Saturday, August 5, 2017

National Taiwan Normal University's Mandarin Training Center

My experience at the Mandarin Training Center.

National Taiwan Normal University’s Mandarin Training Center (MTC) is one of the oldest language learning institutions in Taiwan. Founded in 1956, it’s program has attracted students from all around the world to study. In my two and half months studying at MTC, I can honestly say that I have been very satisfied with my experience. Not only have I greatly accelerated my language skills, but I have also connected with students from all around the world.

Personally there were two main reasons as to why I made my decision to apply to the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University. One, the array of courses the program offers to it’s students and the diversity of the students. After doing some extensive research, I had been struggling between the Mandarin Training Center and National Taiwan University’s International Chinese Language Program (ICLP). After learning that students MTC comprised of students from all over Asia, Europe and Africa I was instantly sold. More importantly, as a heritage speaker the program at NTNU offers courses that are specifically geared towards students whose listening and speaking skills are advanced but reading skills are at the intermediate or beginner level. Naturally, upon enrolling in MTC I was placed into such a particular course. 

Currently I am in the intensive level program, a three month, three hour course that meets Monday through Friday. Although the work load can be a bit daunting the intensive course is well worth your time and money. The curriculum is fundamental and practical. Initially I was a bit daunted at the prospect of learning traditional Chinese characters. However, I have found that learning the historical context of each character and the radicals are really beneficial to memorizing the characters. Learning simplified Chinese may seem easier, but since the characters have been simplified to it’s base components the true context and meaning of the text is hard to remember and understand. Although it learning traditional Chinese writing seems arduous and daunting I think it is definitely worth it! 

Not only have I seen a great level of improvement in my reading and writing skills, but I have also made great connections with my classmates. Although we are all heritage speakers our class comes from an array countries with unique backgrounds. Within my class we have students from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and South Africa. It has been quite fascinating to hear the perspectives of my classmates who all have similar but unique stories on how and why their families immigrated to different parts of the world. 

Overall, I have really enjoyed my time at the Mandarin Training Center. If you are a perspective student I would highly recommend the intensive program as the course that yields the best results! 

Tracie M. Yang M.A Asian Studies, Class of 2018
Sigur Center 2017, Asian Language Fellow
National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan (ROC)
President, Organization of Asian Studies (OAS)

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