National Taiwan University International Chinese Language Program

Location
Taipei , Taiwan

Review

The National Taiwan University International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) was established in 1961, with the assistance of Stanford University to set up a Mandarin training center on the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei. The original program was designed to meet the  research and educational needs of Stanford University students. Due to the quality of teachers, teaching materials and intensity of the curriculum the ICLP program quickly became a premier center for studying Mandarin Chinese.
In 1997, NTU assumed full administration of the program. The ICLP Program remains in the same building where it was founded more than forty years ago, and maintains the traditions of small classes and intensive instruction that have made it one of the premier Mandarin training centers.

 

Affordability

First and fourth (summer) quarters, NTD $13,600

Second and third quarters, NTD $12,800

Students must also pay a NTD $3,300 application fee.

Click here for current fee schedule.

Like the Beijing IUP program (with which it is affiliated) the fees at ICLP are much higher than other language programs. However, the class sizes are small (maximum 4 students) and in a regular semester each student has one hour one-on-one instruction per day. Many diplomats and academics go to ICLP for its language training in recognition of the quality of teaching.

 

Location

The ICLP program is located in downtown Taipei in what is currently referred to as the ‘student district.’ The university is in a vibrant area close to cafes, restaurants and night markets. The university has a gym, tennis courts and swimming pool on campus. The closest MRT stations are Gongguan or Taipower Building Station. Both stations require about a 10-15 minute walk. There is a U-Bike (Taipei’s bike sharing system) almost at the gate of the school. There also numerous buses you can catch that got to the university. NTU is one of the oldest universities in Taipei and is a very picturesque campus. On the weekends you will likely see wedding photo shoots or families going for a walk in the campus. There is even a farm too!

Accommodation

Starting from the 2015-2016 semester ICLP is no longer able to provide dormitory accommodation for students. ICLP is in agreement with an apartment block and has a set number of apartments set aside for ICLP students. However, this option is premium accommodation and is more expensive. As ICLP is also in the student area with many foreign students studying in the area there are many share houses nearby the school. For more information on how to find accommodation in Taipei, read the Taiwan section here on Asia Options.

 

Reputation

Despite Stanford’s disaffiliation, this program is highly renown as an elite language program and notorious for its highly intense workload. ICLP students will generally advise that 3-4 hours of daily class preparation and homework is needed to keep up with teacher expectations and the rapid pace of the program. High tuition buys you excellent teachers and small classes with motivated students.

 

Opportunities

There are language contests (including the Rotary and Sun Yat Sen speaking competitions), and semester cultural activities (such as day trips to Miaoli, Yingge and longer 2-3 day trips). There are also weekly speaker sessions with international and local academics and journalists (where they provide you with free lunch). There is also a newspaper that students can write for.

 

Curriculum

The program is best suited to Chinese language learners who are at an intermediate or post-intermediate level. The textbooks are more aimed at intermediate students and working to move you from intermediate to advanced. There are still classes for beginners but as a beginner you may be unable to fully take advantage of the speaker series and cultural events which are all conducted in Chinese. 

 

Atmosphere

In order to help students cultivate the habit of speaking Chinese as much as possible, the program maintains a total Chinese language environment. Students are expected to speak only Chinese within the program’s premises at all times. Students at the Center also tend to be highly studious, with students including diplomats there for Chinese language study, academics and Ivy League students. Students are generally serious about learning Chinese, or they wouldn’t have spent that much money. Students rarely skip class and  teachers are highly professional. But the school still organises activities and students tend to organise social outings and gatherings together (independent of the school).

 

Asia Options Verdict

If you are keen to study at Taiwan’s premier university and can afford the exorbitant fees, ICLP undoubtedly offers the best Chinese language learning experience. The combination of small class sizes, excellent curriculum, dedicated teachers and motivated students leads to an environment where your Chinese level will, without  a doubt, improve. With cheaper schools in Taiwan, there is the question of cost/benefit analysis of paying such high tuition fees. But for those with financial assistance the  program offers a structured, challenging and immersive language environment which is hard to beat. Other benefits include ICLP’s highly regarded reputation, the alumni network and making contacts with future China specialists.

For more information visit their Facebook page to learn more about their current events and learning activities.

 

ICLP
9 Total Score
8 Users Score (2 votes)
Pros

Small class sizes
Excellent curriculum
Excellent study environment
Well regarded program
Strong alumni network

Cons

High tuition fees

Location
Affordability
Classes and Materials
Opportunities
Atmosphere
What Students Say... 2 Leave your rating
ICLP is a great school! Hope to go back again!
I just returned from ICLP and can attest that its INTENSIVE program is the best and most effective one. Upon admission, students are strongly not encouraged to skip classes (one or two might be okay) so as to improve as quickly as possible.
ICLP is *very* different from other schools that tend to be soft with foreign students. When I was there, all the courses I took were tailor-made, and teachers were dedicated and professional. The staff were very helpful and kind, and they organized many on/off campus activities, including language exchange with NTU students. I also met a couple of Taiwanese students and toured with their families. I really hope to go back again soon.
By the way, ICLP now launched a new website:
http://iclp.ntu.edu.tw/feedback/
July 31, 2016, 4:15 am
Location8.5
Affordability7
Classes and Materials10
Opportunities8
Atmosphere8.5
0
8
Great School, However.....
let me begin by saying that this is an amazing school with amazing professors whom will guide you on every step of the way when it comes to learning Chinese, the classes are small and you even get one hour a day of 1on1, this program is very intense and demanding, you will be expected to prepare for the lesson that will be given or teach on the following day which means that you will be spending at least 2 to 4 hours a day preparing for your classes since you are not allowed to look at the book when you are in class and the teacher will be asking you questions about the dialogues and vocab in the book. the good thing is that there are not many test or evaluations. there's only one midterm and your final is a 5-minute presentation in Chinese that you have to memorize (you can pick your own topic) and your Chinese will improve on a daily basis. on the other hand, they have a bit of an annoying rule about speaking Chinese the whole time (this has a lot of benefits! obviously!) even if you are on your phone talking to someone that doesn't speak Chinese, the other thing is that you will be speaking Chinese with many other foreigners whose Chinese is maybe not so good or their accent is just plain horrible which is gonna make your accent in Chinese even worse in some cases. the directors and heads of staff (excluding the administrative personnel) at this school are very useful however, they are annoying and many times unprofessional. they will treat you like a 5-year-old kid, if you are late 1 or 2 mins they will most likely wait for you at the door just to tell you to hurry up and get to class,if you skip class for whatever reason they will let you know and somehow yield at you, a lot of times they will also think that you don't have a life outside of school and Chinese, for instance: I was absent for 2 weeks because I went to NYC with my NTU model UN club for a big and very important conference(NMUN), let me point out that the University itself approved my absences as being ok which means that they will not be counted against me, However the director decided to count them against me anyways and i couldn't get my certificate (not a big deal since i just need my transcripts to prove that i was there at some point in my life) however is something that really upset me since i felt that they were taking credit away from me and all the effort that i put in that year towards Chinese as a whole. And last but not lease, the school is not very well maintained for the money that we pay (12kusd) some of the walls need to be painted, the bathrooms were smelly sometimes, the AC didn't work properly and some of the staff were not very nice and unprofessional.
As a conclusion, this is an amazing school! you should definitely go there if you want to use your Chinese for business especially, just keep in mind that you might have to deal with some inconveniences
May 20, 2016, 2:24 am
Location9
Affordability6
Classes and Materials10
Opportunities9
Atmosphere6
4
3
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