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Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

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Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby dorik » 06 May 2012, 01:53

Hi, Canadian here (and first-time poster)!

I just won the HES to learn Chinese for one year in Taiwan. Right now, I'm considering either NTNU or TKU's Chinese Language Centre. Does anyone have experience with these schools? Are there any other's you would recommend? I need to study 15 hours per week, and my budget is a bit tight.

Thanks!

EDIT: I should have searched before posting. Sorry about that.
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby Kuai » 07 May 2012, 04:37

Congrats on the scholarship! Canadian here as well, just wondering what office you had applied too for the scholarship?

I'm eagerly waiting to hear back from the Vancouver office! Sure is nerve wracking, hope I get it as well :D
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby dorik » 07 May 2012, 04:44

Congrats on the scholarship! Canadian here as well, just wondering what office you had applied too for the scholarship?

I'm eagerly waiting to hear back from the Vancouver office! Sure is nerve wracking, hope I get it as well


Thanks! I applied to the TECO in Ottawa. Best of luck! Keep in touch if you win, we might be able to help each other out if we get lost in Taiwan or something.
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby Kuai » 07 May 2012, 04:58

For sure! I think I'll be going to NTNU if I get it.
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby California » 07 May 2012, 22:45

If you want to waste your time and do nothing, try NTNU (Shi-Da) or CLD or Chinese Cultural University or whatever.


If you want to learn Mandarin go to ICLP.
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby ironlady » 07 May 2012, 23:18

There is nothing magical about ICLP.

ANY program depends on a couple of factors: the individual luck of the draw as to your teacher, the chemistry in your group, and your own efforts. You clearly control that last factor -- but you should also remember that IMO there are other aspects to a living-abroad language study experience than simply book learning. So working hard, but not excessively, would be best IMO.

The methodology used and the materials are pretty much the same across language centers in Taiwan. I'd pick the school in the place you want to be, or if you think money will be tight, pick the less expensive school (not sure how the whole tuition vs. stipend thing works, sorry.) But the idea that you'll "only" really learn Mandarin at ICLP is absurd.
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby Teddoman » 12 May 2012, 05:17

An intensive language program can help make up for deficiencies in a student's own self-motivation and self-discipline. And most young students don't really have much self-motivation and self-discipline. But ironlady is right, classes are just tools. It's the learner that makes the difference.
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby rhizome » 14 May 2012, 02:39

Hello everyone,

I applied for a Huayu scholarship for the summer and will be studying at Shi-Da's MTC for three months. I am very excited, but I have to say I am very nervous about the level of the classes, especially seeing comments like the above.

I took Chinese at college in the US (Bard College) and the classes were excellent. I am a good language learner, and very motivated, and I made great progress there. After 2 years of courses (including a Bard summer program in Qingdao) I went to Shanghai and studied at Fudan.

I was very, very disappointed by the classes. Absurd amounts of new vocab everyday, which were mostly impractical. Boring textbooks. The teacher spent 99% of the time talking. I ended up importing my own books (an intermediate level book from an American series I had been using before) and hiring a student to teach me twice a week. Still, I didn't make the progress I wished for. Now, 4 years later, I am picking up Chinese again, but I am afraid to be disappointed. I heard good and bad things about MTC.

Can anyone tell me more about the classes than that they suck or are just tools? What are the methods like? The classes are supposed to be quite small (6-10), which is a relief. Is there a lot of practice talking? Is it worth hiring a tutor (where?) for extra speaking practice? I would have preferred ICLP which seems more American in its teaching methods, but at 3,300 US dollars for 8 weeks it is much more expensive than MTC which is 1,100 US dollars (25,000 TWD) for about 11 weeks of class. I would be willing to invest a few hundred more for extra tutoring. Does anyone have tips on how to make the most of my time in Taipei? Certain teachers to avoid, certain tutors to hire?
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby Teddoman » 14 May 2012, 03:34

What is your attitude towards practicing language outside of class? For me, language class was only a couple of hours a day. So I had another 10 hours to practice my Mandarin for real. Early on, I had a lot of foreign friends, but our main activity was chatting up the counter girls in Mandarin at the convenience store in our dorm. It was loads of fun! We spent hours a day doing that. When I got more advanced, I used that free time to watch TV in Mandarin, read the newspaper, chat with friends in Mandarin, and read and post to the Taiwanese BBS (their version of Forumosa in the late 90s) on all kinds of interesting topics.

Early on, the main value of class for me was introducing me to the grammar structures and also clearly introducing the meaning of new vocab. But that was just the starting point. The real value of living in Taiwan was that I could immediately take what I learned and practice it with real people outside of class. And I absorbed Mandarin so much more efficiently, naturally, and effortlessly as a result of that. It was not hard for me to memorize words, because the day I learned a new vocab word, I would immediately try to use it that same day at least five times and also I would try to use it throughout that week until it was second nature.

Language needs time and actual use in the real world to seep deeply into your brain. The classes you attend give you some structure so you're not just flailing about with no way to judge your progress. But if you do things right, you can use those classes a lot more efficiently than your peers might, and your progress will be much quicker as a result. For many students, learning Mandarin ends after they walk out of the classroom doors. And their slow progress reflects this fact.

There are so many words that are nowhere to be found in a textbook. Taiwan and her people are your classroom.

[EDIT: ps Eventually my main teacher became the hardback 3 inch thick Far East Chinese-English Dictionary. Biggest C-E dictionary I could find at any Taiwan bookstore. Never went anywhere without it in my backback. Maybe these days there's an iPod app or something.]
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Re: Just won the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship! Now to choose a school...

Postby ironlady » 14 May 2012, 03:38

The teaching methods are virtually identical everywhere. Listen and repeat. Make sentences. Practice in pairs. Answer questions. Textbook based, some ancillaries. The usual stuff.

It's easy enough to find a tutor or tutors if you like, for a very reasonable price. The MTC is at a major university in the largest city in Taiwan -- lots of uni students happy to do language exchange or hire out as tutors.

I think you need to think about what you really want out of this experience. If you want straight American teaching methods (don't get me going on what those really are for Chinese language in the US! :lol: ), the best place to find those are in the US. If you are going to Taiwan, make the most of what Taiwan has that you don't get in the US -- the environment, the culture, the people. Don't think that the classes are going to be the most valuable or important aspect of your experience. Classes give you somewhere to be every day, a legal basis for being in Taiwan, and some social structure (people who must speak Mandarin to you, presumably, and who will take care to foster your language development) but that is just a springboard. If you have some Chinese already, take advantage of being able to audit classes for free (check if that's still the case, I've been gone for awhile) at NTNU -- just sit in on something you know something about already and experience it in Chinese. Get involved in on-campus activities. Don't just hang out with American or foreign students. Go to church in Chinese if that's something you might do anyway. This is your chance to get out of a classroom experience (since you already have a fair amount of Chinese and should be able to get language from the environment by now to a greater or lesser degree).
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