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Choosing between programs, e.g. NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

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Choosing between programs, e.g. NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby keryl » 16 Dec 2008, 10:50

I'm so confused. :s :s :s

I've been reading through the forum... it's helping a lot, but the more I read the more confused I get.

I'm considering three schools, NTNU, NTU's CLD or NCCU. Since there are a lot of good things about this three schools... I can't seem to decide where to go.

Can I send in my application to all three schools and then decide where to go when I get the acceptance letters (whichever will accept me)?
Or can someone help me decide? Give me the pros and cons between the three schools?

I know the most basic Mandarin. My ultimate goal in going to Taipei is to learn to converse in Mandarin.
Any advice or comment will be most helpful.
Regards!
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby twocs » 16 Dec 2008, 14:15

http://www.taiwanoffice.org.ph/080730_twscholarship.htm

Don't know where you should study, but you should contact [url="http://www.taiwanoffice.org.ph/080730_twscholarship.htm"]TECO[/url] to see if you can get a scholarship. Another link is http://www.studyintaiwan.org/index.php?id=mand but the period of application might be different than you are looking for... Try it anyway.
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby sjhuz01 » 16 Dec 2008, 14:57

Location, location, location.
Can't comment on specifics of the Mandarin programs, but consider which is more appealing for you:

NTNU (Shi-Da) and Tai-Da's CLD:
- centrally located practically next door to each other in Taipei.
- Lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, night markets, parks
- More apartments, bus lines, MRT stops, supermarkets, etc
- More students & more foreigners (= likely less Mandarin speaking)
- more scooters, traffic, people, pollution, & higher rents
- Easier to get to other parts of the city or to travel outside Taipei.

NCCU (Cheng Da):
- 20-30 min outside city by MRT and/or bus
- noticeably quieter re: traffic, restaurants, shops, # of students
- seemingly cleaner air, nicer scenery, actual opportunity for quiet.
- seems like higher potential for actually USING Mandarin & meeting people to practice with.
- Still has foreigners, but not nearly as many & lots from non-English-speaking countries
- Maybe "less to do" but seems like a more intimate setting w/fewer distractions from "Taiwan"

I initially chose to live near Tai-Da because of the location & am still fairly happy with it since I'm too lazy to cook & enjoy going out, but it's never quiet & too easy to hang out w/other foreigners instead of Taiwanese. Consequently I'm spending too much $$ on beer & not nearly enough time on Mandarin. It was easier to meet people right off the bat & stay entertained early on, but I've kinda gotten tired of it already & would prefer to be outside the "busy" part of the city.

Good luck w/your choice.
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby steelersman » 16 Dec 2008, 21:52

I know the most basic Mandarin. My ultimate goal in going to Taipei is to learn to converse in Mandarin


I don't know about NTU's CLD but you don't really need to waste the money or time to go to Shi-Da if you just want to speak Mandarin. Of course if you are not working as an English teacher you cannot get a visa at TLI.

My two cents. If you study at Shi-Da you will be spending a lot of time writing characters. Unless you have reason to know how to write Chinese, you will be wasting a lot of time. You just need to learn grammar structures and get out there and talk to people. A lot of Shi-Da students cannot really speak Mandarin that well from what I have heard.
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby steelersman » 16 Dec 2008, 22:02

I know the most basic Mandarin. My ultimate goal in going to Taipei is to learn to converse in Mandarin.


If you want to speak Mandarin find a Taiwanese girlfriend or boyfriend who does not speak English.
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby Dragonbones » 16 Dec 2008, 23:33

keryl wrote:My ultimate goal in going to Taipei is to learn to converse in Mandarin.


Hello keryl, and welcome to Forumosa! :)

My goal in coming to Taibei was also to learn to converse in Mandarin. So I moved here with a plan to get a job teaching English to pay the bills while studying independently. As steelersman points out, formal course study isn't necessary for conversational Mandarin, and some courses will have you spending a lot of time learning to write characters.

That said, IMO you won't REALLY learn spoken Mandarin well unless you are either taking structured classes, or are a very motivated and self-disciplined person. Once you are busy teaching, you'll easily find excuses not to study, and the Mandarin goal can easily slip down on the list of priorities. In my case, I managed to focus on the goal and kept progressing, so independent study worked pretty well. Your situation might or might not differ.

Note that in the long run you might regret not being able to read and write some Chinese, and that takes even more discipline than learning to speak. Classes can offer the structure for that, and you can still go the extra mile on your own time for the conversational part, with free language exchanges, SO's and so on.

In the end, it's up to you which path you take.
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby lbksig » 17 Dec 2008, 00:13

Dragonbones wrote:
keryl wrote:My ultimate goal in going to Taipei is to learn to converse in Mandarin.


Hello keryl, and welcome to Forumosa! :)

My goal in coming to Taibei was also to learn to converse in Mandarin. So I moved here with a plan to get a job teaching English to pay the bills while studying independently. As steelersman points out, formal course study isn't necessary for conversational Mandarin, and some courses will have you spending a lot of time learning to write characters.

That said, IMO you won't REALLY learn spoken Mandarin well unless you are either taking structured classes, or are a very motivated and self-disciplined person. Once you are busy teaching, you'll easily find excuses not to study, and the Mandarin goal can easily slip down on the list of priorities. In my case, I managed to focus on the goal and kept progressing, so independent study worked pretty well. Your situation might or might not differ.

Note that in the long run you might regret not being able to read and write some Chinese, and that takes even more discipline than learning to speak. Classes can offer the structure for that, and you can still go the extra mile on your own time for the conversational part, with free language exchanges, SO's and so on.

In the end, it's up to you which path you take.


I second most of what Dragonbones wrote above. Formal structured class is the best way for most people to learn a balance of reading, writing and speaking Chinese. I would say that, in fact most places focus on writing and reading Chinese characters. Speaking has, from my experience, been relegated to a side line for you to work on your own through language exchange partners or every day encounters. I haven't studied at TLI or NCCU, only at NTU's ICLP and NTNU's MTC programs. Neither focused on speaking.

My experience with NTNU was that they didn't know what to do about students who want to focus on speaking. The MOE gives them their guidelines for how to structure the program. You have to do well on the tests, and homework also, in order to renew your visa every quarter. The tests we took were all 80% reading/writing, 20% listening then choosing the correct response.

My teacher recommended TLI to me if I wanted to improve my spoken Chinese, and my accent. The issue is they can't provide a student visa.

I found that NTNU wasn't very helpful as far as improving my spoken. It was beneficial for reading and writing, but I felt my speaking got worse the longer I was there. I'm also afraid that other programs might have similar limitations. Your Chinese will improve in general since you say you have a basic level, but it you won't be able to focus solely on speaking.
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby EHuynh » 17 Dec 2008, 00:53

I'm currently enrolled in NTNU's Mandarin Training Center. I like it a lot. There are kids here that don't even know the most basic Mandarin and they're getting a long fine. The largest classes are the supplementary and can be as large as 100 students (though those are basic phonetics and beginning character lessons; later supplementary classes tend to be smaller). Your actual class won't consist of more than ten students. It's pretty easy to make friends. There are people from all over the world and all sorts of walks of life. In addition, the small class sizes force you to interacts with your classmates (though I know people who don't speak to classmates outside of the classroom).
I wouldn't worry about being bored because of being placed in a class where you already know too much for the level because there's a placement exam.
Here's the school's website. Good luck with your decision!
http://www.mtc.ntnu.edu.tw/indexe.html
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby keryl » 17 Dec 2008, 10:02

wow! thank you so much for all the replies.

I would still want to enroll in a university to also learn writing, grammar etc. i guess I would just have to find non-english speaking friends when I get there.

I have decided to send out applications to the three schools, then decide when I get the acceptance letter/s.

I'm leaning towards NTU's CLD.
2nd choice is NCCU (but my mom has concerns with it being in Muzha... she said it's too far from the city center?)
third is NTNU (since my boyfriend is planning to go there, and I don't want that we go to the same school, else we'll just use our native language and not learn anything!)

:whistle:
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Re: confused about NTNU, NTU's CLD and NCCU

Postby sjhuz01 » 17 Dec 2008, 10:37

keryl wrote:2nd choice is NCCU (but my mom has concerns with it being in Muzha... she said it's too far from the city center?)
Not a reason for "concern" by any means - it's not exactly out in the middle of nowhere & not any different from other schools in terms of facilities. It's just minutes from the MRT station & has several buses just outside the gate. Takes roughly $30NT ($1us) & 30min each way from NCCU to Tai-Da area by bus/MRT.

Definitely quieter & maybe a bit boring at night, but still has a Starbucks, apartments & big hospital within minutes. I still say it's a better option for being more immersed in a Taiwanese/Mandarin-speaking environment because there are so many more foreigners at Shi-Da & Tai-Da. Sure you'll figure out which one is best for you though.
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