National Taiwan Normal Univeristy

Mandarin Training Center Building

National Taiwan Normal Univeristy (國立臺灣師範大學 aka Shīdà 師大) is a teaching university located in central Taipei and is generally considered the best school for learning Mandarin as a foreign student coming to Taiwan. The campus is in a city area with big buildings, shops, and other universities (TaiDa – the biggest, most prestigious university in Taiwan – is right down the street and worth a look, it’s amazing!). MTC doesn’t disappoint, they have hundreds of students learning Chinese, the MTC building is constantly bustling. There are tons of restaurants, coffee shops, and housing near the school, everything you could want as a student is convenient and affordable.

Students and Teachers

My class has a total of eight students in it and I’m the only American, everyone else is from all over the world (Japan, Korea, Europe and Canada are well represented throughout the school) . The professor is very well trained and knows exactly what she wants to teach in every class. The class though is a bit disappointing coming from a smaller class environment of one to three students. There is a lot of “ok class, repeat back to me what I say” exercises which I can’t think help a lot. The teacher is dealing with eight students at once, so there isn’t a lot of time to work with anyone person but she does know what kind of problems people have and is really good at passing that advice on (eg. Korean students have trouble with the “c” sound apparently and my tones are terrible).

Course Load

The class itself is two hours per day, which is not a small amount for a intensive subject like a foreign language. That said, they have a three hours per day class which is more intensive and I don’t think that would be impossible as long as you were willing to study for a at least a few hours a day outside of class. The real time sink is the reading and writing of the Chinese characters, I’ve heard that goes faster the further into Chinese you go through. In addition there are mandatory study hours which must be logged at the school and optional “Culture” classes such as calligraphy, cooking, tea ceremonies, and Taiwanese (the popular local language aside from Chinese). There are a lot of resources available for most every level of student, I think MTC is a great resource for anyone wanting to rapidly learn Chinese.

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