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Sharon_Too

Preparing for MTCSOL after a BEng

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LinZhenPu

It's not entirely impossible. Watch the motovlog on the ADVChina channel titled You will never be Chinese! Laowhy86 tells a story of a guy from England he knows who teaches Chinese to actual Chinese students studying advanced 汉语言文学 at Bei Da. But of course seeing that is the exception to the rule.

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Angelina

I use terms from linguistics to describe this situation with international students. If there are any Chinese students interested in studying somewhere where the language of instruction is English, but their English is not that good, this describes their issues as well.

Have you heard about the signifier and the signified? You can read about this in English. 

A master's degree is the signifier, the physical credentials you get. A piece of paper stating someone has a master's degree in engineering for example. 

The signified is the content. If you have a master's degree and the language of instruction at your program is Chinese or it is a bilingual Chinese/English program, having this degree implies that you are able to read and write Chinese as fluently as Chinese people (by Chinese I mean those well-educated Chinese who have the same degree you have) do. It implies you were able to write a master's thesis in Chinese. 

A signifier without a signified is questionable. 

 

Therefore...

 

Your own words: 

Quote

than to worry about writing skills of international grad students. Teaching materials are also sadly lacking, outdated and not specific enough

 

 

 

That's why, if anyone is interested in teaching Chinese, I recommend working on teaching international students academic Chinese, especially writing. I know this from experience. You don't have to do this, I am only talking about the need to have this. Considering the number of international students in China, there is demand. 

 

I am not planning to do this in the future because I am planning to do more research-oriented work. Maybe if I have my own grad students, like ten years down the line (mind you, I am still at my master's, PhD next year, hopefully ~), I will help them with academic writing, but I am not planning to make this the focus of my career. 

 

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As for academic paper writing, it is really challenging even for Chinese people.

 

 

There are people who don't have a master's degree and there are people who have a master's degree. If you are a member of the second group, it means you are able to do the, yes, challenging thing, where you write academic papers. Otherwise, it would be a signifier without a signified. 

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crisgee

Just chiming in as someone from the CI-side. Don't forget to obtain a certification or guarantee that you will be hired as a teacher in your home country after your studies. Perhaps your CI also write with on top of your recommendation, if they are the type of CI that can hire teachers.

 

Also, what's your local CI's partner university? They will most likely recommend that school to you and you will most likely have a big chance of getting there. But if you don't like it, may I suggest 中山大学 so you can study under Prof. 周小兵. The university is the biggest in Guangzhou, and just a train away from Hong Kong.

 

Many of our Chinese teachers here in our CI have been reading this book in preparation for an important certification exam for TCSOL Teachers. They've been taking it very seriously so I guess it's one that will be very relevant to you studies. Good luck!

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LinZhenPu
4 minutes ago, crisgee said:

Don't forget to obtain a certification or guarantee

It's not actually necessary to obtain that guarantee, right? It's just that they 'prefer' applicants who have it.

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crisgee
1 minute ago, LinZhenPu said:

It's not actually necessary to obtain that guarantee, right? It's just that they 'prefer' applicants who have it.

 

 

Correct, but you always want to increase your chances. They definitely welcome aspiring teachers to apply. I guess it's just a way for them to see the students will have something to return to, and not just stay in China. The spirit of the scholarship is to develop local Chinese language teachers in every country.

 

I also forgot to mention that the universities may interview you via Skype or what have you  i know 中山大学 does).

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Sharon_Too

Thanks loads @crisgee My local CI is affiliated with 浙江理工大学 but they don't have MTCSOL on offer, so yes I'm seriously considering 中山大学 as first choice. I asked the CI director but he's new and not familiar to the procedures (the CI itself is one month old and tiny), hopefully by the time I graduate it will be bigger so he can provide me with a work agreement. As you mentioned, the aim of CI scholarship is to promote Chinese overseas, how about in China? I know the job market is already fierce among Chinese grads and universities would rather pick them than taking the trouble of handling a work visa, but non-native teachers undeniably have other advantages. Improving the academic Chinese level of students is equally important in training and producing high quality international grad students, isn't it? With the recent new regulations for recruiting foreign talents in China, looks like good news for fresh master grads.

@LinZhenPu Thanks for the link, it prompted me to do a bit of research and I found a lot of passionate and talented sinologists, including Prof Paul Bailey at Durham who perhaps might be the one mentioned in the video. They are sources of inspiration to all, not many believed in their potential when they started their career but they made it to the top anyway. 

@Angelina Wow there's so much to learn, feels like I tasted one drop from an ocean. Questionable it is indeed, especially in universities which lower exam standards for international classes and even ignore cheating students... That reflects how some students are desperately struggling with academic Chinese which is the main obstacle in ultimately grasping their subject. I've never come down to cheating but I understand their situation and I would love to help them using my personal experience.

But I'm not sure if I'm going to/can do a PhD in linguistics after MTCSOL (if I do get the scholarship, and I know the transition will be tough) as I'll then need another source of funding and I'll be 29 after a PhD T_T... Otherwise I'll stay with an MTCSOL degree, learn as much as I can in linguistics on my own, and create an online platform for engineering students to learn academic Chinese, wherever they might be studying...:P

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crisgee

@Sharon_Too I'm not knowledgeable at all with how the Chinese government seeks to improve Chinese in China. It's most likely the job of the Ministry of Education. 

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