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半峇峇娘惹

ICLP in Taiwan

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半峇峇娘惹

I'm considering enrolling for 2010's Summer intake and have a few burning questions regarding the course.

My first question is how long does it usually take for them to confirm placement? I will need to organise leave from work and if I will only know the result after the cut-off date (April of 2010) then it my be a bit of a problem.

Cheers!

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Daan

I have no personal experience with the ICLP, but based on my experiences with its counterpart at National Taiwan Normal University (as opposed to National Taiwan University, its neighbour), they'll generally accept anyone as long as they pay tuition fees. But you could always check with them. I'm sure they wouldn't mind informing you whether your application is likely to be accepted.

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半峇峇娘惹

Thanks. What are the main differences between the universities? I'd like to know what made you choose one over another. Cheers!

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natra

I can't answer your questions, but I have heard a lot of good things about ICLP. Had I done by study abroad in Taiwan and not Mainland China, I'd have gone there.

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Daan

Well, NTNU has an exchange agreement with my home university, which made it possible for me to get a scholarship for a year, so that heavily influenced my decision :) But there have been some threads on these forums on the ICLP programme, so just have a look around. As far as I've heard, the ICLP programme is a lot more demanding and has smaller classes, but this is only hearsay. The textbooks they publish are certainly of high quality, more so than NTNU's, I think. NTNU even uses some of their textbooks for the 高級 classes.

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chrix

Daan, I can confirm this.

When I was in Taiwan, I was happy about not having chosen NTNU, because back then they had way too large classes of 10-15 people (is this still the case, Daan?).

That said, NTU actually has two Chinese centres, ICLP (國際華語研習班), which used to be in cooperation with Stanford, and something "home-grown" called the Chinese Language Division (中國語文組), originally aimed at NTU exchange students, but later opened up for anyone. The Ministry of Education balked at paying the fees for the ICLP, so I acquiesced and went to the CLD, while one of our scholarship students insisted and got her will.

The ICLP is more focused, and more elitist (this might be of concern to some people), has small classes (four at the most) and can offer specialised classes, and also one-on-one classes, so from the p.o.v. of Chinese classes, it's clearly the best choice. However, it is tremendously expensive (and you need to be at least intermediate). The CLD didn't have too large classes either, usually between 4-6, and you're less free in getting the courses you want. But if you don't want to spend so much money, IF THE CLASS SIZES are still the same, I'd still say CLD is a better place than NTNU (the teaching staff are all of comparable quality, many have degrees from NTNU, it's the resources that make the difference)

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Daan

I can't speak for the past, but this year, NTNU uses a two-tier system. You are required to take 15 hours of coursework a week. You can do this either by taking 10 hours of normal language classes and 5 additional hours of self-study and 大班課 (the 'regular' programme), or by taking 15 hours of intensive language classes (the intensive programme). Group sizes vary from 6-10, with the intensive programme having less students per class, but still with a minimum of 6 students.

To be honest, the regular programme's 大班課 are not what one would expect of such a reputable institution. Just to give you an idea: this semester they're offering such courses as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taiyu, Classical Poetry, Chinese Interviews, and Chinese Movies. However, in my opinion they tend to be overcrowded, and though they focus on interesting subjects, students generally do not get to participate in discussions nor are they required to hand in homework. For those of us who are here for longer than one semester, this system is also slightly inconvenient since roughly the same courses are offered every semester.

As I said above, in both the regular and the intensive programme you have ten or fifteen hours (respectively) of language class. This is the same class for the entire duration of the semester, at the same time every day of the week, with the same teacher. So if you're lucky, you get a good teacher, but if you're not, there's no consolation in the thought that you can always ask your other teachers. Nor can you decide to take two hours a week of Classical Chinese, for example. Compare this, for example, to the experiences of friends who went to Beida and get to take 18 hours of coursework a week, including 口語 (4 hours a week), 讀寫 (6 hours a week), Classical Chinese (2 hours a week), etc. I feel the MTC could do better here by being slightly more flexible, although I understand this is difficult with 1500+ students a semester.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sound too negative. My Mandarin has certainly improved incredibly much and the MTC staff is very friendly. I've found them to be very capable. They also organise worthwhile study trips, lectures and have good listening lab facilities (although they're also still using tape-recorders in some places). Finally, the in-house textbooks 視聽華語, for the beginner and intermediate levels, are also very good. But the drawback is you can only take one class per semester, and you have to spend your entire semester working on the same textbook, with the same teacher, and teaching as well as testing (!) methods vary widely within the MTC.

So it really depends on what you want to get out of your time in Taiwan: really intensive classes (ICLP) or slightly less intensive classes with more opportunities for out-of-class learning? Because that's how I've been addressing this. I bought some textbooks and am working through them in my spare time, and I have to say, my teacher has been really good about answering any questions I have about them, as well as correcting the homework and taking a lot of time after class to discuss them with me. I am reading some 古代漢語 by myself and he also said I could ask him questions about that whenever I wanted to. So overall, I'm quite satisfied, though I think a more intensive programme could definitely be worthwhile, especially if you have a limited amount of time at your disposal :)

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.

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半峇峇娘惹

Thanks guys, especially to you, Daan!

"So it really depends on what you want to get out of your time in Taiwan: really intensive classes (ICLP) or slightly less intensive classes with more opportunities for out-of-class learning?"

Put simply, I want to be as time efficient as possible. I am a health professional who cannot afford to soak up the culture like a student sponge (as fun as that would be!), so I'm looking for the hard and fast route. Time is money, after all.

I have only had one year (this year) of formal language instruction, and prior to this, well... let's just say that my level of Mandarin was not much higher than that of Te Reo Maori (read: virtually non-existent). However, I've definitely made a lot of progress this year, studying far beyond what was expected of me for a 100-level paper; I can recognise close to 1000 hanzi, write roughly 500, and my general reading ability is above average. But when it comes to reading comprehension and, more importantly, holding a conversation, I fail.

It doesn't help when you're required to speak English for 8 hours straight and then buggered for the next 8 until bedtime!

That aside, from what I've gathered on the ICLP website, internet word-of-mouth, and this forum, the ICLP programme is the way to go.

So if there is anyone here who will be attending the 2010 Summer Course, please let me know!

Cheers~~

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Daan

You're welcome. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to let me know. Although I have no personal experience with the ICLP programme, I do live pretty close to the (incidentally very pretty) 台大 campus, so I'm quite familiar with the area :)

Good luck!

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半峇峇娘惹

Hey again, I'm back with more questions that need answers. I assume that the classes are taught exclusively in Traditional Chinese? If so, [insert expletive] because I have been learning everything in Simplified thus far, and such a switcheroo would give me a heck of a 超级头痛!

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Daan

Based on my experience here at Shida, I suspect the answer is yes. The textbooks and tests will certainly be in traditional characters, although I am not sure about homework requirements. You could check with them to see how flexible they would be in this aspect, although I think much will depend on your teacher.

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半峇峇娘惹

In that case, knowing 繁体字 is a must! Oh well, I've started learning the 繁体字 of the first 250 characters of my university text. Not too many of them have 繁体字 and of those that do, I can already recognise half of them (them easy ones, of course!) It certainly helps to know the components of a character well so that it makes substitutions easier to stick!

Now, to continue my self-study in 简体字+繁体字 or 繁体字 alone? Decisions, decisions...

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chrix

It's not that hard. Reading a lot in the script you're not familiar with helps. Buy one of those booklets, but learn the principles first, then the handful of "most radical simplifications". Most intermediate learners at one point have to do this, especially if they're in Chinese studies. As we discussed on another thread, even a textbook on Classical Chinese published in Beijing uses traditional script...

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trien27

In Taiwan, most of the time written Chinese is in Traditional Chinese, so learning Simplified Chinese would not help on tests of any kind over there. In handwriting, some simplification would be used, sometimes the same or slightly different than those used in China.

....even a textbook on Classical Chinese published in Beijing uses traditional script...
Who are you kidding here? Of course, that's the case, because Simplified characters weren't even a standard in China until 1956. I'm sure there's commentaries and such in Simplified Chinese to explain the text. Most of Classical Chinese, Literary Chinese or Wenyanwen would be in Traditional Chinese, more often than not.

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chrix

Of course there are Classical Chinese textbooks in simplified, but for instance my copy of Wang Li's famous textbook was printed in 1998.

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半峇峇娘惹

Hi again, thanks for the replies. I've been having a bit of trouble recalling my 汉字 since I adopted a combined 简体字/繁体字 approach. I've thought about it and have decided to revert back to reading/writing 简体字, whilst simply reading 繁体字 (despite the latter being such a joy to write!). I think this approach works better. 8)

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Shi Tong

not much time to reply, but just to second:

視聽華語

is VERY good. :)

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ricardo

Hello everyone,

Does anyone have any experience or information regarding the Chinese language program at National Ping Tung University of Education or at National Sun Yat Sen University?

I am coming from Australia and intend to apply to one of those institutes to start in September 2010... as well as for the MOE Huayu Enrichment Scholarship.

By the way, I've spent about 4 months in HsinChu in the past working in the synchrotron and spending some time on campus at both Jiao-tong and Tsinghua so I'd be more than happy to answer any general questions about life there, if I can :)

Regards,

Richard

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周易Joey

I'm getting everything together to apply for the summer program at ICLP. The last time I was in Taiwan I went there and was really impressed, so I think the one summer semester will be a good balance to my two years of classes at Zhejiang University. And after that I'm going to come back to mainland to do graduate study. 半峇峇娘惹, are you planning on living in the dorms?? I'm going to try to apply but if that doesn't work out maybe we can be roommates?

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xh207hi

Hello, any opinions on how is ICLP nowadays? Especially in comparison to CLD and MTC? I'm currently on the verge of deciding for myself. I'm going for scholarship and I am after 5 years or so of learning, so I guess I'm pretty much advanced, but my vocabulary still quite sucks for my level.

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