need help to decide where to learn Mandarin this fall

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need help to decide where to learn Mandarin this fall

Postby aguna » 18 May 2012, 05:31

Hello there,

I'm an Indonesian that's been living in the states for a while now, but I decided to go back for good this year. So before heading back to Jakarta, I'm thinking to learn Mandarin in the fall for a semester or two. I learned Mandarin long time ago in Jakarta, so I've lost most of it because I never used it. I've always wanted to be able to speak Mandarin for basic/ daily conversation, so hopefully this experience would allow me to reach to that point.

I have several friends in Taipei and Taichung that have sent me some school links. And I've been reading this forum for several days now, I found many great tips and inputs, but I'm hoping to narrow down my choices.

•1 I just read a thread that saying there's a scholarship opportunity from MOE, but I think I passed the deadline (March 31st?)
Would there be other ways to get scholarship to learn Mandarin in Taiwan?

I'm interested to go to Taichung or Taipei.

•2 From what I've gathered here, though Kaohsiung has MTR, it's still taking time to walk to the stations. It still seems that it'd be better to have a scooter in Kaohsiung and Taichung?
I don't know how to ride a scooter, so I don't think it's ideal for me to move to these places.
Taipei seems to be the place for me in this matter.

•3 Another situation that I'd love to know is which schools have less Indonesian students? I have the choices either NTNU in Taipei or Tunghai in Taichung. It's not that I don't wanna befriended with them, but I find that I'd tend to speak indonesians to them. And yes, I'd have to restrict my english as well.

•4 Would it be too hard to learn the characters if I have almost no basic at all? Do you have any recommendations of what to learn and prep before I go to Taiwan? And which school would you recommend in this case?

Thank you so much, I'd really appreciate your help, guys!

Hope to hear something soon :)
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Re: need help to decide where to learn Mandarin this fall

Postby penny713 » 27 May 2012, 00:41

Hi! I'm a native Taiwanese.
Many colleges provide scholarship for foreign students, but I'm not sure how to pass the qualification. Maybe you should browse their website to get the details.
I remember there are buses connecting with other places at every MRT station. Last year I took my friends to Kaohsiung, and we visited the city only by buses and MRT. I think the public transportation system is really convenient, but students and residents in Kaohsiung still tend to ride scooters.
Students from Indonesia are not the majority of foreign students. I just know which college has a large number of 僑生.
Have you ever considered NCTU or NTHU? Both of them are prestigious universities in Taiwan, and there have been more and more foreign students in NCTU in the past decade. The amount of foreign students of NCTU ranks fourth in Taiwan.

If you have any questions, I’m willing to help you.
You can sent email to me: penny820830@hotmail.com
But I’m busy in preparing for an exam recently, maybe I cannot respond you immediately .
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Re: need help to decide where to learn Mandarin this fall

Postby thirdstring » 11 Jun 2012, 12:52

I studied at Feng Chia University in Taichung for a year, and am very glad I went there. But the first decision you need to make is whether or not you want to learn to read & write. As far as I know, most of the Chinese Language Centers (including TungHai) will require reading & writing. If you're only here for 1 semester, I would say it's not worth it. 3+ semesters, it's worth it, especially if you are a visual learner. Otherwise, TLI or other places offer speaking & listening only.

2 & 3. As for living in Taichung without driving a scooter, a number of classmates use the bus, so I'm sure you can get around here without a problem. Cost of living is lower, too. I'm not sure on scholarships, I know the one you referred to is past the deadline. I haven't met many Indonesian students at FCU, but every semester is different.

Definitely learn zhuyin or pinyin before you come. It's not that difficult, and if you have a general idea of that when you start, life is much easier. Also, practice listening & speaking the different tones. Even if you can only say "ma" with the 4 tones, recognizing the difference also makes life a lot easier.

Learning characters depends on your learning style. If you can hear something and remember it, I would say don't worry about them (if you're only here 2 semesters). If you're like me, I learn visually, so when I write a character, I can remember the word & pronunciation much better. I can be told a word 20 times, and still not remember it. I write it 20 times, and I've usually got it for good.
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