Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Best country outside of China for immersion?


LuckyLike
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I have been studying Chinese almost 4 years now, I am currently in China but I have spent 2 years studying prior to coming here. I consider myself in the lower intermediate level. I currently have HSK (old) level 4, I would have had at least level 5 if I scored better in grammar :(

Unfortunately, I have to leave mainland China within a year from now. Where would be a good place to continue studying Chinese and at the same time, still have good career prospects? I've been working on and off in China, but jobs here haven't really given me any future career prospects, plus I end up spending much less time on studying because of it.

Perhaps Hong Kong, Taiwan? Or SE Asian countries with a big percentage of Chinese communities like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia?

I have read some of the older threads here but would like to hear more opinions :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Taiwan would be the obvious answer if Mandarin is what you're after. Mandarin is widely spoken and almost only the very old are unable to speak it fluently. I've studied in Taiwan for two years and it should be as good as any place in China to learn Mandarin, probably better than most since Mandarin is so frequently used among the Taiwanese (compared to Mandarin in parts of China where it isn't dominating, of course).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where would be a good place to continue studying Chinese and at the same time, still have good career prospects?

Can you elaborate more on the "career prospects" part? Are you talking about jobs that involve/require the usage of Mandarin? Do you mean jobs that deal with Chinese business?

If you had a great paying job in the USA that gives you enough money and time outside of work to hire a private tutor and continue learning, does that count?

Edit: The reason I asked these questions is because if you hadn't mentioned the "career" aspect at all, then Taiwan is the obvious answer. However, since you mentioned "career", I can't assume that you'd have better career prospects in Taiwan vs. China unless I knew more of what you're good at and what you'd like to do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would also say Taiwan. The only obstacle will be the traditional characters, but they are not so bad. I studied simplified characters before I went to Taiwan to study, and picked up on them rather quickly. Then after I studied in Taiwan, I went to China and studied there, and going back to simplified wasn't a huge change I didn't think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Northern Taiwan is debateably the best place to study Mandarin full stop.

People seem less desperate to 'speak' English at the nearest white person there.

The Mandarin isn't as standard as Henan, but it's a darn sight better than the Mandarin in Hubei or Guangdong.

There's effectively no restrictions on freedom of speech, so people will be more willing to discuss interesting topics with you.

On the downside, Facebook and such, aren't blocked, so it is easy to create an English bubble for yourself if you aren't careful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my experience my Malaysian classmates seem to be much more knowledgable in Chinese than my Singaporean classmates. Also I think Singaporeans avoid speaking Chinese as long as they can so I guess communicating with Malaysian Chinese people is better for learning Chinese.

That's not saying much. Henan doesn't exactly have standard pronunciation.

I think he means Hebei

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, it's true that the Chinese education in Malaysia is much better than Singapore. What Singaporeans learn in O-level are what we learn in standard 6 (primary school). I compared the syllabus before. Besides, Singaporeans tend to talk to each other in English, while Malaysian Chinese usually have conversations in Mandarin or other dialects.

But Singapore isn't that bad either. Their government are promoting the usage of Mandarin in recent years so learning Chinese there shouldn't be a big problem.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I study in China most of the Chinese that I know was learned from my Malaysian classmates. I even think they know more about Chinese culture and history than many mainland students. The only problem is that they all have a very southern accent and I have to watch CCTV very often to stay close to standard Mandarin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback so far everyone!

I've been to Taiwan several times, and I definitely like it there. I even considered going there to study as opposed to going to the mainland. Now that I have reached a certain level, general verbal communication is not a problem. I also don't think traditional Chinese characters are not much of a problem since I also know Japanese.

Right now, I am aware that my writing/reading is falling behind because I currently don't have a tutor. My speaking/listening has improved more in the past 6 months. That was my intended focus so I am glad about my improvements, but at the same time, I feel it's time I need to hit the books once again. My current dilemma is I obviously need to work to support myself, but I also want to go back to taking classes in a university.

As for my career, well, I have been a language consultant and translator in English and Japanese for more than a decade, mostly in the technology field. The problem I've encountered in mainland China is that companies are never truthful about the job position. They will say anything just to hire someone who is very experienced since there aren't many who are native speakers in both these languages. That's not to say this is entirely a mainland China thing, but I have higher expectations in other countries.

I have not looked at jobs in Taiwan in detail, but one local job agency has adviced me that with my experience, job opportunities will be highly competitive and very limited because Taiwanese are also very good with English and/or Japanese. So although I would like to go to Taiwan, I am concerned about the job prospects there.

I have lived in Singapore for a year, but that was almost 20 years ago. I am also familiar with Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia during my short visits there as well. That's why I mentioned them in my first post.

Returning to my home country is not an option at this moment. I promised myself not to return until I reach a satisfactory level with my Mandarin. It is a very long-term plan, but I would hope to also include Mandarin in addition to English and Japanese as part of my skill set.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another vote for Taiwan here. I'm in Taipei and I love it here. People are very friendly and more than willing to speak Chinese with foreigners rather than English (in fact I get the impression that most people here would prefer not to speak English if they can avoid it). The food is awesome. I'd recommend sticking to the northern part of the country if you're looking for a Mandarin immersion environment, though. In the south you're more likely to hear Taiwanese. Many people in the north also speak Taiwanese, but the day-to-day language is Mandarin.

If you're wanting to study in a school, there are several good ones in Taipei. MTC at National Taiwan Normal University is the most popular, and the one I go to. You can read my thoughts about it in this thread. As far as job prospects, I agree that we're going to need more clarification on that, but even still I won't be the one who can help you there (I'm just studying).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for my career, well, I have been a language consultant and translator in English and Japanese for more than a decade, mostly in the technology field. The problem I've encountered in mainland China is that companies are never truthful about the job position.
Your main concern seems to be finding a job to support yourself while studying Chinese. Have you also considered teaching English as an option? Your options for doing translation is probably limited if you are not yet fluent in Chinese. Another options is to see if you talk to some law firms to see if they would hire you as an English editor. That may just involve polish someone else's work rather than translating and may not require you to be fluent in Chinese.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think he means Hebei

I mean what ever makes me look the least stupid.

Anyway, regarding Singapore vs. Malaysia, we haven't mentioned that there are a lot more PRC Chinese immigrants in Singapore than in Malaysia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The OP also mentioned Hong Kong as well and that's definitely China (SAR to be exact). Plus, the OP is also factoring in the availability of jobs (matching his skills) which was not mentioned in the title. No point to start a China vs Taiwan debate now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...