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Where to live and study Chinese with a Huayu Scholarship? Hualian, Yilan, Taipei, Tainan...?

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Hey folks!


I am totally new to this forum and never been to Taiwan. I am an Italian student who studied Chinese in Beijing for a couple of semesters a few years back and I am now applying for the Huayu Scholarship. I have lost a lot of fluency in the meantime and my level is somewhat in the lower intermediate range.

If I get admitted I would start to study in Taiwan from September. I have narrowed down the choice of places to study to five centers and it would be great to hear your views about the institutions and their cities before taking my final decision.


I have tried to write some pros and cons for each institution based on the info I was able to gather online.


These are my choices:


- CLC at Tzu Chi University in Hualian (Pro: big campus, relaxed atmosphere, nature all around, cheaper city) (Cons: higher tuition fees, a bit too far away from civilization? :P)


- CLIC center at Fo Guang in Yilan (Pro: very central school, small city, cheaper living, pledge to speak Chinese all the time) (Cons... higher tuition, small city?)


- CLD at NTU in Taipei (Pro: Big student community, central in Taipei, affordable tuition fees) (Cons: higher living expenses, too many distractions?, big classes?)


- MTC at NTNU in Taipei (Pro and cons similar to NTU I would guess)


- CLC at NCKU in Tainan (don't know much about this school but I was told it's a good place to study and that Tainan is a more laid-back, traditional city when compared to Taipei).


I have to say that I have very conflicted feelings about going back to live in a big metropolis like Taipei or whether moving to a smaller venue like any city in the eastern part of Taiwan. Both choices have their own pros and cons and I still can't make up my mind. This is why I need your help :P


Thanks for reading so far!

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I know nothing about the schools, but I would 99% percent pick one of the Taipei schools because 1) big city convenience 2) bigger student community, so it's easier to make friends 3) Taiwanese live in Taipei in huge numbers, so it'd be easy to make friends with them too lol 4) you're a self-described lower-intermediate Chinese speaker, so if you get lost or something while going out, you will most likely be able to find someone who speaks a modicum of English since English speakers in Taipei are relatively numerous 5) "relatively numerous" still leaves room for lots of Chinese practice 6) beautiful Yilan is only a quick bus ride away (take all your easily-made friends with you)!


The 1% vote for other cities?

1) if you are particularly interested in Taiwanese aboriginal life

2) if you have bad friend balance, i.e. all your friends are international students like yourself. The common language can realistically only be English or Chinese, and I think if you go out with your Lower-Intermediate classes' friends, the most common denominator will most likely still be English.


My background: I've spent a winter vacation in Taiwan, primarily Taipei, but also visited Yilan and Chiayi. I was a huge fan of Taipei and Yilan, but not so much Chiayi because the air quality reminded me of China.

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