March 30, 2005

Taipei Language Center Shanghai - help!

Okay, I need a little help. The place I wanted to go in China for the summer is full, and I'm looking elsewhere. I'm thinking hard about this place, the branch of the Taipei Language Center in Shanghai. The problem is that it's not entirely clear to me what they are offering. I sent and e-mail asking, and here's what I got back.

thanks for your mail! This is Hongqiao branch. Except for group courses plan for students from abroad , which you see on (, we also offer fixed group courses lasting for 3-4 months. see . as to those classes, we will open new ones as soon as 3 students regist the same level. but for individual course, you could regist any time while we could arrange for you in 2 days. you may first send registration fee to our bank account, while send us your registration form as well as your schedule for Chinese course. ( We opens 7:00am-9:00pm, whole days of the month) As to the apartment, all of our 3 branch schools could help you to find suitalble apartments as to your requirments. we Hongqiao could recommend an apartment, named the Couch Hotel, offer daily service, 2 km from the school, the price is RMB 4000/month. (RMB 150/day) you may see you may also visit the page of Pudong, and Xuhui to see the prices and surroundings. As to the visa, we only offer student' visa for full time students( 700hours/year). If you apply for visitor's visa to China, we could extend visa for 3-6month for you.(the charge is about RMB 500-600).

Now, I think this means that they want me to sign up for the classes on this page rather than the slightly cheaper ones here, which are only scheduled for two weeks in June. Furthermore, I guess this means that as long as there are at least three students who want to take the classes I want, there's no problem staying all summer, since I can just keep getting my vistor's visa adjusted. But, if there aren't enough students, then I have to do indivudual classes at 124RMB per hour, which is more than I can really afford.

Any insight? Anybody with suggestions? I looked at BLCU - the best known school for what I have in mind - but it seems that I can only get in about 8 weeks of scheduled classes given the schedule they've posted, at 20hrs of classes a week. If I'm going to do this, I want to do it full bore. I'm not a tourist, I want to spend as many hours in effective Chinese classses as I can, but I'm only available from June 1 to early September.

This is my last chance. Nibblet's birth in November is going to make this a lot harder to do in the future. But, I don't want to just go and run the risk of being stuck with unexpectedly larger bills.

Posted 2005/03/30 9:42 (Wed) | TrackBack

Based on my experience in Taiwan, and suspecting that Shanghai is even more that way, I'd suggest going to Shanghai and deciding there, without committing. Chinese businesses, especially language schools, seem very entrepreneurial, haphazard, and freelance, and there should will be some good school in Shanghai.

At worst, you could just watch Chinese TV 12 hours a day and spend the rest of your time hanging out in coffee shops.

Posted by: John Emerson at April 2, 2005 6:29

This might help:

Posted by: d52boy at April 3, 2005 3:05


You might want to contact Dirk Derhaeg (lecturer sinology at the KUL and my lao shi at the CLT). He's very helpful and knows a lot about studying in China.

Posted by: Bart at April 5, 2005 0:12

Don't buy a pig in a poke. Chinese is very tough to learn unless it's taught well, and you would be better off getting a tutor than landing in classes taught by the unqualified. If you just want to go to China, then go. But you can't "absorb" the language, you'll need guidance.

One of the characters in my novel-in-blogress, "Beyond You & Me," learned Chinese by attending quality classes in Taipei. That's probably the ticket for you.

Posted by: W. S. Cross at April 9, 2005 1:46

Whether or not you can "absorb" Chinese depends on who you are. There are special difficulties with Chinese, but they're mostly the writing system, which you can't learn in a summer anyway.

Posted by: John Emerson at April 10, 2005 0:38

Nevermind. I've decided not to try to study in China until I have better Chinese. It sucks to come to that decision. I used to be a lot more reckless about this sort of thing.

Posted by: Scott Martens at April 11, 2005 21:54
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