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koreth

Anyone studying in Dalian this summer?

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koreth

Just got my admission letter from 辽宁师范大学 this afternoon. I'm going to be taking a 4-week class starting 7/15, then hopefully heading to North Korea for a few days if I can work out the logistics, then down to Shanghai to visit a friend.

Anyone else going to Dalian to study this summer? Liaoning Normal or anywhere else?

I chose Dalian mostly because it sounds like a pretty pleasant place to spend a few weeks studying, and there's not as much English everywhere as in Beijing.

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heymister

Hello... I'm currently studying in Dalian at TLI (http://www.dltli.com/indexen.htm) and will be here through mid-August. My reasoning for picking Dalian was pretty much the same as yours and I've found that it definitely meets the criteria for having very few English speakers. The foreigners around here are mostly Koreans, Japanese, and Russians. Even so, I see very few foreigners on a day to day basis and it certainly does[ feel like I am in a foreign land - unlike Beijing.

Still, if you're not careful you can easily spend your time at expat hangouts and not learn. But I guess that's a possibility everywhere you go.

- Mike

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koreth

Cool! We should meet up and say hi, at least.

I'm hoping I have the self-discipline to avoid spending a lot of time at the expat hangouts, though I'm sure I'll check a couple of them out just to see what they're like. The fact that I'm there for a relatively short time will hopefully make that easier.

In addition to my classes, I'm going to be telecommuting part-time -- even though it's short, my trip is much longer than the annual vacation time at my company -- so if you see me hanging out at any English-speaking enclaves, feel free to tell me to either get back to work or go hang out at a Chinese-speaking place instead.

How are you finding the local accent in Dalian? Do you mostly hear Dalianhua out on the street, or is standard Mandarin more dominant?

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Jamoldo

I'll be at Liaoning Normal in a few weeks for the summer program...

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koreth

What level? (I'm guessing not "raw beginner" since you're posting from Beijing.) If you are in the "more than beginner, less than advanced" camp like me, perhaps there will be two English speakers in class rather than just one.

Actually I have no idea how they organize their class levels. I believe I'll get tested and placed in what they consider an appropriate class, but no idea what that will actually mean. As long as it's not "Here's a list of 10 chengyu, you have 5 minutes to memorize them and use them in a spoken presentation," I should be happy.

Is this your first time at that school?

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Jamoldo

I'm guessing Intermediate since I've studied in Beijing for a year. Actually I'm currently back home in the US now and will be back in Beijing next week (cutting it close).

I too have no idea how they are going to do it, we'll see I guess. My first time at Liaoning... I'm looking forward to it. What are your fall plans?

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koreth

Unfortunately I have a full-time job back home -- one I like a lot, so no temptation to abandon it -- which means my stay in China will be relatively short-lived. I'll be in Dalian for 4 weeks, then taking a side trip to North Korea by way of Dandong (see the "North Korea from Dandong" thread), then visiting a friend in Shanghai for a week or so. From an immersion point of view I'm hoping ~5 weeks is enough time to bump my fluency up a bit, though obviously more would be better.

Are you going for the full six weeks?

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Jamoldo

Koreth, you're heading to DPRK? I'm jealous. Maybe we can go to Dandong together. I dont have the money for DPRK, but I have a friend who has family in Dandong, so I've love to see them.

I'm going to go for 5 weeks or 6 weeks. I haven't decided yet. I have friends in Korea and Japan and would like to check one of those places out before getting back into Beijing.

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koreth

You're welcome to come up to Dandong, but if you're going to be at LNU for 5 or 6 weeks, I suspect the timing might not work out -- my NK tour starts on August 14, and I have to be up there a day early so they can take care of my visa. My plan was to head up there on the 12th, book myself a hotel for a couple nights, and spend the 13th seeing the sights in Dandong.

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Jamoldo

yeah no worries. I'll probably just go to Dandong for a weekend or something to hang out with my friend. It's not far from Dalian apparently, no more than 5 hours by bus, which is something I can definitely handle. I'll probably just go on a Friday afternoon after class or something.

Are they still charging Americans outrageous prices to go to DPRK? Last I checked (a few months ago), they were charging quite a bit more than our foreign friends.

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koreth

That's right, Dandong is a 5-hour bus ride (or a 9-hour train ride) from Dalian.

As for Americans visiting DPRK, sadly it's still a bit on the pricey side. But I figure it is probably the one and only time I'll get to visit the place in its current form (both because I'm not in the region all that often and because who knows what will happen there over time) and I'd regret not having the experience more than I'll regret being out the extra money.

I visited Russia just after Yeltsin took over and I didn't get to China until after it had already become the capitaliest place on earth... gotta see at least one communist dictatorship in full bloom before they all go away.

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leosmith

Howdy,

I'll be at TLI in Dalian for one week of private lessons, July 21-27. Buy you guys a round?

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vr2nr

I am thinking of Dalian this summer, my buddy has a flat in high rent district of taipei, i can stay there free. - 3 bedrooms, internet, the works... but I am just not sure.. I really want to lock and load with the mandarin studies... Any comments?

Also, comments on where you would stay for... say a 3 month stint? I just need a room/bathroom/internet. that covers it.

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leosmith
I am thinking of Dalian this summer, my buddy has a flat in high rent district of taipei, i can stay there free. - 3 bedrooms, internet, the works... but I am just not sure.. I really want to lock and load with the mandarin studies... Any comments?

Also, comments on where you would stay for... say a 3 month stint? I just need a room/bathroom/internet. that covers it.

Sorry if I'm being dense - are you weighing Dalian vs. Taipei?

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koreth

Yeah, also not sure if you're weighing Dalian vs. Taipei. The two are pretty distant from one another, especially since you can't fly directly from Taiwan to the mainland yet.

Assuming you are comparing the two: which city you prefer will depend entirely on your taste.

Taipei has more of a cosmopolitan, big-city feel in my opinion; that's a plus to some and a minus to others. The facilities in Taipei are more modern and you stand a much better chance of a random public toilet being western-style rather than squat-style in Taipei. Food safety is probably better in Taipei. The weather in Dalian is more moderate, especially during the summer -- Taipei will be hotter and more humid. Dalian has cleaner air. If you like talking politics, you will find that a fruitless endeavor at best just about anywhere on the mainland; there's no quicker way to get a Chinese friend to clam up than to veer into that territory inadvertently. Taipei has far, far more westerners, so if you need a break from Chinese immersion it's never far away (which also means you aren't forced to use Chinese all the time.) The signs and newspapers and books in Taipei, of course, are all traditional characters, while in Dalian it's mostly (though not entirely) simplified, so if you're learning just one or the other writing system, that'll probably be a factor.

So, yeah, pluses and minuses to both. I personally prefer Dalian but I could easily see why someone would find Taipei more appealing.

Of course, in addition to the cities themselves, you also need to consider the merits of whatever schools you're thinking of attending. Though there's a branch of the Taipei Language Institute in Dalian...

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