbage bags at a 7-11.

MidgetWarden wrote:This is where I need the help understanding. It was the oddest experience to have people behave like they were above us and how dare we ask for our money back. And they shall decide if we are allowed to receive our money back even though they have did not supply us with the product. I don't know much about consumer law in Taiwan but if that happened in Europe you would be entitled to your money back. We find out tomorrow if we get any cash back But we are unsure of how to proceed if they refuse to give it back. What are our options in this case, we feel a bit like they think they can take advantage of us because we are foreigners which really pisses me off.

So if anyone can give us some advice on how to proceed, we want to continue learning Chinese and need the money back to facilitate it. Our visas are not attached to the language school. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers MW


Sorry, but this isn't true, not in the UK anyway. If you 'buy' a course from an educational institution you aren't entitled to your money back just because you aren't happy with the quality. You would have to get the college or whatever to agree that the course didn't match the description in the brochure or that the lecturer was always late or something like that. You can't just get your money back because you decided to drop out. So Taiwan isn't so different in this regard. But I do agree that morally you are completely entitled to a refund and hope you get one.
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby ironlady » 12 Apr 2012, 03:53

Generally, at a language center, the first recourse is to switch classes, not to get a refund. But the basic mis-match is between the way language centers teach and the way you need to acquire basic functional Chinese. At least some places are now claiming to teach conversation -- "back in the day" there was no option at all. Things will slowly improve, I suppose.
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University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby headhonchoII » 12 Apr 2012, 06:42

This is strange , you were not put in the correct beginners level class. Shi-Da NTU uses pinyin with Chinese characters for the first 6 months at least.
The problem comes down to the individual teachers sometimes aswell as being out into the wrong class. There are far more Asian students of Chinese now than beginner Western students, we are an endangered species.
The teaching of Chinese is decades behind teaching of other languages.
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby MidgetWarden » 12 Apr 2012, 12:37

Thanks for all the input guys. We had our sit down with the director today who agreed to refund us the 8 weeks remaining minus the administration fees which is really the best we could have hoped for to be honest. They didn't seem to take any of the points on board that we put forward and basically just thought the class was moving too fast for us and essentially we are bad students. We started to explain that's not the case but we didn't want to start an argument and wanted to stay civil as he seemed like a reasonable man and he had to listen to what the teachers had written ( 4 pages in one teachers case,back and front) so we agreed to disagree.

Also we could have asked to be switched to a private class which I am sure would have incurred an extra expense but to be honest the trust that they were not interested in our education and only our money was broken at this point. I doubt we would have gotten a refund if their wasn't 2 of us asking for the same reasons and gave the impression we would not be brushed off and the important fact our visas were not attached to the school. So lesson learned I suppose, make sure the lessons and classes are structured to your needs early on and make sure they give it to you all in writing.

I should mention we did use bopomofo for about 1 week also but this also went the way of pinyin after week 2. I must say I found pinyin a lot easier personally once you learn that you don't pronounce some letters etc but I have used bopomofo while writing what I wanted in a shop once or twice so its not wasted. I think the next step is to try and learn a little more on my own and then reexamine what my options are. I certainly think the writing is beyond my grasp at the moment. The 1 positive thing that has come from it is its given me the basic skills I need to start learning on my own. I really don't want this 1 experience put me off learning Chinese as I love being able to chat to random people as I go about my day.
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 12 Apr 2012, 15:12

Any chance you can tell us which language centre this is?
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby Feiren » 12 Apr 2012, 15:29

I can recommend some very good private teachers who know how to teach just conversation. PM me.



MidgetWarden wrote:Thanks for all the input guys. We had our sit down with the director today who agreed to refund us the 8 weeks remaining minus the administration fees which is really the best we could have hoped for to be honest. They didn't seem to take any of the points on board that we put forward and basically just thought the class was moving too fast for us and essentially we are bad students. We started to explain that's not the case but we didn't want to start an argument and wanted to stay civil as he seemed like a reasonable man and he had to listen to what the teachers had written ( 4 pages in one teachers case,back and front) so we agreed to disagree.

Also we could have asked to be switched to a private class which I am sure would have incurred an extra expense but to be honest the trust that they were not interested in our education and only our money was broken at this point. I doubt we would have gotten a refund if their wasn't 2 of us asking for the same reasons and gave the impression we would not be brushed off and the important fact our visas were not attached to the school. So lesson learned I suppose, make sure the lessons and classes are structured to your needs early on and make sure they give it to you all in writing.

I should mention we did use bopomofo for about 1 week also but this also went the way of pinyin after week 2. I must say I found pinyin a lot easier personally once you learn that you don't pronounce some letters etc but I have used bopomofo while writing what I wanted in a shop once or twice so its not wasted. I think the next step is to try and learn a little more on my own and then reexamine what my options are. I certainly think the writing is beyond my grasp at the moment. The 1 positive thing that has come from it is its given me the basic skills I need to start learning on my own. I really don't want this 1 experience put me off learning Chinese as I love being able to chat to random people as I go about my day.
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby Petrichor » 12 Apr 2012, 17:10

MidgetWarden wrote:
I should mention we did use bopomofo for about 1 week also but this also went the way of pinyin after week 2. I must say I found pinyin a lot easier personally once you learn that you don't pronounce some letters etc but I have used bopomofo while writing what I wanted in a shop once or twice so its not wasted. I think the next step is to try and learn a little more on my own and then reexamine what my options are. I certainly think the writing is beyond my grasp at the moment. The 1 positive thing that has come from it is its given me the basic skills I need to start learning on my own. I really don't want this 1 experience put me off learning Chinese as I love being able to chat to random people as I go about my day.


I'm glad you got your money back. I certainly wouldn't trust them to offer a better course either.

There are a lot of people on this board who feel that learning to hand write characters from memory isn't really a useful pursuit. It's very time-consuming and is something you rarely need to do. In my eight months here I've only ever had to write my name and address. If you're writing on a computer then there are programs that will supply the characters for you if you type in pinyin. One thing I do is read and write down what I'm reading, but I write in pinyin.

Others say that learning to write the characters really helps to remember them. It's up to you of course but it's something you may want to consider when thinking about your learning needs.
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby dan2006 » 13 Apr 2012, 06:07

I had the same problem with a school I went to (I bet you anything it was the same one). I felt like you had told my story exactly.

I had no issue with the schedule as the class was in the mornings, but it was packed with Koreans and people from panama/paraguay, some of which were disruptive in class and she allowed it. Then a few of them were able to pick up the language a bit faster, and so she would pander only to them and ignore the rest. I eventually changed schools, but didn't ask for a refund.

The teacher also felt that all Chinese should be spoken in rapid fire as a way to learn. They also turned off the pinyin really fast too and wouldn't allow English at all. The Koreans had no problem as they were taking notes in full characters all the way through, so much for a basic course. And her attitude also was that I wasn't studying enough, when I was sitting in the library for hours after every class practicing.

The language office upstairs was also pretty useless, and the manager there was no help at all. The only time they ever took an interest in me was when it was time for next semesters payment, but by this time I had changed to another school.
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Re: University Language Center Shafted me, not the fun shafted, the bad shafted

Postby MidgetWarden » 20 Apr 2012, 00:18

I would actually love to name and shame but I am assuming that could lead to some legal issues for the forum. That said if they shaft me on my refund you may see it on the local news :lol:
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