FeirenOne problem is that the people in these programs (faculty and students) are True Believers in Chinese culture. In their world view, a foreigner is simply incapable of penetrating the ineffable mystery of it all. This is evidenced most clearly when he has the temerity to ask questions. Another problem is that most of the pre-modern faculty in literature or history are actually philologists, not historians or literary scholars that you would find teaching those subjects in North America.
I realized that that deep insatisfaction I have with my learning Chinese here in Taiwan is shared, not just a product of the bad experiences I had while studying at MTC. I am quite jealous of the skills my fellow coworkers who have studies abroad -they did a couple of Chinese courses in say, Germany- as compared to mine and even some other people who studied for longer time/further levels here. Really peeved, as expectations go.
It has ocurred to me that maybe my Western mind needs something different. I have developed a physical aversion for the same old recycled books -if I see one more Taiwan Today or whatever reading old stuff I'll be sick- and if any instructor ever tells me again it is not necessary for me to know/learn something because "I won't use it/I can't understand it because I am not Chinese", I'll grow violent.
So, since all the institutes here follow the same bible-like texts, let's think out of The Island. What options are there? I'd rather sit 3 months abroad and make some progress as opposed of this downgradded slopped I'm slipping on. Heck, I'd even risk China if they let me in. Eventually, I'd like to go to Monterrey and get any piece of paper from there, but I need to improve my Chinese language skills. Suggestions?