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sailfortheorient

ICLP program: is this the right fit?

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sailfortheorient

Hi guys,

I got accepted to the ICLP summer program at NTU in Taiwan. I am going to begin a master's degree in international relations next fall, so I figured I would solidify my Chinese skills before then, and also going to Taiwan should be fun! But...

 

My Chinese skills are already fairly advanced (HSK5 95th percentile). I'm afraid that a group class will be overly expensive (especially ICLP is very costly) and inefficient. I already applied for the Huayu enrichment scholarship for the ICLP program, but now I'm thinking about taking a 1 on 1 class somewhere else in Taiwan.

 

Is it too late to apply to other programs? Anybody have recommendations on good 1 on 1 classes? Thanks!!!!!

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Beelzebro

Sorry for not answering your question, but if you don't mind me asking, how do you know what percentile you were in the HSK5 exam? I did the exam in January and got a good mark (278/300 including 100 in reading) but I wasn't given any feedback about how I performed relative to other test takers.

 

I also just applied for the HES (for Sept. start) and I would love to go to ICLP but even if I get the scholarship, ICLP is just too expensive for me :( So I've applied to CLC NCCU instead. I have the same concern as you that I may already be too advanced to benefit much from group classes but I figure even if that's the case, the scholarship will be covering my costs and the classes are only 15 hours a week, compared to my current full time 40 hr/week job. So I'll still have far more free time than now to make Taiwanese friends and chat with them, or self-study etc.

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Beelzebro

Hmm... is there a way to edit posts on this forum? Anyway, one thing I'd like to add is that it's not too late to apply to other programs. Even if you are granted the HES scholarship, you can choose to use it with a different program than the one you initially applied for, as long as you have the confirmation email from the language school to provide as evidence. ICLP are definitely the best, especially for more advanced students, but if money is a concern you may be better off doing what I'm doing and choosing a cheaper place.

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Shelley
2 hours ago, Beelzebro said:

Hmm... is there a way to edit posts on this forum

 

At the bottom left there is an Edit button, it may not be visible on a mobile or if you have made less than 5 posts. Your first 5 posts are passed by a moderator and so there is not the opportunity to edit them.

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sailfortheorient

Thanks Beezlebro, its cool to find somebody going through the same thinking process online.

 

i have more financial resources so going to ICLP isn’t much of a burden. I’m basically just unsure as to how good the program is for a student like myself. Im also kind of jealous of your lighter course load :P how did you choose NCCU btw?

 

anybody else have input into the best Taiwan programs for students like us? What should I expect to gain from the ICLP summer program? There really isnt all that much info on their website (at least that I could find)

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sailfortheorient

As for the HSK, maybe we took slightly different versions of the test? I took the computerized test in 长沙while i was teaching there. When I got my score back it had percentages on the score sheet and my score was in the middle of the “90-99” range, so I just say 95

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realmayo

I studied on the ICLP summer programme. My reading improved a lot. Actually, the quantity of text that I read was limited but the texts in the textbooks are well chosen and well taught, and the intensive work needed before each class to prepare the texts must have helped do something special to my brain because after the course I was very surprised how much easier it had become to read things like novels. I don't think my speaking improved very much.

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sailfortheorient

Thanks realmayo. That is actually exactly what I am hoping for in a program.我口语水平已经还可以了,我主要是希望读硕士的时候能够看中文材料做研究。Did you think ICLP was an enjoyable experience? Did you make any taiwanese friends despite the intense workload?

 

Some of the people on this website seem to have had poor experiences in the program as they were placed at the wrong level. I guess I will have to ensure that I get placed at an appropriate level. 

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thechamp

From what I have heard about both IUP and also the Beijing intensive one (can't remember it off the top of my head) is that HSK5 would probably be a minimum to be able to handle the workload. By the way I haven't done either program but I have a friend who did one and another friend who did the other. I actually self studied the materials for the radio plays thing, and their 'Issues in Modern Chinese Culture' books, and they were pretty hard (I have an HSK 5 but got between 70 and 80% for the score - I think they only tell you percentiles if you test in China).

 

There was loads of vocabulary that was outside of HSK and mainland materials in their course books. I met some friends of the friend who did IUP once, too, and their Chinese was very very good and they were trying to go and use it for business purposes. I'm not sure what happened to them in the end. It seems expensive but if you have the money, why not?

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sailfortheorient

Oh yeah? I had no idea. I thought for some reason that most of the students would be elementary-intermediate level. I think because of that othrr post I read on this site. Maybe I should do some more prep then before the class? 

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realmayo
On 26/03/2018 at 6:21 PM, sailfortheorient said:

Did you think ICLP was an enjoyable experience?

 

Not super enjoyable actually, now that I think of it, in fact it was perhaps much lower on fun than my other stays in China/Taiwan, but I certainly didn't dislike it. If I had the chance, I'd definitely consider doing a full three-term year there. But two months goes pretty quick, by the time you're up to speed on the routine there's only a few weeks left before you're leaving.

 

On 26/03/2018 at 6:21 PM, sailfortheorient said:

Did you make any taiwanese friends despite the intense workload?

 

No, not really. If I was doing it again I'd try to see if any local students were up for a 30 mins English, 30 mins Chinese meetup in the evenings. The timetable for my four hours classes was unfortunately fairly scattered, I think I started at 10am and finished at 5pm, and got most of my preparation work done in the evenings, couldn't get much done in between classes. So I didn't have time to get out meeting people.

 

On 26/03/2018 at 6:21 PM, sailfortheorient said:

I guess I will have to ensure that I get placed at an appropriate level. 

 

Just make sure when you have the little placement interview at the start that they know that your priority is to increase your ability to read academic/formal texts; I think they figure that your speaking will improve anyway (because of the structure of the classes) but emphasing the reading component should make sure you get the right exposure.

 

The key improvement to my reading was having to work hard on more formal language that you normally only see written down. These might be 'connecting' words between clauses, like 于是 etc, or just formal alternatives to more common everyday words -- all things that I kind of knew but hadn't been forced to really understand, differentiate, or use. Once I could, reading was way easier, those connecting words are actually very useful for reading formal prose smoothly!

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Beelzebro
On 3/26/2018 at 4:12 PM, sailfortheorient said:

how did you choose NCCU btw?

 

I basically went through the MoE's list of approved language training centres and took a look at the websites for all the ones around Taipei. Of these, NCCU seemed the most promising so I went with it. Aside from NCLP, all the other centres seem fairly equivalent to each other. Tbh, I don't have many expectations for the course itself, if I learn a lot from it then great, if not then meh, I don't really mind. Just being in Taiwan, with enough free time to befriend locals and explore, is my main goal. Even if I learn zero from the classes, I know I can still make massive strides in improving my language ability using my free time (all my study up until now has been self-study so I'm used to it). If I have some spare money then I can always augment with one-to-one tutoring if I want. My focus is not quite the same as yours - I want to focus mostly on improving my everyday speaking ability with colloquial language. I figure that's the area that benefits most from being in an immersive environment, while formal Chinese tends to be more rigid and therefore easier to self-study without immersion. Of course I do want to develop all areas of my vocabulary but the formal/technical/business stuff is just a secondary priority until I am satisfied with my everyday 口语, which I'm still not.

 

On 3/26/2018 at 4:14 PM, sailfortheorient said:

As for the HSK, maybe we took slightly different versions of the test? I took the computerized test in 长沙while i was teaching there. When I got my score back it had percentages on the score sheet and my score was in the middle of the “90-99” range, so I just say 95

 

Hmm ok. I took the test in London. Maybe it's just a question of 国内/国外. If you don't mind me asking, what was your score out of 300? I'm quite curious what percentile my result was. I was thinking about trying my hand at HSK6 even though I haven't studied the vocab, cos if I can get a very high mark in HSK5 I figure maybe I can scrape through 6 already? But since the test costs money I decided not to do that.

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AaronUK
1 hour ago, Beelzebro said:

Hmm ok. I took the test in London. Maybe it's just a question of 国内/国外. If you don't mind me asking, what was your score out of 300? I'm quite curious what percentile my result was. I was thinking about trying my hand at HSK6 even though I haven't studied the vocab, cos if I can get a very high mark in HSK5 I figure maybe I can scrape through 6 already? But since the test costs money I decided not to do that.

 

how long ago did you take your test? over the last 3 years all of my tests HSK1-3 have included percentile levels on the certificates. So i assumed this was standard.

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Beelzebro
58 minutes ago, AaronUK said:

how long ago did you take your test? over the last 3 years all of my tests HSK1-3 have included percentile levels on the certificates. So i assumed this was standard.

 

I took HSK5 in Jan 2018 and HSK4 in Feb 2017, both in London, and neither time was I given percentile results on the certificates.

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AaronUK
33 minutes ago, Beelzebro said:

I took HSK5 in Jan 2018 and HSK4 in Feb 2017, both in London, and neither time was I given percentile results on the certificates.

 

oh i just did a google image search of 'HSK4 certificate' online and it had the percentage bands on if thats useful for you.

Feels a bit weird linking to this but its available on google anyway: HSK4 https://www.slideshare.net/AnnikaVynen/hsk-4-examination-score-report-49839258

HSK5 https://www.mandarinclass.my/v2/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/22050057_1889799531036131_3953501751129539899_n_副本-1-600x847.jpg

 

 

 

 

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sailfortheorient
5 hours ago, Beelzebro said:

. If you don't mind me asking, what was your score out of 300?

I got a 275/300. I've heard that the HSK6 is much harder than HSK 5. I actually already memorized the vocab in SRS, but I am going to wait until after Taiwan to take the test. I don't need it immediately anyway. I'm attaching the score table attached to my HSK5 test.

6 hours ago, Beelzebro said:

Just being in Taiwan, with enough free time to befriend locals and explore, is my main goal.

I've been to Taiwan before just for a few days on vacation and it seemed wonderful. I think It'd be a shame to travel there and have no time to explore. Then again, like you said we have different goals. Maybe we can meet up this summer and compare experiences :P

HSK percentile rank.jpg

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Beelzebro
18 hours ago, sailfortheorient said:

I've been to Taiwan before just for a few days on vacation and it seemed wonderful. I think It'd be a shame to travel there and have no time to explore. Then again, like you said we have different goals. Maybe we can meet up this summer and compare experiences

 

Sounds like a plan haha :D if all goes well I'll be in Taipei starting from mid August. Fingers crossed I can get the scholarship...

 

And thanks for posting the percentile breakdown. Looks like we both pretty much aced it :D. I've read somewhere the pass mark tends to be around 180 it seems around a third of examinees fail to pass. 

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happy_hyaena

Taiwan is a lovely place, but it's not that big. I did Taibei-Taizhong-Tainan-Gaoxiong-Taidong-Hualian-Jiaoxi-Taibei in under a month and even then I felt like I was stretching it with some of the places I visited (I'm pretty active though and will visit 3-5 landmarks in a day), and that was with spending ~10 days in Taibei (+daytrips) where you will be living anyway. My 2 regrets are that I didn't visit Kenting and Green Island but it wasn't the right time of the year.

 

So my advice is to set aside 2-3 weeks worth of traveling before and after your studies if possible, and also focus on exploring Taibei and enjoying what it has to offer. I'd love to go back to Taiwan just to visit that city.

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