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Sharon_Too

Preparing for MTCSOL after a BEng

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Sharon_Too

Thanks艾墨本! I don't know exactly how competitive I stand compared to foreigners in BTCSOL & MTCSOL, but yes I did get a good grasp of chinese level through my BEng, it was the only way to survive in the Chinese education jungle.

For Confucius Scholarship, requirements are quite low and barely reflect what is truly required to make the most of the MTCSOL, not to mention becoming a decent knowledgeable Chinese teacher. I think that as foreigners, we need to level up our grasp of the language to be as close to native level as possible. I'd say HSK6 is only halfway there. With weaker 语感 and not having gone through years of 语文课, we've got A LOT to make up for.

Just compare with the threshold Chinese students have to overcome to fight for a seat, you might even get a heart attack. But I've always believed in aiming high and setting myself to Chinese standards.

So I've started by 百度ing syllabi, like XX大学汉语国际教育专业学位研究生培养方案 or 招生简章, although still a bit difficult to find recent ones. I'm basically trying to prepare like they 准备考研 and will soon be looking at 考研论坛,考研心得,考研历年真题 (to get an idea of how our future exams will be). 百度文库,百度学术,道客巴巴,豆丁网 are also useful to find docs and papers tagged with MTCSOL & “在华留学生”. I can send you some via Wechat Sharon_Too/QQ 2596120772.

As for the choice of uni, that's nice to hear, I'll talk to them and see.

I also managed to get acquainted to two foreign MTCSOL grads from Sun Yat Sen Uni and both gave great feedback, saying my HSK6 is good and just advising me to read 现代汉语,汉语教学入门.

Right now apart from improving my Chinese level beyond HSK6 and trying out new resources recommended here, I've selected a couple of topics to explore: 汉语常识,语法、现代汉语、古代汉语、汉语教学、中国文化、中国文学、中国概况、历史与政治,each with subcategories and spreading like a neverending web, how exciting!

Great to know someone else is walking down the same path, we could be study buddies :)

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baihua

When I looked at doing the MTSCOL CI application it said this

 

1. 汉语国际教育专业硕士  资助期限为2学年。申请者须具有学士学位或相当学历,汉语水平不低于HSK五级180分、HSKK中级50分,提供毕业后拟任教机构工作协议或相关证明者优先。
1. Scholarship for Master’s Degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSOL) Students
This category provides a sponsorship for 2 academic years. Applicant should own a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, a minimum score of 180 in HSK Test (Level 5), and a minimum score of 50 in HSKK Test (Intermediate Level). Applicant who is able to provide the employment agreement or certification upon finishing the study from designated working institutions is preferred.

 

 

I'm with 艾墨本, you're as qualified as they come.

 

The CI recipient list is here.

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Angelina

Why don't you study engineering?

Is it simply because of the scholarship?

If you love teaching you can teach engineering and deliver your lectures in Chinese.

(Also, how could you write a thesis when you understood only 90% of your lectures? I can understand 100% of my lectures, but my writing skills are still not there. The general practice is 修改 and it is difficult to find a good teacher.

This is a different topic. Very important when it comes to studying in China though.)

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Sharon_Too

@Angelina During my 5 years in China, I gradually realized that engineering was not what I imagined it to be and university also changed me in many ways. Some might say 计划跟不上变化。 Still I persisted in finishing my BEng. Although there was little time to really indulge in the language learning process, I was becoming more and more mesmerized by Mandarin. Through full immersion, I gained stronger 语感 than systematic grammar skills and made faster progress out of pure need. I felt like I had somehow managed to teach myself advanced academic Chinese but other foreigners were still struggling. So I was more than happy to volunteer and tutor them. I was also participating in Chinese contests and trying to get more exposed to the Chinese way of living. I just loved it all. I also took in perspective the experience I had with good and bad Chinese teachers and I knew I could be a great teacher with the right training. It is also part of my root seeking journey and I believe it would be an honor to transmit my knowledge and share my experience on the land of my ancestors to others, especially when the demand for local teachers is rising. Of course I still love science and tech and there's still the possibility of teaching Science as well, but not yet in Chinese at least here. In brief, I just feel happier teaching the incredible language that is Chinese.

What I meant by 90% is that there's usually new terminology that's bound to surface and unfamilliar content that needs digesting. I don't think locals can understand 100% of it either, otherwise they wouldn't need the degree. As for writing, mine is not perfect either, but I can get do with minor 润色 help from natives. Scientific prose is probably more straightforward than creative writing as well. Perhaps the fact that I was the only foreigner without lower requirements pushed me to acquire the skills more quickly.

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Angelina

I have heard the term 语感 from students at 对外汉语教育 programs, never heard it from any professors of linguistics. Professors of linguistics in China do not have that much experience with international students. It is far from perfect but at least they don't talk about 语感.

From what I have seen, a MTCSOL was a good decision for those students who went for it. They got the opportunity to be in China. They also easily got good jobs either at foreign companies in China, Chinese companies in China looking for international exposure. Then there is soft power and Chinese culture. One person went for a PhD in linguistics after a MTCSOL and found the MTCSOL was not enough to prepare her for research. Then again, the people who got jobs got really good jobs. You won't regret your decision unless the other option was at least equally tempting.

What I meant about writing is precisely against looking for a "native" to iron things out. My point is, my English and my Chinese might sound different than the English and Chinese of those who grew up in Beijing or Chicago. However, since the language of instruction is Chinese, I should be able to express myself well in Chinese. Even if this sounds slightly foreign, you should be able to write with ease. I urge anyone who is considering studying in China to think about this, one way to deal with this is to find a 导师 who will teach you how to do your homework. Chosing a 导师 is crucial. There is enough interest to have international students in China and enough students interested in studying in China, but this is not quite rational and there are huge gaps.

Anyway, I think you have discovered that you have a talent for the language. Your Chinese is already better than many other people's Chinese. You have found funding opportunities and there is the whole soft power thing happening. Be careful to always stick to quality. BLCU has a lot of experience with teaching Chinese. Even though I don't think this is the best way to teach Chinese (e.g. grammar), experience is important, so if you are set on the MTCSOL, BLCU has the experience. If you try Chinese philology or linguistics at a 中文系, be careful with the 导师. When it comes to "Chinese-foreign mixed class", a 中文系 (any university) is a better environment because your Chinese classmates will be grading-the-高考(语文) level. Shanghai is an excellent place. Xiamen is also nice, the university too.

You have the support of a Confucius Institute, this is good. There are other funding opportunities: CSC, MOFCOM.

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Sharon_Too

Thank you for taking the time to write such detailed answer.

I would describe 语感 as an intuition for what is right/wrong as derived from an accumulation of both language/grammar rules, patterns observed from frequent exposure, and corrected mistakes. Although it's very helpful, it's true that intuition is bound to fail now and then, just like it is prone to false friend proverbs such as 危言危行. I guess that's why linguists would rather stick to strict grammar rules and truly understand the language mechanisms.

By the way, would you mind telling me which major you're studying and which uni?

As for many of those MTCSOL grads finding good jobs, do they teach/do something related to education or were they taken because of their Chinese proficiency?

One factor affecting the quality of grad students is the disparity in Chinese level among internationals enrolling for MTCSOL. Just compare someone who barely passed HSK 5 after 1-2years from level zero and another who went to highschool in China and did exams similar to 高考. Lacking a strong foundation would directly affect how much one can learn from the master, while one's own efforts, ability to study, uni's syllabus, quality of teachers, etc are also important.

I find it impressive for a foreigner to undertake a PhD in linguistics in China, because it's the ultimate level after mastering the language. MTCSOL is more focused on pedagogy than research and linguistics, so it would be wiser to take a Master in linguistics in the first place.

Speaking of 导师, mine was great but as dean of faculty he was often busy. So he paired me with one of his master student to mentor me through my thesis. He did help me correct odd sentences and I learned a lot from him. I think it would be wiser to 麻烦导师 to judge my work, point out necessary amendments in research method than to teach me grammar trifles. But yes many 导师 have little experience dealing with internationals, and some are actually bad/not committed, even when mentoring Chinese students. Some just have too many students to mentor as well. Each 导师 also has a speciality in some research area and his own style, so that's another factor to consider when choosing 导师.

It's also known that our receptive capacity is usually greater than our productive one, that's why we're usually better at listening and reading than speaking and writing.

I'm a bit perplexed about “BLCU having experience and yet not having the best teaching method”. Could you please elaborate?

You mean 中文系 without as many foreigners and with higher requirements than in chinese-foreign mixed classes in 国际学院/海外学院? I saw some universities offering MTCSOL in both faculties, can foreigners actually choose the one in 中文系 or are they in the other by default?

Thanks for the tips, I am actually planning to apply for CSC and MOFCOM too. By the way, when I apply for CSC through a Chinese uni instead of local embassy, do you know whether I can only choose that one uni or fill three as usual?

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艾墨本

Just as a heads up, one poster here applied for CSC and Confucius Scholarship, got both, but because he got both, ended up being denied one an account of getting the other. In that case, the one he got was not as preferable as the one he didn't. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but I bet you'd be fine just applying for the one you want most.

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Sharon_Too

@艾墨本, I would have thought that both would be available until the poster confirms accepting one. I've got to read these threads, thanks for the info :)

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JamesLam

Hey everyone Im new to this forum. I had a question regarding preparation for the November DAT. Im currently finishing up my second year and hoping to apply to UofT Dent next year and write my DAT in November. Is it possible to do well the first time of writing the DAT? Im also writing the MCAT this summer to keep my options open for medical school although my focus at the moment is dental school. Do you think preparing for the MCAT will also slightly prepare me for the DAT? Has anyone wrote their MCAT in the summer and DAT in November? Thank you

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Sharon_Too

Hi JamesLam, this whole forum actually deals with everything related with Chinese language and China, while this topic is about Master of Teaching Chinese. Perhaps another forum for dentistry or Canada would be more relevant to you. Or you might be lucky enough to have a poster familiar with this subject. Wish you good luck :)

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Angelina

The thing about BLCU is that not enough grammar is being taught there, at least basic grammar should be introduced. I am not a huge fan of memorizing grammar rules without explaining this explicitly. Despite this, BLCU has a reputation and experience, when a teacher has been teaching for decades, she knows how to do it well, how to motivate the student, how to deal with cultural differences. Therefore, BLCU is ok for a MTCSOL. Not the best way to teach Chinese (not enough grammar), but still better than what else is available, their experience makes a difference.

I prefer linguistics. Yes, international students can study at a 中文系, I am doing that now (Zhejiang). Chinese philology is an another degree you can do at a 中文系. Also, there are departments of foreign languages where you can study foreign linguistics. All of this is open, international students are welcome, faculty with international experience too.

Are you interested in linguistics or Chinese philology? I am working in cognitive linguistics. Would you like to know more?

MTCSOL is more applied. You have to know what you are interested in. All options have their drawbacks. I would have hated the 语感 teaching style, never considered a MTCSOL. If you are really passionate about teaching Chinese and need a more teaching-oriented degree you should chose that no matter what the drawbacks are. You said you have already helped other international students, you are good at it.

There are other factors to consider. On campus accommodation for MTCSOL students at Zhejiang is not that nice, even though other ZJU dorms are excellent and facilities in general are amazing. Be careful to check details like these. Xiamen has better dorms for MTCSOL students. 中山大学 also offers better accommodation for MTCSOL students. One thing about Zhejiang is that there are many engineering students. There is Chinese Corner and other activities. If you want your research to be about teaching academic Chinese to international students in China, you can choose this and have the kind of internship opportunities other universities can't match.

About post-graduation work, I don't have any data to support this, I have found most people are satisfied with their jobs. It depends on them, some were not looking for teaching jobs, only looking for jobs in China. One alumna (MTCSOL) chose an even more advanced degree in education and simultaneously opened a school teaching her mother tongue in China. It really depends on what you want, people are happy in general. I don't know much about hiring practices at Confucius Institutes. It is always good to network. I am not planning to work at a Confucius Institute, but it is good to know more about it.

If you want to know about the CSC where your apply at the university (use their agency number on your application form) you should ask the university. I can ask Zhejiang for you, otherwise won't write anything here. I applied through a Chinese embassy and was lucky enough that everything was fine with my first choice. First-hand, up-to-date information is always the best, you can rely on it.

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LinZhenPu

 

 

 One alumna (MTCSOL) chose an even more advanced degree in education

Are you referring to a doctorate program? And is this person on these forums?

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Sharon_Too

Wow I'm 感动 to find such a wealth of information, thanks again. Although BLCU has best reputation, I'm not so keen on studying in smoggy Beijing and would rather stay within 江浙沪. But I was still curious about the different teaching approach and your post has provided me with a whole new perspective. I know that CI prefer giving bursaries to study in their partner university in China but my local CI recommending me is partner with 浙江理工大学 and they don't have MTCSOL, they have only 汉语言文学本科.

When applying for CSC via government, I can pick 3 universities but via direct application to one uni, I can pick one only, right? Is it possible to apply for CSC directly to both 华东 and 浙大 with two email accounts? I don't know if choosing 浙大 would be preferrable to my local CI since both are in Zhejiang and probably have better relations. Right now I'm more for 华东师范 and 厦大 but 浙大 sounds great as well and I already know you for one thing. :) I've just discovered threads for each university and hope to get a better idea of these other factors too. Would you mind telling me how “not nice” the dorms for MTCSOL are exactly? Is it like common showers, toilets and kitchen for the whole floor or the building itself is old? If it's really bad, is it possible to pay extra to switch to the better dorms?

As for the internship, I was thinking the same, are there usually opportunities for MTCSOL students to intern at universities, private language centers or go to their home country? And yes research on academic chinese for international degree students would be very much interesting, either that or the chinese learning situation in my country, for which it would be more relevant to come back home for the internship then.

I looked up linguistics and philology, and the latter still leaves me perplexed from the definition and translation issues, I guess you meant 汉字学 and not 文献学?

Anyway, I think linguistics would be too deep for me, at least right now. So I'm still in for MTCSOL and more focused on teaching.

I don't know what I would have done without all your precious guidelines, if I do end up in China this year, I've got to 请客 :D

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Angelina

Considering your background and the huge need for assistance with academic Chinese for international students, if you choose MTCSOL, you should work in this area. You can still go back home and get a job teaching Chinese.

厦大 has better accommodation for MTCSOL students than 浙大. Don't forget that for other students, for example engineering, Zhejiang offers excellent dorms. Don't know anyone at 华东师范 right now. Yes, common showers and toilets. Rooms are ok, spacious and clean. You can get 700 RMB/month (1000 for PhD) from the university if you want to cancel your free room and find your own place.

There is China Studies at 海宁 (also part of the same university ZJU) where international and Chinese students do not live in the typical 'segregated' housing found in China. I support this idea, good accommodation, one of the best in China.

Not sure if you are interested in China Studies though.

Typically, a 中文系 has master's in 汉语言文学 (Chinese philology- it is often translated as Chinese language and literature, but at least the one at my Department does not cover much literature, the program is better translated as Chinese philology)

and 语言学及应用语言学 (my degree).

Linguistics is not too deep, it is simple, it aims at making things simple. Students planning to teach Chinese should read more.

The thing is, if you are interested in teaching, you should try MTCSOL.

If you find a research group working in linguistics and you want this to be your degree, you can study 汉语言文学 or 语言学 under the CSC.

It is the people that make the place, academic departments included. If you find someone who knows a lot about Chinese grammar, you can go for any degree program they are teaching at. Same goes for teacher training.

@LinZhenPu yes, a doctorate, I don't think this is anyone you know.

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Sharon_Too

Yeah maybe with some luck, hard work and a PhD, one day I'll have the chance to teach academic Chinese to engineering students in China. China studies looks interesting but I don't think it's going to prepare me well for teaching. I've never heard of international and Chinese mixed dorms, totally agree, full immersion in language and cultural environment and sounds fun too.

Yeah you must be right, I've looked up 语言学及应用语言学留学生培养方案, and universities have quite different syllabi, like that of 天津外国语大学 had a lot of courses in common with MTCSOL without much emphasis on 语言学理论,应用语言学. I see that some have 研究方向 like in Sun Yat Sen they can choose for 对外汉语教学方向. How about 浙大?Would you mind sending me yours? What kind of job prospects do linguistics grads have? Do you know which PhD are popular among MTCSOL grads?

Of course, the teachers really are make the spirit of the university. Do you suggest that I should find a 导师 before I apply, especially if I can find one related to what I want to research?

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Kemian

Hello !

 

I e-mailed few week ago 浙大 and the international office send me that :

 

 

Hi,

     Welcome to apply for study at Zhejiang University.

     Sorry that, Chinese Government Scholarship - University program enrolled Ph.D. students mostly, master candidates have little chance. You are advised to apply for Chinese Government Scholarship bilateral program or apply for China-EU Window scholarship, please view web page of http://www.campuschina.org/scholarshipdetailfr.aspx?cid=233&id=4506 and

http://www.campuschina.org/scholarshipdetailfr.aspx?cid=233&id=4510

 

      For application of Master of Teaching Chinese, no need to contact one professor for provisional acceptance offer. On student in this program will be assigned one professor after registration at the university.

 

      Sincerely,

      Tang Li

      Office of Management for Postgraduate Students

      International College

      Zhejiang University

 

So, I don't know if it's a good idea to apply directly to 浙大 for master. I can't because I want one year of Chinese before the master but look for 浙大 scholarship, it's seem they give this scholarship to a lot of master degree student.

 

I am still hesitate for witch major choose. Next year I go to 浙大 (probably, I will know next month) as exchange language student And I will be graduate with a French master degree in 中国学。 (Not the 浙大中国学)

I want be a Chinese teacher. I want to do in the future a Phd in France (If It's in 中国学)or maybe in China if it's more related to linguistic or teaching. 

I don't want start the Phd now because i really want (and I need) to improve my Chinese skill. I have a chinese linguistic class this year and i love it. But I don't what really is linguistic (I had for 1 year a class of french linguistic but it's probably not the same for chinese).

 

@angelina Do you know if in Zheda you can study applied linguistics to language teaching (or something like that ?). You can select your course and witch course do you have in your master please ?

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Angelina

As you can see from this email, the MTCSOL does not have the usual requirement where you need to be accepted by a 导师 before you apply for a master's at 浙大. This shows how this is a special degree, mostly for foreigners.

I did choose my 导师 before I got admitted. As for recommending anyone, I think I learned the most from a summer school at 复旦, I wholeheartedly recommend Professor 胡建华. If you are interested in linguistics, you can at least read his papers. He is teaching in Beijing though.

The Department here is tiny. I should have had more support with academic writing, that's why, not only because of me, I think any students or programs working with teaching the language should work in this area. Many international students, yet support for writing is lacking.

I am thinking to apply for a PhD degree now.

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Sharon_Too

Merci Kemian , good to know even though it lowers my hopes. I wonder if the same applies to other universities like Sun Yat Sen Uni. Doing an exchange is awesome, make sure you immerse yourself as much as possible and talk with Chinese people everyday. Your Chinese will definitely improve fast.

@Angelina 

After discussion with my Mandarin teacher (with PhD in linguistics), it seems highly unlikely for a foreigner to teach academic Chinese at a Chinese university even with the right PhD and research papers... I wonder which kind of job prospect you're expecting after you graduate with your PhD, in China/your country/elsewhere? For me, there's not enough demand in Mauritius, and most schools just require an A level in Modern Chinese (HSK4~5). University of Mauritius will only start its first Chinese course this year as elective with help from the new CI.

I've skimmed through some papers of Prof 胡建华 and I can only say 不明觉厉...thus again proving that HSK6 means nothing... T_T

I guess applying feedback and constructive criticism in the education system is not the Chinese academia's forte. In our university, albeit even tinier than yours, we never had any support in basic academic Chinese. In all due respect, I think professors are just too busy and pressured into trying to publish papers than to worry about writing skills of international grad students. Teaching materials are also sadly lacking, outdated and not specific enough. Back then, I found 化工专业英语课本 wonderfully appropriate and wished I had taken the course in year one. So bilingual material is one approach, although not exactly aimed at us, it can sometimes make do. As for academic paper writing, it is really challenging even for Chinese people. I can imagine humanities students fretting over the use of one word against a more precise one but in engineering I found it pretty straightforward as long as it closely conveys the meaning and doesn't 被查重. I had more issues with sentences, especially long ones and the 书面/口语 nuances.

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