National Taiwan University

Why choose National Taiwan University?

NTU is the top university in Taiwan. NTU's institutional predecessor was Taihoku Imperial University, founded in 1928 by the Japanese colonial administration. Now, the university has 11 colleges, with 54 departments and 103 graduate institutes, plus 4 university-level research centers. The total number of students, including those enrolled at the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, has grown to over 33,000, including over 17,000 university students and 15,000 graduate students.



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Yes, I recommend this program

NTU CLD really good studying environment

I had the basics after spending 3 terms (~9 months) of intensive course at NTU CLD from scratches. What I mean by basics is that I could survive and communicate with locals without using any English. I've also continue to study Chinese in two other schools, but NTU CLD is still my favorite.

+Group classes were of 7/8 people max
+Teachers were great
+Cultural activities were good and affordable
+Other campus facilities / activities / clubs accessible. Great sport fields, gym & libraries, tons of clubs (but might require a minimum of Chinese)
+Price is fair comparing with the pace of other schools. There are schools with cheaper rates per term, but the pace difference can be huge. In my case, it took me 9 months to finish 3 course books of the national program, where it would took me a year or more in another school.
+NTU is great reference on CV if you want a job in Taiwan
+Morning, Noon and Evening classes were available
+Lots of shops and canteens in and around the campus

+/-Class pace is fast. The objective was to finish a course book in 1 term. Depending on your learning ability and homework, it could be good if you can kept up with the pace, or bad if you have to repeat the class. It is up to you to repeat a class or not, but you won't progress much in higher levels without assimilating the previous courses. To me the first 2 course books were at the right pace, while I was getting a bit behind while studying book 3.

-Staff barely speaks English which can be troubling for beginners
-Visas are to be applied by yourself
-Accommodations to be found by yourself

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Incredible and easy hikes everywhere and close to cities.
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Yes, I recommend this program

International Chinese Language Program (ICLP)--intense! Put your nose to the grindstone and focus!

Intense! Intense! Intense! I did the summer program in 2012, and it was truly a meat grinder experience, although my Mandarin Chinese skills did improve. You sign a language pledge and agree to speak only Mandarin on the premises--no kidding! That includes the break room, the restroom, etc. Classes are small and to the point: 1 hour in length, with 2 classes of 4 students each + a 1-on-1 session. You are required to prepare before class--including being familiar with the vocabulary and the story--and leave the textbook closed during the session, so unlike the big university lecture hall experience you may be accustomed to, you really can't hide behind your book in class! Expect 4-6 hours of homework a night. As a friend who had completed the standard Academic Year program (2 semesters, 4 hours daily) said: "You need to only be doing ICLP and nothing else the whole time."

You will be tested at the beginning of the program and then placed in a class at your level. I believe I got myself placed a notch or two higher than my actual ability, since I'd been studying 1-on-1 elsewhere and had seen some material that was probably more advanced than my actual level. Also, I'm a university prof in Taiwan and have taught test preparation for a living, so I believe I managed to get myself into a slightly higher level than I should have been in. I believe I may have nailed a few more test items than I should have, plus my pronunciation is fairly good, so I may have somewhat fooled the interviewers on the oral part of the process.

Class was tougher than I expected, but I decided to tough it out--big mistake! I ended up finding a private sector school to help me with 1-on-1 homework assistance to get me through the summer. The experience was bit like swimming upstream in a waterfall made of quicksand! In retrospect, I should have taken the opportunity that ICLP offers to rethink and renegotiate your placement early in the semester. I did survive, though, and my Mandarin is better for it. Also, ICLP alumni have the opportunity to buy textbooks for self-study after they leave. I have studied my course materials at the same private sector school that helped me survive ICLP, and I still study with them, so at the end it all worked out OK.

I'm telling this story to encourage you if you're thinking about ICLP. It's a wonderful school with first-rate faculty. If your circumstances--time available, cash on hand, etc.--allow, this is an opportunity to make great progress with your Mandarin Chinese. I studied 2 textbooks, 1 in each group class, with the main textbook being taught once more in the 1-on-1 session. You'll be pushed beyond what you can absorb, but at the end, it all works out. To this day, when I hear or use one of the 50+ weekly vocabulary items I learned that summer, I say to myself: "Wow! That was a $3700 word! [the cost of my summer program in 2012]"

ICLP generally does only group teaching, because the physical facility is small and they have only so many teachers to go around. 1-on-1 is limited to the 1-hour session that's part of the program and also for some very advanced students and alumni with special needs for work, academic research, etc. You will have a student ID from National Taiwan University, which can get you student rates on public transportation, student tickets at the movies (if you have time for movies!), and access to other NTU amenities and facilities (amazing gym!).

All in all, it's well worth it to attend ICLP if your circumstances allow. You'll meet interesting folks from all over the world who are learning Mandarin for a variety of reasons and your Mandarin Chinese is sure to grow. Go ahead--swim upstream in a waterfall made of quicksand! It will work out OK in the end.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe there's some way the school can find some more remediation for the occasional (highly) struggling student, although I'm not sure if ICLP has that level of resources. Maybe they can partner with NTU proper to connect interested students for a language exchange as a way of helping ICLP students find native Mandarin speaker friends who may want to give some homework help in exchange for conversational practice in English and other languages.
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Yes, I recommend this program

ICLP is awesome

really great program. did not provide housing, but it is held at national taiwan university, so plenty of student housing available nearby for good prices. the teachers were very supportive, and my language ability increased substantially. have to put in about 4 hours a day of homework, but it's worth it.


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