rhizome wrote: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?
I would suggest joining clubs or chatting up members of the opposite sex. That is usually where you start to learn Mandarin. However if you are only staying in Taiwan for three months it may be difficult to get outside of the foreign bubble and hang out with non-westerners.
MTC is largely a bunch of students whom the majority spend their time speaking English or their own language in the classroom and out of it. A year later and they still can't speak Mandarin. I saw some white girls bar hopping and stuff all the time. A mix of Europeans and Americans. The European girls probably improved their English in Taiwan, but not their Mandarin very much.