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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Tips for learning and studying at Chinese-language universities | Focus Taiwan News Channel

"Living and studying abroad, experiencing a new culture, developing lifelong friendships and relationships, learning a new language, all while obtaining a degree in one's chosen field sounds like an exciting experience." notes Shennica David, CNA intern.

CNA file photo

Each year, many people travel thousands of miles, leaving behind their family, friends, cultures, and customs and to study in Taiwan. People choose to study in Taiwan for various reasons that include a search for an affordable education, a desire to gain an international experience, and a chance to explore a new culture.

Even with very little exposure to Mandarin Chinese, some students opt for the additional challenge of taking a degree program taught fully or partly in that language.

While this may seem like a daunting task, many foreign students have tackled it successfully.

Not everyone may take the same approach to studying in a foreign language but there are some strategies that can be adopted across the board to help smooth the process and acquire a well-rounded experience:

Conduct thorough research
This is possibly the single most important part of the process. Research is important first of all to select a suitable Chinese learning center in terms of cost, location, course content, teaching methods, among other factors.

Taiwan has over 30 language centers, stretching from Taipei in the north to Kaohsiung in the south. It pays to read as much as possible about them, talk with past and present students, communicate with faculty members, make a shortlist of schools, and visit those on the shortlist if possible.

This same approach can be applied when seeking a university for degree studies.

Draft a plan
For some students, one year of Chinese language learning might be enough to prepare for transition to a university where the language of instruction is Chinese. Others might require two years or more of Chinese classes before they could feel confident enough to enter such an environment.

It is important to have a plan based on one's strengths, weaknesses, and overall goals.

Heritage speakers and students from Asian countries such as Japan and Korea, which have many Chinese characters or cognates in their languages, tend to fit easily into the one-year language study category. People with no prior exposure to Sino-Tibetan languages, however, may require more time to achieve spoken fluency and to gain some competency in Chinese reading and writing.

Whatever the decision, it is always a good idea to having a backup plan -- a plan B -- with regard to the preparation time for entry to a university program taught entirely in Chinese.

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Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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