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OneEye

Mandarin Training Center, National Taiwan Normal University

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etm001

 

 

You sound like me, only, as I'm trying to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle, I'm not buying books just now and am trying hard to read and study up the ones

lol I tell myself not to buy more books, but I can't help it. This is in part because outside of TW it's hard to find (a good selection) of books written in traditional Chinese. (In theory you could buy them online in Taiwan and have them shipped abroad, but that gets expensive). I don't mind ebooks due to their portability, but Taiwan doesn't seem to have much of an ebook marketplace.

 

In regards to minimalism - I've been toying with the idea of scanning all my books (a major undertaking), which in theory is quite minimalistic(!) and allows for easy travel too, but it's hard to bring myself to destroy them (you have to cut the bindings off in order to scan them at any reasonably fast speed).

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Elizabeth_rb

Yup, I sympathise on all counts!

 

I'm only scanning certain things.  The others I intend to finish with as they are (i.e in book form) and then pass them on in usable condition to someone else.  It'll take many years, but I don't have to chuck out all my stuff in one go. :)

 

Add oil, comrade :D

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xh207hi

Guys, I'm planning to apply for a government scholarship to attend MTC for a language course but I was wondering if any of you heard about (or experienced) applying for university scholarship this time, for further degree studies, while on the course? I don't necessarily mean Chinese language studies, I mean any degree on said university. Is it even possible...?

I've read that applying for scholarship while being on a scholarship is forbidden, but maybe this applies only for gov->gov scholarship, and not necessarily gov->uni one...? Hah, I'm looking for some suggestions what shall I do :)

The reason I'm asking about it here is because you might have first-hand info on NTNU'spolicy towards foreign students and scholarships from the perspective of language course attendants.

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etm001

 

 

I was wondering if any of you heard about (or experienced) applying for university scholarship this time, for further degree studies, while on the course?

I'm not familiar with scholarships offered by the university itself. I do know someone that received an MA from NTNU (2 year scholarship), but I believe it was a government scholarship. Although his instruction was entirely in English, I believe he attended the MTC when he first started his studies (I'm not sure if that was optional or required, or whether the MTC tuition was covered by the scholarship - it might have been).

 

I'm assuming you've looked at this NTNU scholarship page, which outlines undergraduate/graduate scholarships directly from the university. The stipend amounts are paltry - just $10,000/month for the undergraduate scholarships (12 month limit), which is not enough to live on in Taipei. You also you cannot receive scholarships from any other organizations in Taiwan while receiving an NTNU scholarship.

 

Now that I think about it, my friend who received the MA was receiving $25,000/month, which leads me to believe he had a government scholarship.

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xh207hi

^ What you say about your friend attending MTC course before his studies is interesting, because I remember seeing an info somewhere on the NTNU site about additional "preparation" year of language course before the proper degree. It was an outdated info so I even wrote an email to inquire about it, but never got the answer (I start wondering if I didn't make some silly mistake in address, it stucks me). But the preparatory course even before English-language studies...? Interesting.

 

Oh, thank you for pointing out the difference in amount of scholarships. It looks rather bothering, in terms of my masterplan. I'd need to think further about it then...

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xh207hi

Guys, anybody would like to share their experience with MTC this year? :) I'm considering this school, but I'm quite advanced (5 years) and I still think about NTU's CLD and ICLP. What I am most afraid of is that I'd be too much in the English speaking environment – I mean, it's obvious only foreigners go to language schools, but if there is any difference in the language environment in these schools (mmm, for example the amount of local students in the neighbourhood or existence of any integration events so that we do not only stay within the 老外 community), I'd be happy to hear your opinions.

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sanvitale

Hopefully people are still checking in on this thread! 

 

First of all just want to say thanks to OneEye and all of the commenters, this has been a great read and a huge help!

 

I'm thinking about studying at MTC NTNU either at the end of this year or beggining of next. Just wondering if any one has any insight as to what its like for a near complete beginner studying mandarin at MTC. I took two semesters in college and a couple small courses outside of school, but i have lost most of that as it goes so quickly when you are not using it. So at this point, i essentially need to start over, especially since i studied simplified characters so any writing i retained is useless in taiwan i'm assuming. I'm definitely planning on doing a lot of studying on my own and maybe taking a few classes in the meantime, but i will still be pretty much a complete noob, so just wondering if any one can share their experience as a beginner.

 

Thanks!

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etm001

 

 

 I'm considering this school, but I'm quite advanced (5 years) and I still think about NTU's CLD and ICLP. 

I'm not sure going to MTC, CLD, or ICLP is worth it if you are an advanced student. They are not going to teach you anything that you can't learn on your own. The only benefit is that you'd be in a Chinese speaking classroom 2-3 hours a day (perhaps a bit more for ICLP). If it were me, assuming I lived in a non-Chinese speaking country and had 3-4 months free, I'd just move to Taiwan/China, follow my own study plan, and make sure I spend significant time interacting in the local environment. Or hire a local tutor (one credentialied in teaching Chinese as a foreign language) and/or consider private tutoring at a school like TLI.

 

 

What I am most afraid of is that I'd be too much in the English speaking environment – I mean, it's obvious only foreigners go to language schools, but if there is any difference in the language environment in these schools (mmm, for example the amount of local students in the neighbourhood or existence of any integration events so that we do not only stay within the 老外 community), I'd be happy to hear your opinions.

 

There is no difference between any of these schools in terms of the student population (all non-native Chinese speakers). They are all located in Taipei which has a moderately sized ex-pat population, and a moderate number of natives who speak English to varying degrees of proficiency. 

 

 

local students in the neighbourhood or existence of any integration events so that we do not only stay within the 老外 community)

Foreign language students tend to be segregated in a separate building away from local university students. There is little interaction between them and the native student population - you have to actively seek out friendships with locals and actively find activities aimed at local students.

 

Also, in Taiwan 外國人 is common - you rarely hear 老外. :)

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etm001

 

 

Just wondering if any one has any insight as to what its like for a near complete beginner studying mandarin at MTC.

MTC is great for beginners. They do a good job instilling the fundamentals of the language. I think of my education at MTC as a very solid foundation/framework upon which I've built my knowledge of Mandarin.

 

The biggest criticisms of MTC (as noted somewhere in this long, long thread, I'm guessing) are:

  • Outdated textbooks: actually the fundamentals of the PAVC textbooks were good, but they were showing their agin in terms of layout and vocabulary (written before the Internet, mobile phones, etc.) Regardless, the MTC wrote a new series of textbooks which are in use at the school now and from what I've seen they are solid.
  • Too focused on reading/writing: if you don't want to learn how to read and write Mandarin, do not go to the MTC. And by "write" I mean not only learning how to write characters using a pen/pencil, but writing essays, reports, providing short written answers on tests, etc. I'm personally very happy that I learned read/writing/speaking simultaneously, and in the long run the extra up front effort pays off handsomely.
  • Outdated teaching techniques: I addressed this point somewhere earlier in this thread. There's nothing high tech or particularly innovative about how Mandarin is taught at the MTC. That said, a) I've yet to hear of a school in Taiwan or mainland China that is "innovative" - the vast majority seem to follow the same instructional mold, and b) "high tech" and "innovative" don't necessarily lead to better learning outcomes. Honestly, sometimes you just have to grind through vocabulary lists, practice writing characters over and over, etc. before things start to sink it. 
  • Many students are there to party, have fun, etc.: overblown and not true for the vast majority of students. There might be an up-tick of these students in the summer session. I spent more time at the MTC than 95% of MTC students, and I can say the vast majority of my peers were conscientious and took their studies seriously.
  • Too many ex-pats / English speakers in Taipei: it's entirely up to you as to how much (or how little) you involve yourself with the ex-pat community. And while yes there are many English speakers in Taipei, it's nothing, nothing like what you'd find in many European countries/capitals (i.e., cities where it seems like everyone speaks amazingly good English, etc.)

I think if you've read the entirety of this thread you should have a fairly balanced set of expectations in regards to the MTC. It's not perfect and there are things that could be improved. But the MTC provides a very solid Mandarin education if you are a willing and dedicated student.

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Naphta

I've read this thread thoroughly and I think there is a great amount of useful information. Thanks a lot for all your contributions!

 

I'll be in Taipei for two months this summer and I'm going to apply to the eight weeks Summer Session. If someone wants to share some impressions of the Summer Session (not the "Summer Term") or just if you've heard other people say good or bad things about this program, I would be more than thankful.

 

Actually, I'm hesitating a lot between the intensive and the regular classes. I'm myself a motivated and independent student and I've just finished studying the Practical Audiovisual Chinese Book 3 with my private teacher, so hopefully they won't put me in a beginners class. I would choose the intensive class to be sure the other students are motivated and hard working as well. But I'll be doing other things than learning Mandarin in Taipei, and the timetable of the intensive class isn't really optimal for me. The regular class, however, has a much more flexible schedule and I could either choose to go early in the morning or in the evening. My main concern is that other students taking the regular class may not be as motivated as I wish, because of the summer holidays atmosphere.

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Elizabeth_rb

You'll be fine - they won't put you in a beginners' class and you can change classes the first week if it doesn't suit you.

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tsp_uk

Hi all!  

 

I was wondering if you could share some insight/advice how you managed to find your accommodation?

 

Many thanks!

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etm001

 

 

I was wondering if you could share some insight/advice how you managed to find your accommodation?

Facebook is the best resource. There are three FB groups you can try:

The first group is probably your best bet. Note: no one will commit to renting an apartment to you (or having you as a roommate) until you are actually in Taiwan. I suggest you couchsurf or stay at a hostel during your first week in Taiwan while you find a place to live. 

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mungouk

Hey @Taiwan_Fox, thanks for your detailed response, and for signing up to the forums to post it!  

Looking forward to hearing more about your reflections on studying in Taiwan.

 

(To be clear, this is National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, as opposed to Tsinghua in Beijing, right?)

 

 

 

 

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sekkar
4 hours ago, Taiwan_Fox said:

Aaaand that's where we are now. I plan to keep this thread updated with my own opinions on the school, classes and teaching. I - along with probably everybody else reading this thread - have heard very mixed views about the teachers at NTNU.

All the 4 teacher I had (2017) were excellent, but I might just have been lucky of course. It seemed to me that most people I talked to liked their teacher.

 

4 hours ago, Taiwan_Fox said:

I'd like to do intensive as I'd like to learn as fast as possible, but I can only study in the morning due to work and their morning slot is reserved for continuing students, aka 'non beginners.' Now while I'm not a beginner, I'm obviously not an NTNU student. If I can't do that intensive course then I'll do the regular 2 hour morning course. I'll find out if I can do the intensive course sometime over the next week.

I recommend doing intensive, just the fact that you will be in a class with students that take their studies seriously is reason enough.  Didnt know that the morning slot was restricted to continuing students, seems like a strange rule.

 

If you got any questions feel free to ask, I did book 1-5 intensive at MTC last year.

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Taiwan_Fox
11 hours ago, mungouk said:

Hey @Taiwan_Fox, thanks for your detailed response, and for signing up to the forums to post it!  

Looking forward to hearing more about your reflections on studying in Taiwan.

 

(To be clear, this is National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, as opposed to Tsinghua in Beijing, right?)

 

Of course - it'd be a very long commute from Toufen otherwise 😄

 

9 hours ago, sekkar said:

All the 4 teacher I had (2017) were excellent, but I might just have been lucky of course. It seemed to me that most people I talked to liked their teacher.

 

 

9 hours ago, sekkar said:

I recommend doing intensive, just the fact that you will be in a class with students that take their studies seriously is reason enough.  Didnt know that the morning slot was restricted to continuing students, seems like a strange rule.

 

If you got any questions feel free to ask, I did book 1-5 intensive at MTC last year.

 

That's good news, and yes the 10-1 slot is for continuing students - the same for the 10-12 slot for the regular classes. I guess maybe they don't start from the beginning of book 1 in those classes so you can't be a beginner, but it does then rule out people who have studied elsewhere.

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CowTemplar

So I've read through many threads and something I find underdiscussed are clubs, sports, and other sorts of recreational activities available for language students. Are these available? Are they easily joinable? Specifically this comment:

 

Quote

Foreign language students tend to be segregated in a separate building away from local university students. There is little interaction between them and the native student population - you have to actively seek out friendships with locals and actively find activities aimed at local students.

 

kind of worries me because if I'm going to be learning as a student in another country, one of the most important things is being able to interact with local students and perhaps the easiest way to do so is through activities (课外活动). I absolutely love to play soccer and tennis and any school that has an active club for those would probably boost it by 2x appeal in my eyes.

 

Asides from that, this thread has really been fantastic with info and has probably swayed me into doing MTC at NTNU instead of other programs like ICLP and CLD. Thanks to OneEye, etm, and TaiwanFox for posting long paragraphs of your experiences at MTC; believe me when I say I lap up those posts like candy every time I see one as it really helps me make an informed decision on which program to pick.

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Nnedi Ugo

@Taiwan_Fox How neat! I am studying here as well. Just started 2 weeks ago and I am under the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. Classes are going so well! I started on Book 1 chapter 11. I love the classes here so far! Way better than when I studied Chinese in Shanghai 😊

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