Location
  • Taiwan
    • Tainan
Language
Chinese

Program Details

Immersion Level
Intensive
Housing
Guesthouse

Pricing

Starting Price
8239
Price Details
Cost of program includes tuition and fees; academic credit through Bryn Mawr College; housing in on-campus dorms; extracurricular activities and cultural excursions; health insurance; airport transfers; in-country logistical support; 24/7 emergency coverage. Scholarships are available. Please visit www.acstudyabroad.org/tislp for more information.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Transportation Travel Insurance Visa
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards
Oct 19, 2020
Nov 20, 2020
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About Program

Based in Tainan, Taiwan, this summer program enables dedicated students of Mandarin Chinese to complete a year’s worth of academic study in only eight weeks.

TISLP combines twenty hours of weekly small group and one-on-one language instruction with regular cultural workshops, excursions, interactions with language partners, a weekend homestay, and housing with local student roommates. To optimize their immersion experience, students are expected to speak Mandarin at all times and spend an average of four hours on coursework each night.

Outside of the classroom, participants engage in a number of day trips, overnight excursions, and cultural activities designed to provide a deeper understanding of Taiwanese society, culture, business, and history. In the past, cultural activities have included introductions to topics such as calligraphy, cooking, Chinese opera, and seal making, and trips to Taiwan's capital, Taipei, Kenting National Park, and Foguangshan Buddha Memorial Center.

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Program Reviews

9.75 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 10
  • Support 8
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.5
  • Instruction 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 7.5
  • Value 9
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Default avatar
Katriya
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2020 Virtual Study Abroad - Learning language intensively in a pandemic

I initially had many reservations about the program, uncertain how effective an intensive
language program or virtual study abroad would be towards engaging in cultural exchange, immersion, and advancing my language goals. However, in weighing my options, virtual TISLP appeared to be a valuable experience, despite its newness. Financial support from the Dan E. Davidson Fellowship and other scholarships from American Councils was a major contributing factor in my ability to pursue this program. The scholarship was especially helpful when other funding I had applied for was no longer applicable since I wouldn't be in Taiwan for my study abroad program. The scholarship and others offered through American Councils ensured that I could pay for the program tuition and not stress about finances.
The 8-week program was no doubt, intensive. I started to feel the effects of immersion as I devoted most of my daily schedule to studying Chinese, attending classes, and meeting my language partner for conversation practice. Through thoughtful discussions with my language partner and teachers, and three other classmates, I slowly find myself able to articulate myself better in Chinese. The TISLP program also gave me numerous opportunities to practice voicing my opinion and has enhanced my confidence to do so. The course structure also encouraged us to engage in open dialogue to share our views on numerous topics. Being in this learning environment showed me that we can exchange differing opinions and still advance together while developing good relationships. Meeting with my language partner twice a week over video calls exposed me to cultural aspects in Taiwan as she shared numerous things with me from her life, school, and country.
I was glad that I decided to pursue this program even after it moved to a virtual format because of the pandemic.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Because we were working virtually between multiple U.S. time zones and Taiwan, I had difficulty initially adjusting to the time I had selected as my preference for certain class meetings. In hindsight, I should've changed this earlier on to make for a more normal schedule. The program staff and faculty were very accommodating though and worked with me to make some minor adjustments for scheduling even after the program had begun.
15 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Angela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

TISLP Virtual Experience

Although my study abroad experience was virtual, American Councils adjusted its online language program to create a great and effective language learning experience. I was hesitant at first because I didn't know how they could create an "intensive language learning" experience with students all around the country, but through daily group meetings, one-on-one instruction, challenging homework assignments and weekly meetings with our language learning partners, I felt that my Chinese speaking skills have improved immensely. I communicated in Chinese everyday within the 8 weeks of the program and I felt that I’ve gained a lot of communication skills by speaking to my instructors, classmates and language partner throughout TISLP.

Due to COVID-19 I was unable to travel to Taiwan for the program; however, I still felt like I got to witness some of Taiwanese culture and language through my language learning partner. I got to see various night markets and national parks through my language partner as she showed me around Taiwan on LINE, a popular Taiwan communication app. Despite the program being virtual, I still made friends with fellow classmates and with my language partner. TISLP, overall, has been a great experience.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Online learning was a struggle but putting in effort to learn the material, engaging with your classmates and asking the instructor questions will improve you experience and help you learn Chinese effectively.
17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Alex
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Fun and Rewarding Journey to Learn Chinese

Preface:

The Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program (TISLP) is a relatively new program (established in 2016 by American Councils Study Abroad). Its purpose is to allow Chinese language learners to learn approximately one year of academic Chinese in two months or eight weeks. I was a participant in this program during the Summer of 2019.

My thoughts about the program:

The program promises what it states. You will learn one year of academic Chinese in two months. National Cheng Kung University's Chinese Langauge Center administers TISLP. The instructors are knowledgeable in their teachings and make it easy to comprehend the material. Also, they are super friendly. I did not feel embarrassed approaching my instructors if I had simple questions about Chinese. The staff works hard to support the participant's success. For example; part of the program's curriculum had a language performance night called "Taiwan Night". for the program to be successful the instructors were heavily involved to sure the students were saying their scripts correctly.

The program itself is very structured. For five days a week (Monday to Friday), From 8 am. to 2 pm (with a lunch break), you will be learning Chinese. There is a grammar class, a speaking class, and a discussion class. Almost every day, there will be new material to learn. The program gave me this 400-page textbook with 16 chapters, two dialogues a chapter and in each dialogue had new grammar structures and new vocabulary. Every day of class we learned a new dialogue, basically two chapters a week. That is a lot of Chinese learning. To give perspective on how much Chinese that was, in my Chinese classes back at my University. A course would review on average five chapters for the whole semester. The term intensive should not be taken lightly.

Another critical component of the program is the language pledge. A language pledge is a promise that the participant must speak the target language at all times. The language pledge tests the participant's ability if he/she knows the language. I struggled at first because I was one of the lower levels in the program, but as time progressed, My speaking and listening fluency increased to a considerable amount.

Life in Tainan, Taiwan

Life in Tainan, Taiwan, is a great place to live. The people there are super friendly. Besides, it is very affordable to buy food there. Twenty American dollars can potentially last one week in terms of food. Every day, I had amazingly tasty food. If you are a "foodie" Tainan is an excellent place to be.

Overall TISLP is an excellent program for a person that wants to improve there Chinese.

15 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Keely
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Study Hard in Tourist-Free Tainan

First of all, something of a disclaimer: I received a massive scholarship for this program. Now, this goes both ways; my own experience was of a massive bargain, which I cannot imagine is shared by those who paid the full $8000 or so dollars, and is not the average experience; on the other hand, you can see that the scholarships for this program are very generous. I believe most of my classmates received some sort of financial aid. Personally, all told, I paid about $3000 dollars for this two-month program, including housing, a variety of daily language-learning classes, and many extracurricular lessons and excursions - although keep in mind airfare and food is NOT included, the first totaling something like $1000 each way and the second something like $500 for the two months (there is no school cafeteria, but as a college town, food is accessible and cheap).
Now for, in my opinion and that of all others in the program whom I asked, the best aspect of this program: the education. The teachers are actual Taiwanese people, almost entirely women, equally versed in the Traditional Chinese used in Taiwan and the Simplified version of China which I myself study (meaning that one can just as easily study one as the other), and who are all fluent in English and passionate about what they do. I've heard it often said that the best language teacher is one who does not speak the native language of their students, and certainly we all benefited from bans on speaking anything other than Mandarin, but I'd add the caveat that the best language teacher is the one who does understand the language of their students but refuses to use it. This bilingualism meant that as we struggled to translate phrases too literally from English to Chinese, these teachers could understand what our meaning was in English and tell us the proper Mandarin saying.
Aside from the classes one would probably expect - every weekday there's one on grammar, followed by another on new vocab and reading comprehension, and both focused strongly on speaking skills - there was also something of a poly-sci class held in very small groups (max, mine had three people) in which we discuss problems in the modern world that effect both American and Taiwanese peoples. On top of all that, to start off the day we had hour-long individualized tutoring sessions with graduate-school students working toward their teaching degrees who were just as talented as the full-time language teachers we studied under for the rest of the day. The teachers are so lovely, shockingly young - were any even in their thirties? - and a mix of strict and understanding that I've actually never experienced before. Although, I will say - you will spend most of your time studying. Be prepared: this is not merely an easy way to explore Taiwan!
We had many excursions, my favorite of which was a visit to a small island off the southwest coast where we snorkeled with endangered sea turtles. A warning: although I didn't really mind, every class, every activity, every excursion, is required (unless otherwise mitigated by health reasons), which many of my classmates found stifling. They often compared it to a summer camp rather than an academic program - although again, that was a complaint only about these extracurriculars and not about the rigorousness of the classes themselves.
Two months is a long time, and in a city without great public transportation, yes, it sometimes became a little stifling. I certainly was very homesick for nearly the entire trip. Many everyday problems will come up, which are exacerbated to a massive degree by being on the opposite side of the globe from your hometown in a city small enough that many businesses institutions survive without any or minimal internet presence (which makes looking things up very difficult) and surrounded by people speaking an entirely different language from your own - and in my case, using even a different writing system (remember, Traditional Characters!). Sometimes, yeah, when I asked questions of teachers and other program officials, they seemed confused by my inability to find things online and thus were not terribly helpful. So you will indeed need to be pretty self-sufficient. But hey, even those experience I would not trade for the world! A program like this is not merely about studying language in the controlled classroom environment of the weekday, but also the learning to how to navigate totally foreign situations totally on your own, without parents, without teachers, often even without friends or classmates to buffer to awkwardness that will inevitably arise as you repeat your drink order for the fourth time, clueless as to which word you are pronouncing wrong since the server is clearly not understanding.

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes program workers, in-country, and Taiwanese natives, seemed not to understand the difficulties that came up for us as foreigners - finding banks, withdrawing money, and everyday tasks like that were not really something that those "in charge" seemed really to be able to help us with.
15 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers