Chinese Language Center of Tzu Chi University: Mandarin in Taiwan

Video and Photos

SEa
SEa
Volunteer activities with children from unstable families
Volunteer activities with children from unstable families
Students join Hualien Joint Aboriginal Harvest Festival
Students join Hualien Joint Aboriginal Harvest Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival Activities
Mid-Autumn Festival Activities
Chinese Paper Cutting
Chinese Paper Cutting

About

Here's what you can expect from taking Chinese language courses with us!

- Improve you listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in small-sized classes
- Obtain a better understanding of Taiwanese culture through various extracurricular programs, including festival activities, volunteer opportunities, indigenous tribal tours and traditional culture field experiences
- Immerse yourself in the life-world of the locals and broaden horizons through interacting with people from diverse backgrounds

Our classes range from beginner levels to advanced - there is something for everyone! Visit our site for more information.

Highlights
  • Small-sized classes to facilitate more interaction.
  • Free cultural and festival activities.
  • Three hours of class a day for optimal learning.
  • Indigenous tribal tours and field experiences.
  • Volunteer programs and opportunities.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

91%
based on 14 reviews
  • Instruction 9.3
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.5
  • Housing 8
  • Value 8.9
Showing 1 - 14 of 14
Default avatar
Jorge
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Must TRY!

This is a good opportunity to learn or better your mandarin chinese speaking and writing skills. I studied here and met a lot of people who help you with what they can. Also the activities are fun and just the right environment to develop your mandarin skills and socialize with other students. The teachers are also very nice and offer you the best time overall in class and some other activities available. Their teaching material, techniques and methods applied have the clear understanding of the students mind and how to transfer the knowledge to the students and it also gives you the right motivation to keep practicing to improve. I have also a recommendation since you are going to be in Hualien how about doing some volunteering work and visit Tzu Chi abode, and take a look over there and other places to practice your chinese and immerse yourself in Taiwanese culture.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Get the most out of it! Go and look around practicing speaking mandarin around the city and rural areas.
Default avatar
Vicheka
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fun experienced

It was an interesting camp and yet a great experienced to explored Taiwan and learn about the culture there through out this camp and I can say that I have learnt a tons of things during this two weeks from loving, giving, cherishing the food, environment to being a good citizen and child. Plus the camp have plenty of activities and classes such as learn how to cut paper, moral of living, how to recycle, how to make tea and more, but my favourite was how to make tea, not only it teaches us how to make it but to learn the history behind it and the meaning behind the art of making tea which is to me was very interesting to learn yet to enjoy the taste of it.
Overall, this was an amazing experienced for me that I have been here the first time and get to taste every bits of Taiwan and I also get to taste quite a few delicacy too, like the Boba Milk Tea, Mochi and Smelly Tofu and I am looking forward to attend this camp next year !

What would you improve about this program?
For me it was the meal it was vegies food but I would say I am okay with it.
Default avatar
Eric
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best places to learn Mandarin

I have studied Chinese occasionally now and then in Taiwan, China, and the United States, and I can honestly say that the quality of instruction at Tzu-Chi University is equal or superior to anything else I've experienced. It's the best. The teachers create supplemental materials, offer a good blend of conversation, vocabulary, and grammar, and have an encouraging and caring attitude. I've studied foreign language acquisition as a topic, and the staff at Tzu-Chi are up-to-date and using the best methods to help their students. The place is also a good choice for study because of the geographic location (natural scenic beauty, fairly clean environment, frequent fast trains available the Taipei metropolitan area, etc.) and the cultural context (the entire Tzu-Chi movement is well worth examining, and learning about the Tzu-Chi Foundation and its work can be part of the fun of learning Chinese here, if you are curious about it. The people here are serious about environmental protection, which means if you live on campus there are restrictions on air conditioner use in the summer, and some pretty strict standards of getting your trash organized into multiple categories and presenting the various recyclable objects in clean condition. The rules about no meat on campus were fine with me (I prefer vegetarian). But when I studied here the longest, in 2014-2015 for two semesters, I lived off-campus in an apartment in the nearby neighborhood, and found it a delightful place to live. I try to bring students here from my university in the summers, and I think students have a better experience here than they would in any other language center.

What would you improve about this program?
They ought to produce even more of their own materials, such as flashcards. The materials they do provide as supplements to what you find in the textbooks are so good, I just wish there was more of it.
Default avatar
Alexander
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Mountains and Water

I was in my early thirties when I went to Taiwan for the first time. I had done my research, so I went straight to Hualien. In need for a break from the busy city life, I found just what I needed.
The language center of Tzu-Chi is on a small campus that lies 2-3 km outside the city center of Hualien. It's a beautiful place, with grass fields around, and an exceptional view on the mountains. At times, it has a quiet meditative feeling. Still, it is very convenient : there are outstanding sport facilities, a cafeteria, a big library (with English books too) and dormitories on site. Within 5-10 minutes walking distance, there are many restaurants, shops, and private rooms for rent. It takes 20 minutes by bicycle to reach Hualien train station from which you can explore the East coast or go to Taipei for a weekend.
The classes are well taught and because there aren't too many foreigners, there's plenty of opportunities to practice Chinese and meet Taiwanese students. The language center also offers extra cultural activities for those interested. On the Tzu-Chi main campus close to the train station, there are even more activities for learning (like taichi, chinese painting...) or meeting people.
Apart from the laid-back atmosphere of Hualien, the other thing that drew me to Tzu-Chi, is that it is a Buddhist organization. I was interested in learning more about Buddhism and I was touched by story behind Tzu-Chi. However, for most students the influence of Buddhism will only be felt through the restriction on vegetarian food within the campus, but the more sensitive observer will feel the attention that has been put to nurturing the heart and uplifting the soul...

PS: At time of writing, the website states this is a 1-6 weeks program. The study terms are actually 2 or 3 months in length for group classes (4-10 students), with 4 terms a year.
I thought I would study there for 6 months then go to mainland China. It was so good I ended up staying two years.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Stinky tofu :P

Even though I wasn't a vegetarian, I was actually amazed by Taiwanese vegetarian food. It's delicious!
Wiryani
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Grow your knowledge and social heart in fun and friendly environment

I love learning languages and from my experience, the best way to learn a language is to learn it in its origin country and preferably not in big cities since usually there are lots of people who can speak English there.

Therefore I picked Chinese Language Center of Tzu Chi University (CLCTCU) as my place to learn Chinese. It is located in Hualien, surrounded by mountain and it has beautiful beaches. The atmosphere is very serene and peaceful. Local people are very friendly, especially if they know you are a foreign student.

In CLCTCU, both teachers and staffs are very friendly, supportive, and helpful. They teach and help the students to experience the best not only in Chinese learning, but also to know more about the Chinese culture and the beauty of Hualien. Friends are coming from all over the world and it is fun to know more about them and their culture. Not only that, here we can also grow our social heart. The staffs will arrange one or two events every semester where we can participate in Tzu Chi events.

I am very grateful to have this opportunity and experience all of these. I hope you are too!

Default avatar
Indra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Learn Chinese Language and do Volunteer

As Chinese born at Indonesian, I really ashamed because I couldn't speak Chinese. I have 2 reasons why I choose Tzu Chi Language Center and Humanism at Hualien for studying Chinese Language.
First because of the beautifulness of Hualien ( near mountain and beach), it makes this place the best place for relaxing mind and refreshing our lung.
Second is Tzu Chi Language Center not so many Indonesian people. So I have better chance for speaking Chinese Language. I can say, right now my Chinese Language is better than my English.
The other reason I choose Tzu Chi Language Center and Humanism because I can do volunteer when they have activities and also at Tzu Chi Foundation in JingSi Hall and JingSi Abode.
Every month at Tzu Chi Language Center has program for us learning Chinese culture with Humanism style so that makes it different with others language center.
Doing volunteer activities at Tzu Chi Foundation also help me to know more about compassion and charity.
So for those who want or still studying at Tzu Chi Language Center, you can use your a little bit free time for doing volunteer activities and you will feel awesome

What would you improve about this program?
Promote it on social Media about language center activities and be different with others like make volunteer activities
Default avatar
Liam
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

慈濟 (Tzu Chi) Mandarin Language School Canadian Perspective View

Life in Hualian is amazing and is a huge draw as to why you would pick this school over others. I'll get to the school in a bit, but first you must know that because Hualian is more rural, you are able to practice Chinese outside more with locals (however a lot of the older generation's first language would be Taiwanese or other aboriginal languages, therefore different accents) as almost everyone speaks standard Mandarin. Compared to schools situated in Taipei or other west side situated Mandarin Language learning schools, the youth know less English and are therefore more comfortable speaking with you in Chinese.

If you are a nature lover, a more laid back person, an adventure, and enjoy clean air, then Hualian is definitely your style. It is also much cheaper here with tons of cheaper (comparative to Taipei) fresh fruit and vegetables. There is river tracing, hiking mountains, swimming in rivers, surfing (yes! however no "friendly sandy beaches" really), wild hot springs (and resorted ones) nearby. That being said, if you crave the city life and it's exciting energy then Hualian is a poor choice as you may find yourself bored... all depends on your perspective. Also to add, organized sports here are lacking.

On to the school itself; the campus is a beautiful, relaxing, scenic (right beside the gorgeous mountains) place to study mandarin. Class sizes are relatively small and allow you to interact a lot rather than just listening. !!!IMPORTANT!!! The class is taught by following a book you buy when you arrive there, so if you are paying with your own money, it is important to figure out if you need a classroom setting with a teacher to learn the material. Often it is a good idea, however be wary, as the Chinese educating system is different than a western one. I find they sometimes value following a rigid and linear educative system, rather than allowing a students mind to best connect the dots. Thinking outside the box here is not as rewarded or at the very least, as supportive (might just be an extension of the complete Chinese education system, not just Tzu Chi... so take that in mind when you first feel the ambition to take on this language and thus it's culture). Obviously I need to give an example to make this idea more concrete. I would often ask questions that are related to the material at hand, however it was not in the teachers agenda to teach, and therefore the teacher was a bit hesitant to answer and more treated my question as a side track instead of a chance to learn. Nevertheless, the teachers are extremely helpful in that they willingly would stay after class to answer my questions if I still had them.

Break this paragraph up a bit. The actual skill of the teaching was good. My first semester teacher was very good in the sense of managing time and instructing a class, having a healthy balance between order and chaos, and also having great teaching techniques and a good attitude. My second semester teacher seemed to have a harder time adjusting to the class at first, but maintained a very good attitude and tried hard to accommodate everyone's learning style as the semester progressed. I understand it can be tough instructing students who have educational backgrounds from different continents, and thus different expectations. Moreover, often the teachers would stay during break time and answer any questions, and also after class, signifying that they care a lot about the students' Chinese language progression.

In conclusion, I had an absolute eye opening and wonderful experience living in Hualian, and attending Tzu Chi University. You also get to meet people that have a similar perspective of living in a more relax place like Hualian, I know I've met some friends for life. I would often go run beside the mountains, and swim in the rivers before class. Go to the beach to watch the beautiful sun set, watch the fish jump out of the water in the estuary. It's really a perfect place to kick start your Chinese, or continue it. I always said, and say, that Hualian is a mandarin learner's paradise.

What would you improve about this program?
I recommend more open communication with students regarding feedback on teaching techniques; i.e. What do students think about their current teachers techniques, and what can be done to enhance education during the semester.
Default avatar
Brendan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tzu Chi Chinese Language Center

I recieved a scholarship from TECRO to study Chinese in Taiwan, so I wanted to chose a small city with a good environment and clean air, so I chose this school in Hualien. All these things surpassed my expectations, the scenery was breath-taking, the sky always blue, and the city life comfortable and convenient. Then, I found out how much I enjoyed the campus, the small classes, and the dedicated teachers. Also, the administrative staff were always helpful and took good care of the students. All of my teachers took the time to get to know their students and worked hard to help their students improve. We became friends, could eat out together, and even play board games together. My Chinese improved by leaps and bounds, from the great classes, and the convenient places around town to practice. I still wish to go back to Hualien and see the many friends, including teachers and staff that I met here. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to try a different experience then the typical large city of Taipei, and someone looking to have the chance to get to know their teachers and friends on a deep level. Their are many good cultural experiences offered by the college as well, such as a tea ceremony class, and everyone in Hualien prefers speaking Chinese than English, so it's the perfect place to practice around town. Having a bicycle and riding around town after class is convenient, and allowed me to go anywhere in town I wanted to go. So, don't miss the chance to experience this excellent program.

Default avatar
Alex
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

High-value instruction in a terrific location

The quality of course instruction combined with the quality of life in Hualien can't be beat. The air is fresh, the mountains are beautiful, and the average person in public is warm and accommodating toward Chinese learners. Courses at the university are affordable and one-on-one instruction at Tzu Chi has been a tremendous introduction to the language for me. I would highly recommend this language center and location to anyone, beginner or advanced. I will soon be returning Stateside for graduate school and have every intention of continuing my journey with this language.

Anneke
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Really Valuable Experience

I came to Taiwan as an American who spoke no Chinese, had very little knowledge of Asian culture, and whose Spanish skills would not be of any use in Taiwan. I knew that when I arrived, learning the language would be essential for improving my quality of life and enhancing my experience in Taiwan. My contract to live and work in Taiwan was for eleven months, and I will have taken Chinese class at Tzu Chi Univeristy's Language Center for nearly 8 of those eleven months for a total of three terms. My learning experience has been entirely positive, and I have been fortunate enough to have a teacher who will rearrange her schedule so that I can have consistent instruction from her for all three terms. I take individual tutoring, and my Chinese abilities have been slowly, but steadily, improving. It has been worth every penny! My experience in Taiwan has most definitely been enhanced by learning Chinese, and I would recommend this course to anyone who asks.

Default avatar
Jeremy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Tzu Chi Experience

I attended the Chinese Language Center of Tzu Chi University for about 18 months. I arrived in Taiwan with no previous knowledge of Mandarin. The staff was very helpful in tailoring my studies to fit my learning habits. During my time at Tzu Chi I took both individual and group classes, each of which provided their own distinct advantages. I enjoyed the diversity of my group classes, meeting classmates from all over Asia, Europe, and North America. Several of which I still remain in contact with.

During my time studying at Tzu Chi I became very sick and had to have my gall-bladder removed. The staff and my teacher were amazing in helping me though this ordeal. They visited me in the hospital and were accommodating as I tried to catch-up on my studies. I could tell that they cared for me not only as a student but as a person.

Tzu Chi University is located in Hualien, Taiwan, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The city is located on the east coast of Taiwan and is in-between the ocean and the mountains. What I also enjoyed about studying at Tzu Chi is that Hualien is a more relaxed city than the larger cities of Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. The campus itself has large wide open green spaces, which can be somewhat hard to find within Taiwan cities. It has a very peaceful atmosphere.

As, I write this I am still living in Taiwan and work for a Taiwanese non-profit that operates predominately in Mandarin.

What would you improve about this program?
Provide an option of housing for families with children.
Default avatar
Conor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A great place to study.

The language course offered here is great. It's a very peaceful place with mountains and the ocean nearby. For me it was an ideal place to focus and study the language. Living in the dormitory gave me an opportunity to practice speaking Chinese every day and meet new friends from all over the world.

Before taking this language course, I had very basic Chinese but holding conversations was difficult. After taking the course I felt my Chinese improved a lot, I can hold conversations with people and understand a lot more.The teachers and staff are very friendly and supportive. During the course there are a lot of cultural activities and opportunities to volunteer.Taking part in these activities will also help you improve your Chinese. I would highly recommend studying here.

What would you improve about this program?
If worksheets based on Youtube videos that related to the topics taught in the textbooks were prepared as supplementary . I think it would help reinforce the content taught in class. However the student can also research this in their own time.
Default avatar
David
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Intense Learning

I studied for two terms at Tzu Chi’s Chinese Language Centre. A few weeks before the end of the second term I took the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL). I achieved Level 2, with a score of 61/80 (76%) and 62/80 (77%) in listening and reading, respectively. As is to be expected when learning a new language, my listening comprehension skills are better than my speaking skills. Upon completion of the second term I was able to hold short, simple conversations.

My experience was that the teachers were incredibly kind, dedicated, enthusiastic, encouraging, and helpful. They created learning materials to supplement the textbook. They willingly answered questions during and after class, and during breaks, and were open to suggestions and special requests.

There were several hours of homework each day. Much of this involved learning to write and read characters. Writing assignments focused on learning new vocabulary, language patterns and grammatical structures.

I felt that the language patterns were not always adequately explained in terms of broader grammatical structures. To remedy this, I studied grammar books and online resources to supplement the classroom instruction.

In my opinion there is not enough emphasis on speaking and pronunciation. The program does not use a communicative approach to language instruction. Very little class time is spent on controlled practice of new language patterns.

I did not live in the dormitory. There were only a few events to promote socializing and networking. I enjoyed the special cultural events, especially the tea ceremony. Most of the students were from other countries in Asia.

Hualien is a pleasant city that is accessible and easy to navigate, but it is best to have a bicycle or a motor scooter, since there is no public transportation within the city. Second hand bicycles are inexpensive, and a small shop near the campus will buy it back when you leave.

The Language Centre is at Tzu Chi’s Humanities and Social Science campus, on the western edge of Hualien City. It is small, pleasant campus in a garden-like setting. The classrooms are air-conditioned. There is a good library with English language newspapers, comfortable study areas, computers with internet access, and a solid collection of English language books. The library staff are helpful but speak minimal English. There are good sports facilities and a comfortable student lounge, with interesting cultural exhibits.

I enjoyed my time at Tzu Chi, believe I made some solid progress in learning Mandarin, and am considering returning for another term.

What would you improve about this program?
More attention to speaking.
Default avatar
Bonnie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Warm, generous, and responsive teachers and support staff

I attended a seven-week short course and also spent an additional ten weeks with an individual tutor for two hours each day. The class size is small (five to six students) and the breaks are well-timed (roughly every hour). Each class period is a mix of listening, speaking, reading, and writing practice, with opportunities to interact with classmates as well as the highly energetic teaching staff. The tutoring allows for more individualized vocabulary development and grammatical practice. The center also offers additional cultural activities such as calligraphy, stampcarving, cooking, and bookmaking, as well as cultural fieldtrips for an additional, reasonable fee. The dorms are very basic, with four beds to a room sharing a bathroom, midnight curfew, and a cafeteria for those who would rather not walk ten minutes to a street full of food vendors.

What would you improve about this program?
I continue to study at this center and find the staff very open to improving based on feedback.