You have made the decision to go to Taiwan to learn Chinese. Perhaps it is part of your university degree, you need it for work or you just want to learn Chinese. Congratulations! Here at Asia Options, we think moving to Taiwan to learn Chinese is a fantastic step in your Chinese learning journey. Making such a big move, and investing so much time and money you want to be sure that you will go the best language school for you.
But how can you know which is the best language school out there for your particular needs? Although students of Mandarin all have the same goal of learning Chinese, we have different budgets, different learning styles and different reasons for learning Chinese.
There is also a lack of information about the various schools in Taiwan, some don’t even have an English webpage! To help you make the best decision, Asia Options has done the hard work and curated a list of Mandarin language program reviews with insight from Mandarin language students who have attended the best and worst language schools in Taiwan.
Most major universities in Taiwan run Mandarin language programs for foreign students. Most university courses divide the academic year into four seasonal terms – summer, winter, spring and fall. Students can enrol for the whole year or for one or more semesters. Since most university courses are structured as a pathway for students who will go onto studying a degree program at university, this means the fall semester (our spring), which is also the first academic semester of the year is the most important. Most universities recommend starting at this time as there are the most academic courses on offer.
Semesters at university are usually three month programs, apart from the summer term which is only two months. According to visa requirements, if students wish to have a student visa, they must take 15 hours of class per week. This means that the curriculum of most schools is based around a 15-hour week. Some schools offer an ‘intensive’ class which is 15 hours of class, while others offer 10 hours of class with 5 hours of supplementary cultural classes. Most universities offer morning and afternoon classes giving students some flexibility with their timetables.
In choosing the right university, it’s very important to consider location and the campus environment/atmosphere. Teaching standards, cultural activities, curriculum and class formats are relatively uniform across most universities and while there are differences in tuition fees, the margins between different universities are not usually that high. Students will pay a premium at NTU and NTNU, but you are paying for a brand and international recognition. Moving outside of Taipei – even to New Taipei City – will result in some significant savings. If you want to fast-track your Chinese, ICLP offers an intensive course via its 20-hour week.
- National Taiwan Normal University Mandarin Training Center (MTC)
- National Taiwan University Chinese Language Division (CLD)
- National Taiwan University International Chinese Language Program (ICLP)
- National Cheng Kung University in Tainan
In addition to the universities, there are some new private language schools on the scene. Private schools cater more to the short-term study market, working professionals and those who want greater flexibility. Private schools offer tailored classes, individual tutoring and short-term (even one week) programs. Like universities some private schools also offer cultural activities and offer helpful teachers and administrators. But many lack a campus environment and may be a lonelier experience due to the more personalised and individualised nature of the program.
Academies are ideally suited to short-term students or full-time professionals looking to maximise their language and cultural immersion through a tailored and organised program. There are a number of conveniently located private schools in Taipei around the Gongguan and Taipower Building Areas.