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How Much Improvement Can I Expect


bumclouds
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Hey guys,

I'm just wondering if I can get some of your opinions.

I've been learning Chinese for about 18 months (1 class per week), I've been learning simplified Characters.

I graduate in 5 weeks time from my bachelors (yay!) and I'm going to go and study at MTC in Taipei for 6 months before returning back to my home country for a full-time engineering job. While I'm over there I won't be working, I'll just be going to Chinese class on weekdays and doing my homework at night.

My reading/writing ability currently only sits at about 800-900 simplified characters. My speaking/listening is slightly better becuase I practice a lot with friends and watch TV shows and listen to podcasts.

If I manage to do a 5 hour (intensive) class Monday-Friday, and do around 2-3 hours a night of homework, what improvement could I expect to see? Previously I have only been able to manage 1 hour a night because of my other degree and my part-time job - but in Taipei I'll have a lot more free time to study.

Andrew

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I've been studying at the MTC for the past nine months, so I'm pretty familiar with the centre, but I don't think they have any five-hour intensive courses. The courses they offer are either two or three hours a day from Monday through Friday, with an additional three hours of homework a day, according to the MTC. But I don't think my teachers ever gave me more than an hour of homework a day. It depends on your teacher, I guess.

Anyway, the three-hour intensive classes are pretty good. The two-hour ones not so much; in those classes, you see lots of people who aren't really interested in studying Mandarin and merely want to have a good time abroad, enjoying Taiwan's night life and everything. Of course, this is a generalisation, but the fact is, the pace of the three-hour classes is far quicker.

I'm unsure what your current level equates to in terms of the levels used at the MTC, but if you take an intensive three-hour class every day for six months, you should expect quite a bit of progress. Your speaking and listening will see rapid improvement once you've adapted to the Taiwanese accent, and provided you don't speak English with other international students all day long. Reading and writing will remain a bit more difficult, especially since you previously studied simplified characters. All textbooks at the MTC, like all written Chinese in Taiwan, are in traditional characters, so I would highly recommend you start studying those before you leave. Otherwise you'll probably end up with a course that's too easy for you, as you won't be able to do very well on the placement test without being able to read traditional characters. By the way, don't hesitate to switch courses in the first week if you feel the class you've been assigned because of your grade on the placement test is not quite the right level for you.

I hope this helps a bit. If you have any other questions whatsoever regarding the MTC or living in Taipei, feel free to ask!

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I think 3-4 hours/day, plus homework would be intensive enough for over 6 months period, more than that, I think would be too tiring, you may lose the motivation to learn Chinese after certain period time.

Why learn Chinese in Taiwan? Taiwanese has pretty strong accent I think,(don't offend anyone, just say the truth) it's different from mandarin(Putonghua), why not mainland China, like Beijing or Shanghai.

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Why Taiwan? I dunno, but I've locked it in now - so there's no turning back.

From reading similar forum topics on the net it doesn't seem like 6 months, or even a year of studying hard will bring me to even more than a basic conversational level.

... Or i could be wrong..

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Why learn Chinese in Taiwan? Taiwanese has pretty strong accent I think,(don't offend anyone, just say the truth) it's different from mandarin(Putonghua), why not mainland China, like Beijing or Shanghai.

[i know this has been discussed before, but I can't help myself.....]

Personally, I find accents in Taiwan better than Beijing or Shanghai. Yes, there is a bit of an accent, I don't think it's too strong, but it's there. However, I find the accents to be a lot more uniform in Taiwan, as opposed to Beijing or Shanghai (or anywhere else on the mainland). Once you get used to the accent in Taiwan (which is easy), you (usually) don't have to worry about whether you will understand the accent of the next taxi driver or sales clerk or server you talk to; as opposed to Beijing, where you never know what you're going to get.

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