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OneEye

Mandarin Training Center, National Taiwan Normal University

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etm001

Hi,

I can see the value in recording a university lecture, perhaps because:

  • The professor speaks rapidly and you can't keep pace while taking notes.
  • The professor provides information not covered in the textbook (and upon which you will be tested).
  • You have difficulty hearing.
  • etc.

None of these really apply at MTC, at least based on my experience so far:

  • As compared to a university lecture, the MTC teacher's pace is markedly slower. You will not be taking notes periodically, not constantly.
  • Since it's a language instruction class, there is a lot of repetition. You don't have to worry about missing anything important.
  • 98% of the classroom instruction will be focused on the materials in your textbook, and these are the only topics upon which you are tested.
  • The rooms are small, so you shouldn't have any trouble hearing.
  • etc.

I think OneEye's suggestion is a good one. Personally, I don't see much value in recording the class, and I can't imagine spending extra time reviewing the recordings (three hours worth each day for the intensive class) - that's time I could spend studying, practicing with a language exchange partner, or even just watching Taiwanese TV.

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aushaun

Thanks all for your advice! I've actually went ahead and bought one of the "livescribe" pens, since it can play back to particular written points - should be useful for pronunciation!

I'm really looking forward to going, albeit extremely nervous. Hope to provide a writeup that future students will find useful.

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roddy

Round of applause please, folks.

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Meng Lelan

Excellent write up. When does the summer term begin and end, and what courses do they have over the summer?

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OneEye

You could take Mini Radio Plays instead of PAVC5 if you wanted to stay at MTC, and then at level 6 the "Recent News" class is conversation-heavy, even though you do read a lot of newspaper articles. Above level 6 I think it's mostly reading-focused apart from the TV news class, but it depends on the teacher. I know some teachers for the newspaper I-III classes try to get people to talk as much as possible, but many don't.

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etm001

OneEye: thanks, I'll keep that in mind once I finished PAVC Four / Far East III.

Meng Lelan: MTC offers a "summer session" and a "summer term":

  • Summer term: June 1st - August 31st
  • Summer session: July 1 - August 31st

The summer term is the same as any other term in regards to term length, course pace (regular vs. intensive), etc. I'm not sure if anything is different in regards to the summer session, other than it being one month shorter than the summer term.

MTC does offer a number of Chinese cultural classes during the summer term. I have yet to take one of these classes, but I am considering taking a couple this summer. Here's what's currently being offered:

  • Chinese Classical Instruments
  • Chinese Painting
  • Chinese Macrame
  • Gucheng (Chinese zither)
  • Folk Arts
  • Chinese Paper Cutting
  • Chop Engraving
  • Chinese Cuisine
  • Tai-chi Chuan
  • Chinese Calligraphy
  • Practical Taiwanese
  • Advanced Oral Training

Each class:

  • Meets once per week.
  • Is two hours in length.
  • Counts towards supplemental study time (relevant only to those taking non-intensive classes)
  • Costs NT$4,500. Some classes may have additional material fees.

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Meng Lelan

Thanks for finding the information. Actually I was hoping to take a summer class in something like reading 棋王 or a survey course of modern short stories written by authors in Taiwan.

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OneEye

Those would be regular classes, not culture classes. The culture classes generally just meet once a week for 2 hours, and they're supplementary to the main classes. I do know that 棋王 is available as a class, but whether they offer it or not depends on whether there are enough students that want to take it. Same deal with the short stories courses, but I think those tend to be offered more often than 棋王.

The Lucky bookstore sells a vocabulary book to accompany 棋王. The definitions are divided by chapter, and most are in Chinese. I'd say it's worth getting if you think you might need it, because it's pretty good. I've only read the first chapter myself, but I might go further later.

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Meng Lelan

Lucky Bookstore is the supplier to those schools, right? I am reading 棋王 right now on Ch. 5 but could use a vocabulary book like that. Chinese definitions are better than English definitions, at this stage I would say English only definitions tend to derail my trying to think in Chinese. Culture class isn't what I am looking for, I get loads of pipa and wushu right here in Texas.

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OneEye
Lucky is the 師大 bookstore. Its Chinese name is 師大書苑, and I have no clue why they thought "Lucky Bookstore" was a better English name than something more clear and direct, like "Shida Bookstore" or "NTNU Bookstore."

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Meng Lelan

Lucky is what I have to be to navigate that site in search of the Shida textbooks and references. Not real user friendly or maybe it's just me.

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OneEye

Haha, yup. Their website is terrible. Maybe this page has what you're looking for.

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Meng Lelan

Doesn't seem to be in there. Wow that site is so 亂七八糟 maybe the actual onsite school bookstore is like that too!?!

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OneEye

The 棋王 vocab book is item 74 on that list. It's called 棋王詞彙.

The actual bookstore is fairly organized. It's mostly run by a few old ladies though, so I'm sure they got someone to make the website in 1997 or something, and have hardly touched it since then. :)

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Meng Lelan
he actual bookstore is fairly organized. It's mostly run by a few old ladies though, so I'm sure they got someone to make the website in 1997 or something, and have hardly touched it since then

Awesome. Hopefully someday I can come by and have them help me select planeloads of books to take home with me.

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fabs

Hi all,

First of all, thanks for sharing your insights and taking the time to post your experiences, very much appreciated.

I am considering taking a spontaneous career break and spend some time studying Chinese. My plan at this point would be to enrol for a Regular course at NTNU and do lots of supplementary (self-)study and one-on-one lessons (incl. exchange partnerships) on the side. Based on what I have read this is the way go for the first term. Now my burning questions, based on your experience:

  • Would you expect any available spots available at this point? I am planning to enrol for the Fall Term starting 5th September.
  • What is the usual processing time of an application once documents have been received, and how do I get notified of the outcome?
  • Does everyone who fulfils the standard eligibility criteria get accepted?
  • Is it possible to start at a complete beginner level i.e. "I don't speak and understand a single word of Chinese"? Reading this thread I have the impression that all of you had some sort of Chinese lessons prior to enrolment at NTNU.

Many thanks for your help in advance.

Fabs

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etm001

Hi,

Of course, the MTC office can give you the official answers. Having said that...

Would you expect any available spots available at this point? I am planning to enrol for the Fall Term starting 5th September.

The enrollment deadlines are very close to the start of the term, which leads me to believe that spots are probably available right up until the first day of the term.

What is the usual processing time of an application once documents have been received, and how do I get notified of the outcome?

I think I waited ~4 weeks after I mailed my application before sending an email asking whether I had been admitted. I received a reply within 1-2 days stating that I had been, and I received the official letter not too long after that.

Note: according to the MTC website, if you are a national applying from a 90 day visa exempt country, then your acceptance letter will be sent via email. (This was not the case when I applied).

Does everyone who fulfils the standard eligibility criteria get accepted?

I can't think of a reason why someone wouldn't be accepted if they meet all the criteria.

Is it possible to start at a complete beginner level i.e. "I don't speak and understand a single word of Chinese"? Reading this thread I have the impression that all of you had some sort of Chinese lessons prior to enrolment at NTNU.

Sure, you can start as a complete beginner. That said, if you've got the time, it wouldn't hurt to learn a handful of useful words (e.g., "hello", "thank you"), and your first weeks of school might be a little easier if you already know the basics of pinyin (it's not hard to learn).

Lastly, although you can study for 90 days visa free (assuming you qualify), it might be better to come with a student visa, especially if you plan on staying in Taiwan for a year or more. If you come 90 days visa free:

  • You will have to leave the country every 90 days (duh). You can renew a student visa without leaving the country.
  • There are requirements related to how long you must continuously reside in Taiwan before you can qualify for a resident visa and/or national health insurance; leaving the country every 90 days might interfere with these "continuous residency" requirements. Post a reply if you are interested and I'll explain what I know.

Lastly, an obligatory disclaimer: the MTC office can give you definitive answers for anything related to the MTC, and the official Taiwanese government websites and/or your local Taiwanese economic development office (if you have one in your town) can give you definitive answers related to visas, etc.

Good luck!

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fabs

Thanks so much for the quick and comprehensive response. Which Visa I will apply for depends on when I start the course. If I have sufficient lead time, I will follow your advice on apply for a student visa. Otherwise, for example if I decide to go for this Fall Term, I will just have to go for the 90 Day Tourist Visa :) Thanks for the extra info!

Looking at the Academic Calendar, it looks like there is no Christmas break really. I have 2 weddings to attend and was wondering how students would usually handle instances such as where one needs to leave for a few days / a week? I guess people must face the same issue if they get sick etc.! Is it possible to schedule one-on-ones as subsitute or how would one be able to catch up?

Cheers,

Fab

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