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advice on best two-week courses in Taiwan?

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Hi, all.  I'm looking for a good intensive Mandarin language study program in Taiwan.  Any recommendations / reviews?  

Requirements:  I'm looking for a place that offers small group classes, probably about four hours a day (or "intensive", whatever that would mean for a particular school), and that would allow me to take classes for a short period of time.  I'll only be in-country for two weeks.  Anything in Taipai, Hualien, or Kaohsiung would work.  I'm much more interested in conversational skills than being able to write characters (and I can't write many).  Budget is not a huge consideration.
Level:  I'm self-taught so far, but probably at an intermediate level.  That is, I can have a lunchtime conversation with a native speaker, but with some difficulty.  I've gone through all of the Pimsleur courses, John DeFrancis's Beginning Chinese Reader, and this textbook (http://amzn.to/1U7FGZh).  I can read these Level 2 books (http://www.chinesebreeze.net/) without too much trouble.  My listening skills are lacking, though.  
Thanks for any suggestions!  If I can make the trip happen, I'll write up a review afterwards.
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You can try the Taipei Language Institute. I don't have first-hand experience myself, but it does have a good reputation.



The Taipei Language Institute (TLI; Chinese: 中華語文研習所; pinyin: zhōnghuá yǔwén yánxí suǒ) was founded in 1956 by a group of missionaries who wished to provide training in Mandarin Chinese for Taiwan-bound missionaries. Originally named Missionary Language Institute, its founders created the institute as a means of educating these foreigners in Mandarin and Taiwanese.[1]

Also take a look at this thread. The poster spent four months studying in Taipei.


Independent Chinese study: review

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Also consider the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University. It has many years of experience teaching Chinese to foreigners, good teachers, good textbooks. My time there is quite a long time ago by now, so I can't tell you the current exact situation, but check out what they have to offer.

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  • 2 months later...

Tl;dr:  thumbs up to Taiwan Mandarin Institute based on two weeks of intensive intermediate-level classes


Hi, all.  Since I asked for suggestions about Mandarin language classes in Taipei, I thought I’d follow up with a review of my experience there.  I wound up attending classes at the Taiwan Mandarin Institute (TMI), which is located near the Tai Power Building MRT stop in Taipei.  I enrolled for their “Combo Course” (16 hours of small group classes and 8 hours of one-on-one lessons each week) at an intermediate level for two weeks, and also stayed in their student housing.


My stay was pretty short.  None of the university-based programs seemed able to accommodate a student for as little as two weeks, which limited my choices to this place and Globe Mandarin School (www.globemandarin.com).  However, Globe Mandarin never returned my e-mails, while TMI was very responsive and seemed pretty well organized.  This made the choice pretty easy.  A friend of mine in Taipei also told me that she had signed up with Globe Mandarin, but somehow wound up taking classes at TMI; so the schools may have some partnership or affiliation.



  • Course materials:  I liked the book (http://amzn.to/2c0FRqm), which was published by NTNU.  Unlike many, their text book didn’t include pinyin interspersed with the characters for exercises and readings (at least for the level 2 book), which I generally find distracting.  Each chapter was structured around some useful Taiwan-relevant topic, and introduced 50-60 new words and a handful of grammar points.  The school also provided printouts of the readings with accompanying pinyin for those who wanted it.  The text book used traditional characters, but the school provided simplified character versions for those who preferred those.  We covered roughly one chapter per week, which is a little less than what I’ve seen in similar schools, but was supplemented with lots of new vocabulary that would come up in the course of a class.
  • Teaching staff:  All of the teachers I interacted with (I think they have 15-20 on staff) were friendly and helpful; they all seemed to enjoy teaching and to have fun with the students.  In the span of two weeks, I had four teachers.  Two of those tag-teamed on the group class (usually one teacher for all of a given day).  One teacher I had for almost all of my one-on-one lessons, but for my final day, they swapped her out and I had a session with a new one.  One comment I heard from others was that for the upper level classes, having teachers who were more comfortable in English would have been useful for the purpose of explaining grammar and usage.  Overall, however, I thought the teachers were quite good. 
  • Social activities:  The school ran evening excursions three days a week for students, led by a bilingual tour guide.  These included visits to famous landmarks and tourist attractions, as well as to places less likely to be in the guidebooks (e.g. trampolines and bowling).
  • Class size:  My group classes had 2-4 students, depending on the day.  Some of the beginning level classes had more (up to 8, I think). 
  • Facilities:  Classes are all held in the same building, in air conditioned rooms.  There are water coolers available, but no central break room or study rooms for students.  People left the school to eat their lunches.  The school is located less than 5 minutes by foot from the nearest subway station, and about a 10 minute walk from their student housing.  The student housing comes in various grades.  I stayed in the cheapest one (about 30 USD / day), which has air conditioning, laundry, a kitchen area, and a common room.  Everyone gets their own room (with shared bathrooms), and there are 8-10 rooms in the facility.  For the price, I thought it was good. 



  • The online placement exam that they ask you to complete prior to arriving is essentially a questionnaire that asks you to self-assess (i.e. not an actual exam).  This may be why there were a few cases of classes including students at pretty different levels of fluency, which can be frustrating, especially for those placed with more advanced students.  The school did, however, seem willing to accommodate any requests to switch classes/levels, so I think this shouldn't present a big problem for anyone.
  • Several people told me that the school has a policy of prohibiting social interaction between the students and teachers (e.g. no Facebook friending, no hanging out outside of the school).  That was a little weird, and seemed like a missed opportunity for students to engage with native speakers, but it's possible it was preferred that way by the teachers to fend off potential awkwardness.
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