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Gap Year course

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Any thoughts of where would be the best place to do a Gap year of Chinese study?     The student has done quite a lot of Chinese at high school already.    Mainland China versus Taiwan?    Capital city versus small city?     Any particular institution?



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Its hard to say for I haven't gone/studied in Taiwan, but I did do a gap year in China specifically in Shanghai at the prestigious Fudan University fro 2015-2016 SY. Did a year of language study from the absolute bottom to the end of the beginner leveled classes from September till May (left a month and a half early). It was really nice for I met people from all over the world and I was on the Chinese Government Scholarship. There's a huge thread on how to apply on chinese-forms. Look into it and its not hard to get depending where you're from and how many people apply from your country. I would say though that our classes taught by our professors were ok. Teachers varied among the level of English and the teaching styles were a bit boring and too systematic and too-the same, but honestly it depends. Although a big and well known school in China, they are quite unorganized and contacting them is hard when you're not in China, but I do recommend the program for people who are willing for a challenge. We took classes up to 20hrs a week varying from grammar, speaking, listening, and writing. Have any more questions? Let me know or just head over to the Fudan University fourm on chinese-forms. I have made lots of great input there and possibly have answered a question you probably want to know more of :)

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Hi Roddy - he will be 18 years old.       So I guess a college campus might be still be the easiest option. Nnedi Ugo - thanks for this info. about Fudan.  ( I was a 留学生 there in 1986-87!).    Did you find opportunities to mix with local people tho' or does it tend to be all international students interacting together?




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It depends hugely on what he wants. If he wants to learn some Chinese while also having the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting folk from all over the world, Beijing or Shanghai will suit fine*. If he (or whoever is paying for this) wants to make sure he doesn't spend the entire time drinking beer with other English speakers, a smaller city will be more likely (but not guaranteed) to provide that.


At 18 - I'd stick him in university dorms. Sorting out his own accommodation will be a hassle and at that age he'll likely enjoy it. 

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As long as he has graduated from high school by the time he begins, he should be eligible. Wow you studied there too?! How cool! There are opportunities, but not necessarily on campus. Some of my friends would do programs off-campus gearing towards that. One comes to mind is Beyond the Bund. It connects foreigners with the older generation in Shanghai showing them their everyday lives. I never participated in it, but my friend seemed to love the program so much. Also I had some other friends where their teachers reached out into connecting with a host family to increase their Chinese ability and just interacting with locals in which quite a few of my friends took advantages of those free opportunities in which were very rewarding to them in the end. 

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@roddyWell that's the thing - he can already speak some Chinese - we are all in HK, so he's done many years of compulsory Chinese at school, I suspect Beijing and Shanghai are wonderful places to be young and hang-out, but in terms of taking Chinese to the next level... hmmmm maybe not so good....

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It depends on what attitude he brings to it. And to be honest, he's 18 - if he spends half his time chatting to folk from France and Kenya and Brazil and makes some lasting friendships and learns about a wider range of cultures, he's still doing pretty well for 18, and the other half of his time is plenty to boost his Chinese. Wherever you send him, it's going to depend very much on him - Shanghai has more temptations, but you can find an English speaker and a cheap bar anywhere in China. 

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I don't know about his attitude, but when I did a summer program with my college at 20 years old I was very disappointed due to the difficulty of meeting locals. We were all squeezed into a hotel off-campus. I enjoyed hanging out with all my friends, but it was far from my preference.


If I were to do it again, I would have done a gap year or taken a year off from college to study a full year of Chinese in China. In that sense, I think he/you have the right idea. As to where, I agree with Roddy, it will depend on what he wants. With that in mind, should make the most sense to talk to him and find out what he likes.


Some schools that offer different things and are interesting to me:


Beijing: Beijing language and culture university and Qinghua University both offer great teaching quality but he will likely be surrounded by many English speakers. However, with a little effort, he could form a Chinese speaking community.

Guilin: from a Quora post: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-best-school-to-learn-Mandarin-in-China

Keven Keppi, MTCSOL, Master Degree in Chinese Language and Literature, Teacher, Translator

Try Guangxi Normal University in Guilin

  1. Cheap tuition fee, accommodation, and living cost
  2. Located in Guilin, one of the most beautiful city in China
  3. No pollution, minor traffic jam
  4. Few European and American students, you can’t use English to communicate in most situations LOL
  5. The school has many activities and competition to help you improve your Chinese
  6. I’ve studied in five Chinese cities including Beijing, and so far, Guangxi Normal University has the best teachers in my own opinion. I love the teaching methods
  7. Most of the foreign students are from Southeast Asia. They are very friendly

Xi'an, Xiamen and Kunming all have universities worth checking out. Look through this thread: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/35207-university-index/


If you want to go private, check out Keats in Kunming (advertised on the home page). I studied there for two weeks and loved it. 

Edited by 艾墨本
fixed a typo
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