This is the story about a German guy who went to Taiwan to make his lifetime dream come true - mastering the Chinese language.

Freitag, 2. März 2007

Hello world!

Welcome to my brand new blog. What is it about? Well, it is about my personal adventure of studying the Chinese language. Or as you could also put it: how I try to achieve my lifetime dream of mastering Chinese. I will take you with me on my journey to Taiwan, where I enrolled in the Chinese Language Program of the Shida University. This blog will pretty much be a "special interest" might be of special interest to those of you who also want to study Chinese here at the Shida in Taipei or for those of you who just know me. :)

Before I signed up for the Chinese program of Shida, I was looking for some blogs of people who had already experienced this program. I found some blogs, but these didn't really focus on the program itself, more about their life in Taiwan in general. As interesting as it was, it couldn't really help me to decide which of the dozen Chinese programs I should choose to enrol in. So now for all future students of the Chinese language who want to come to Taiwan and who are looking for some "hands-on" experience of the Chinese program at Shida University: you came to the right spot! :)

Still reading? Haha, okay, you must either know me in person or you are really interested in this Chinese language program. Okay, let me tell you a bit about my background and why I chose Shida.

Asia had always fascinated me. Every aspect of it, the cultural diversity, the languages, the name it. This might also be due to my personal roots. I am half German, half Chinese. My father is an overseas Chinese from Indonesia. Well, he went to Germany to study and met my mother. The result is a blog about the Shida language program 28 years later...haha! :) Unfortunately, my father's family lost the ability to speak the Chinese language since they had already been in Indonesia for some generations. So I grew up as a normal German child is supposed to. ;) No Chinese language at all. And as you often find it with mixed folks...we are looking for our roots. During my studies I tried to go abroad to Asia as often as possible. I studied (and still study) Information Technology, and in the scope of this study I went to Singapore, Hongkong and Taiwan. I don't go into detail with it now, I can just tell you it was great and changed my life... :) Now I am just about to graduate, and I am writing my master thesis here in Taiwan at the National Taiwan University. Now you know a bit more about me.

So did I study Chinese before? Yes I did! I took two semesters of Chinese at the National University of Singapore which was a great first contact with the language. However, it was just a module next to a lot of Electrical Engineering stuff, so with its 3 hours/week it was not really intensive. But nevertheless, my mandarin project that this blog is all about does not start from zero. Also since I knew I would go back to Taiwan to really master Chinese, I found out which book is mostly being used here for beginner classes, just bought it and studied at home. The book which I can highly recommend is called: "Practical Audio-Visual Chinese 1" ISBN 957-09-1237-5 (802)

You can order it here: You cannot go wrong with it, it is widely being used here as I said before and it is the perfect material if you want to prepare for your studies here. There are also some supplemental material like CDs and VCDs that can help you with the pronounciation, but I haven't checked them yet.

So why did I choose Shida? Well, it is the biggest Chinese language program here. Of course, this doesn't say that it is the best. But from what I heard it is pretty decent. Most of the blogs I read said good things about it. They offer a lot of courses, also in different time slots, which was very important for me since I am also writing my master thesis here and I would like to take either an evening class or a class very early in the morning, so I would have time within the day to write my master thesis. Yeah, so the Shida language course has a good reputation. However, the best Chinese course is said to be the course that the National Taiwan University (NTU, Taida) offers, the university where I write my Information Technology master thesis. Unfortunately it comes with a price tag that is ridiculously high, at least for a someone like me. The NTU program will set you back around 2600 €uro (two thousand six hundred €uro) for a 3 month course! The Shida 3 month course will cost you around 500 €uros, so taking into account that Shida is also not really far away from my apartment and my NTU office, I chose the Shida program.

Okay, that should be enough for a first entry. Stay tuned and soon more here from Taipei!


Mark hat gesagt…

I'll be reading your language learning account with interest! Are you taking the two hour or the three hour class at Shida?

By the way, there are two programs at Taida. One is almost identical to the one at Shida. It's two hours a day, and the teaching methods are very similar. The other one was designed by a group of US universities and run by Stanford and known either as "the Stanford Program", or IUP (Inter-University Program). Later, the IUP moved to Beijing, and the old IUP program at Taida was renamed to ICLP. It's ICLP that is by far the best program in Taiwan, not Taida's normal program.

insomniac hat gesagt…

Hi Mark! Thanks for your comment. Good to know that I already have some interested readers and that I don't just write for myself. :) Yes, exactly, it is the ICLP program, and thats also the program which is so expensive...

Wow, and I am so looking forward to start the ShiDa program and write about it!! Next monday is the orientation, I will bring my camera as well. Bye, Sebastian

insomniac hat gesagt…

Oh, forgot to mention it: I take the 2 hours program. As I still have some other work to do here in Taiwan, I thought that would be better.

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