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Jksagita

Need some general advice and insights

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Jksagita

Hey there guys, I'm planning to study Mandarin/Chinese real soon and I'm currently at a crossroads on where to go.

 

I did some information digging through local agencies they offered me university like Peking University(Beijing), Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), Shanghai Jiao Tong University and many others. Based on their judgement they recommended me to choose either Beijing or Shanghai, they were also kind enough to share with me the comparison on the living condition and surroundings on both cities.

 

In Short, Beijing is more polluted and dirtier compare to Shanghai.

 

So the problem is that based on my understanding I am aware that Beijing offers a higher level standard of education but the living condition is not up to my liking (the freezing cold winter, Hygiene problems, etc.) hence me liking Shanghai more, then again from what i heard Shanghai doesn't have a good environment for students since it is a very business oriented city (just trying to be honest here i am in my 20s and bars,clubs,pubs or any other sort of entertainments could easily be distraction).

 

This is what i meant by a crossroads, I Hope you guys can help out by sharing any opinions, general advice or insights based on your personal experience. A thanks beforehand for the help.

 

 

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onebir

There's a lot more cities than Beijing and Shanghai; check out the online agents, they have pretty complete listings, and show the true college/uni fees. (Local agents may be adding a hidden commission to the fees they quote.)

 

Off the top of my head CUCAS & SICAS seem ok (& there must be other ok/good ones...).

 

Also did your agents mention scholarships? There are a lot of scholarships for study in China, and multiple threads discussing those here. If you get one you could save a lot of money (maybe even study for free).

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Jksagita

@onebir keeping options open any recommendations are always good, do you have a Univ you personally recommend? (Outside or Inside Beijing&Shanghai)

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onebir

Personally, no. But if you explain your preferences (probably bbest to start a new thread) I'm sure some (/many) will :)

 

It sounds like a lot of people will be starting on scholarships in Sept, so there should be more feedback then too (if you can wait that long).

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Lu

If you want to keep away from bars and pubs, Beijing is not the city for you either.

 

It's been a while since I studied there, but education there is indeed good. But then, Shanghai's universities can teach you just as well, and there are other universities elsewhere in the country that might also be a good fit.

 

Also, have you considered Taiwan? Pretty clean, nice people, nice weather, great food, but more importantly, several good universities offering Chinese courses for foreigners (NTNU and NTU, and others), and scholarships you can apply for.

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Jksagita

@Lu I did actually, initially my interest was in Taiwan but after further research they(Agents) told me that Taiwan would offer me "Traditional Mandarin" rather than "Simplified Mandarin". I was totally up for it but after 1 story to another - in short not everybody could read Traditional Mandarin(Business wise) - it kind of change my mind on where i should put my priority on. I have not cross check it with other agents thou but is it true that Taiwan universities would only teach me traditional mandarin?

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Lu

Yes, Taiwan uses traditional characters (and will teach you those), while China uses simplified characters. However, once you've learned one set, it's not difficult to learn the other. I started out learning traditional in university in Holland, went to China in the third year and picked up simplified in a matter of weeks. If you really need to learn simplified, then it makes sense to go to China not Taiwan. If you just want to learn Chinese to possibly use it at some later point, I think it's not a big concern.

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艾墨本

I went through a "university agent" sort of thing and ended up paying way to much for a study abroad program in China. Fortunately I had a massive grant that covered most of it, but looking back the education I received was lackluster. Despite that I'd do it again because I got tons of university credits in a short time and that's what I needed most; not necessarily actual Chinese education.

 

There are a lot of wonderful options around China and it would help to understand your preferences.

 

The shortcoming of Taiwan of using traditional characters is negligent, IMO. From what I have seen of fellow students around me, going from traditional to simplified is easy, going in the other direction is not necessarily easy. Like @Lu mentioned, with some concerted effort you can pick up the simplified you need in a matter of weeks if you need to. I have seen this repeated twice before with my classmates. If this is the only thing deterring your from going to Taiwan, it might be worth reconsidering. 

 

As for other options, a few places that come to mind are Sichuan, Qingdao, Hebei, and Hong Kong. Check out the "universities in China" section of these forums. You can read about different universities and get some anecdotal stories. Every place has its pros and cons. Personally, if I did it all again I would likely go to Sichuan University. It looks like a more "traditional" style of instruction, but I do most of my learning on my own, anyhow. I use class for review and practice. The city itself is wonderful and there aren't too many foreigners. While dialect is common, I didn't find it a problem, especially around the campus (where I was living at the time but not attending).

 

Taiwan would be my second option, largely because from what I have heard and read the quality of the education for foreigners there is great. And the other wonderful features of Taiwan are a bonus. There are also scholarships offered to study in Taiwan but I'm not as familiar with them. 

 

Check out the CSC thread which is a scholarship that will pay for all of your tuition, housing, and give you a sizable monthly stipend in many cases. I believe this only works for mainland China.

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Jksagita

@艾墨本 Thanks for the great advice, until now i am still in thoughts of what @Lu said about Taiwan traditional mandarin.

 

Honestly it is re assuring to know that based on what i understand so far learning mandarin shouldn't be too hard, overthinking outcomes and assumptions just makes it harder to decide. And advice like this help me gives confidence that wherever i study - yes different universities offers different experience - the result will come on itself, like you said if i we're to study in Taiwan and give my 100% i should be able to write both traditional and simplified.

 

I'm looking forward of any other experiences and opinions people share to help me understand even further, while also giving myself more options to decide on.

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anonymoose

The fact that so much of the internet is restricted in China makes Taiwan a more attractive option in my opinion. There are ways to circumvent the internet restrictions, but I hear they are getting less and less reliable.

 

Also, I don't think learning traditional characters should deter you. If your level of Chinese gets high enough, you will have no problem reading simplified. At least for me personally, I learned simplified and have never formally studied traditional, but have no problem reading tradition, bar a few characters which a dictionary deftly deals with.

 

As for bars and clubs, well, any large city will have them. It is up to you to avoid them. I lived in Shanghai for about nine years, and didn't go more than 2 or 3 times to bars/clubs in that entire period. If you hang out with other westerners, you will likely be pressured to tag along. Just make some Chinese friends instead.

 

People often come here asking for the perfect environment in which to learn Chinese. However, the environment only constitutes 10% of the equation. The other 90% depends on your own attitude. You can learn mandarin perfectly in Shanghai if you want to. Going to Gansu won't help if you're not inclined to put in the work and study.

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skylee

The shortcoming of Taiwan of using traditional characters is negligent, IMO.

Not negligible. It is NOT a shortcoming.

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Jksagita

@anonymoose Thanks another great advice there. If you don't mind me asking in which University did you study Mandarin while in Shanghai?

 

As you can tell Shanghai is slowly winning my decision, And also is University like Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) & Shanghai Jiao Tong University a good place to study or do you have any personal recommendations of Uni to your liking?

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anonymoose

I studied for a year at Jiaotong University, but I suspect they are all similar in what they offer. Just choose one with a convenient location.

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