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Choosing between Taiwan (Kaohsiung) and China (probably Kunming) - What would you do?


Yaojueding
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I have been granted a scholarship for studies for both countries. The Taiwan one is 12 months, and as long as I won't go to Taipei it covers most of the expenses. The China one is for two semesters, so it gives me two months less. 

As I can't use both of the scholarships, I am trying to decide where to go.  I have studied the simplified characters so far (about 2000 of them, I guess), and the transition to writing traditionals is quite intimidating. Other than that, it seems like Taiwan would be a better choice in term of length and life quality (including the pollution issue). Since I'm not into scholarly research on the field (beyond the B.A in Asian Studies that I'll be soon finishing), I am not sure that the hassle in learning (to write) the traditionals is worth the difference between the two scholarships.  

 

What would you do? 

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if you know simplified already, you only need to do about 500 flashcards to master the conversion to traditional. I get that it seems intimidating but that's just because you haven't learned those characters yet. once you go through the 500 differences you'll see it's really not that big a deal.

 

on a side note though I would recommend learning at least the most common 3k simplified chinese characters to be able to read comfortably.

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Having lived in Taiwan and Western China for two years each I would say Taiwan is more convenient but Western China will be a far far more interesting experience. Personally I would go for China if it's just a year. If it was a more permanent move then Taiwan makes more sense because it's such a pleasant country. China is still such an eye-opener though.

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Sounds like you have several questions kind of rolled into one. Might be easier to analyze your options if you broke them out into separate items.

 

1. Academic considerations. Differences in your scholarship offers.

2. Language considerations. Traditional vs. simplified characters. Standard Chinese vs. dialect.

3. Economics and cost of living.

4. Quality of life and health considerations. Public transportation, air pollution and such.

5. Your interest in visiting and exploring those two places and their surrounds.

 

Lots will boil down to your personal goals and preferences. I live in Kunming; it has pros and cons.

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