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An Honest review of ICLP (experienced self-study learners beware)

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thank you for the review. You said this was your graduation trip, did you major in Chinese? What kind of other Chinese classes did you experience before and after ICLP?

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I didn't major in Chinese, but I had a Taiwanese girlfriend which led me to want to start studying Mandarin.


I had taken one year of classes at University, as well as studied abroad one year at NTU.

After ICLP I have been working and thus hadn't had the opportunity to take any more courses~

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Thank you for your answer.

Can I ask you about your experience at NTU - were your classes in English?

Did you also have Chinese classes?

Did you enjoy your time at NTU?

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NTU is a great school to exchange at - they offer many, many classes in English.


I did take Chinese classes - but of course they were more for making friends (you can learn some, but not as much as 1 on 1's)


It was the time of my life~

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I also did the summer course at ICLP and in fact studied the same main textbook as the OP. I think the review is fair but I have a hunch that ICLP's downsides are more relevant on the summer course than they would be on the full academic year.


Finding the right level to put students into is going to be difficult anywhere. Over the three-term academic year it's probably not such a problem because by the second term you'd have evened out some of your abilities and they'd know better where to place you. But more of a problem on a single eight-week course. On the strength of the reading test, I went into the 思想與社會 class which was perfect for my reading: I enjoyed that class a lot and found reading Chinese way, way easier by the end of it than I had at the start. So that alone made it time (if not money) well-spent for me.


But I'd chosen ICLP because they pride themselves on how much speaking students are required to do in class. Unfortunately for me, my ability to read reasonably complex texts was always a lot higher than my ability to speak on complex subjects. The other three in my class seemed in a similar position (we must have been grouped together for a reason) but the result was I didn't improve my speaking a great deal: I was never engaged in discussing the texts, instead it had to be more question-and-answer. It's interesting that the OP was in an opposite position, too-good speaking ability for the textbooks being studied, and also felt his/her speaking ability didn't improve much either.


I think it's fair to say the emphasis on spoken Chinese at ICLP is much higher than in most other courses where you've got 10-20+ students in a class. I also think that if time and money was no object and if I had spent a year there, I'd have no complaints: the classes seem well-structured and (for me) my four teachers were all either good or extremely good.


But for just a two-month intensive course, where your priority is to improve spoken Chinese in a short period of time, and especially if your speaking and writing abilities are out of sync, I don't think the course is ideal. Not the end of the world for me, my reading improved immensely, but the next two-month period I get to spend studying in China will be one-on-one classes somewhere.

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@mister4to1: thanks. Well, feel free to write reviews of NTU and/or TLI :mrgreen: might be interesting too.


@realmayo: do you intend to take 2 months off every year to study in China?

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