President Cardinal Paul Yu Pin founded the Language Centre of Fu Jen Catholic University in 1964. The original objective was to instruct priests in the Chinese language to allow them to continue their missionary work. The role of the school has now evolved. In addition to providing training to priests, the Fu Jen Language centre also welcomes foreign students to learn Chinese. The Mandarin training centre at Fu Jen University is also recognised by the Taiwan Ministry of Education.
The tuition fees are on par with other language schools in Taipei.
The fall, spring and summer quarter are all 12 weeks with 12 hours of class per week plus a three hour culture class. For larger class sizes (4-7 students) the cost is $NT 28,000; for small class sizes (2-3 students) the cost is $42,400 and for individual classes the cost is $NT71,200.
The winter quarter is shorter (11 weeks). The cost is: larger class sizes (4-7 students) $NT25,750; for small class sizes (2-3 students) $NT38,950 and for individual classes $NT65,350.
There is also a $500 registration fee charged at the start of the student’s first semester. There is also an administrative fee (including group insurance) of $500 per quarter.
Fu Jen Catholic University is not located in Taipei City. It is in New Taipei City. The university is very easily accessible. There is an MRT station right outside the university and it takes 5 minutes to walk from the language centre classrooms to the MRT. The bus station is also next to the MRT within many buses connecting to Taipei.
There are many food options around the university in the small alleys that border the university. There are also clothes and stationary shops available to meet all the needs of students.
Students studying at the language centre are free to use all the facilities at Fu Jen Catholic University including the gym, swimming pool, computer labs and libraries.
While many students may want to stay within Taipei living outside of Taipei comes with many benefits. First, food, accommodation and other expenses are much cheaper than Taipei. Second, less people speak English giving you more opportunities for practice.
The school recommends students stay in the dormitory. The dorm is only a five minute walk from the school. The dorm rooms are triple, quadruple and twin share. Twin share rooms are the hardest to come by. Students are also unable to choose who their roommate will be. Students can express a preference but there is no guarantee. Students can apply for a dorm here.
There are also rooms and apartments available for rent outside the university. For more information on finding a room for rent in Taiwan visit the ‘Getting Started in Taiwan‘ Asia Options page.
Although not one of the most well known schools in Taiwan the school nevertheless has a long history starting in 1964. Foreign priests in Taiwan are known for their excellent Chinese language ability (some say if you close your eyes you wouldn’t know they weren’t Taiwanese) and this points to the success of the language program at Fu Jen University.
There are many cultural activities on offer. The school offers two field trips per year (for example visiting Hualien or Taroko Gorge) and three major cultural activities per year (Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese New Year and Dragon Boat Festival – Christmas is also widely celebrated due to the fact it is a Catholic university).
Students at the Fu Jen Language centre are also free to participate in any of the activates organised by other departments within the university. Students can also join student associations (such as badminton, chess etc.) based on their language ability.
If students would like to pursue a degree at Fu Jen University after their language training, the teachers can offer assistance in writing the application and calling up relevant departments.
The school is also in the middle of revamping its Alumni network ensuring that future students will be able to remain connected to alumni from the school
The school caters for beginner to advanced students but most students who come to Fu Jen language centre start at the beginner level in the fall semester before moving up. The school recommends students to start in the fall semester because this will offer the greatest choice of available classes to students.
The school uses the ‘Practical Audio Visual Chinese’ textbook series for beginners and intermediate students. For more advanced students the school uses ‘Far East Everyday Chinese’ and ‘A Course in Contemporary Chinese.’
Students have 15 hours of class per week. This involves 12 hours in small group classes (learning with the textbook) and three hours per week of big group language class (around 20 students) which focuses on one language ability (e.g. conversation, tones etc.)
It is hard to predict what time the class will be prior to taking the placement test at the start of each semester. Classes are in three hour blocks starting on the hour.
The language-training centre at Fu Jen Catholic University is quite small with around 250 students per semester. Students come from all over the world with the majority of students coming from Southeast Asia, Africa and Korea. Given the smaller number of students and also the small class size, the atmosphere is a lot closer knit with most students friends with each other. There are also study groups where students study together. Unlike some other language schools there are no rules about what languages can be spoken around the school.
There is also a student lounge with microwave for students to relax in between classes. This is a good are to meet fellow students.
Asia Options Verdict
A school ‘off the beaten track’ near Taipei. Small class sizes and a smaller student population lead to a more intimate and congenial learning environment. The curriculum is comparable to other schools in Taipei and the overall cost of living and studying in New Taipei City make Fu Jen University a cheaper option. Living outside of Taipei also comes with many benefits – meeting more local friends, speaking more Chinese and seeing another part of Taiwan that most students would not see. Asia Options would recommend Fu Jen Catholic University for those ready to create their own independent language-learning journey.