What’s not to love about Taiwan?
There’s the incredible scenery, complete with the crystal-clear Sun Moon Lake and the jaw-dropping Elephant Mountain that overlooks Taipei.
There are the people, a melting pot of diversity and friendliness.
There’s no doubt about it… Taiwan is a one-of-a-kind place.
What if we told you that you could visit Taiwan and learn Mandarin Chinese at the same time?
Taiwan is an ideal spot for learning Chinese abroad, complete with reputable schools and language courses.
Not totally convinced? We get it. Traveling abroad requires a lot of planning and, at times, money.
Let’s look into why Taiwan is such a reputable spot outside of mainland China to learn the language.
Why Should I Learn Mandarin in Taiwan, of All Places?
- Mandarin is one of Taiwan’s official languages. You may think mainland China is the only place you can surround yourself with Mandarin speakers, but that’s not the case! You’ll find plenty of Mandarin all around Taiwan.
- Taiwan is one of the best places to travel if you want to study Chinese on a budget. While there are certainly a lot of places in mainland China to learn Mandarin without totally breaking the bank, Taiwan has dozens of Mandarin courses available for a decent price.
- There are a ton of reputable universities and programs in Taiwan dedicated to teaching Mandarin. We’ll be covering the best of the best in this blog post, but rest assured that if none of these reputable institutes suit your needs, you’ll definitely be able to find your perfect fit with a bit of searching.
Securing a Visa to Learn Mandarin in Taiwan
You do need both a passport and a visa to study in Taiwan.
A visa is essentially a marker on your passport (which you should secure as soon as possible) that indicates that you’re allowed to stay in a country for a specific amount of time. If you plan to study Mandarin for several months, your stay won’t be considered a vacation and you will need a visa. Luckily, getting one to Taiwan isn’t too difficult.
Here are the steps:
- If you’re from the United States and don’t plan on staying for more than 90 days, then you don’t need a visa. If you’re staying longer, you’ll need to apply for a visa.
- Have the processing fee of 160 USD as well as your up-to-date passport handy.
- Have your arrival and departure tickets purchased with proof, such as your ticket stub or email verification.
- Find a Taiwan ROC Embassy near you and go there to start your visa application.
- If you don’t live close to a Taiwan ROC Embassy, contact your nearest branch via telephone to apply.
Learn Mandarin in Taiwan: 5 Schools for an Immersive Experience
Traveling abroad to immerse yourself in a language can be intimidating. Prepare for your big trip by immersing yourself at home first.
Nobody does immersion-at-home better than FluentU! FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning the Mandarin language, and you’ll learn Chinese as it’s spoken in real life.
The program has a wide range of contemporary videos that cover a wide range of interests and levels, as you can see here:
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up.
All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you’d like to review to a vocab list.
From the description page, you can access interactive transcripts under the Dialogue tab, or review words and phrases under Vocab.
FluentU’s quizzes turn every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your learning, then suggests content and examples based on what you’ve already learned. In other words, you get a 100% personalized experience.
Try FluentU in your browser or, better yet, download the FluentU iOS or Android app today!
Taiwan Mandarin Institute (TMI) Taipei has a ton of courses for you to take in the lovely Da’an District in Taipei. These include regular courses (two hours per day) or intensive courses (four hours per day). You also have the option of private one-on-one lessons with a personal tutor, which are ideal for those who need a flexible schedule.
Courses are split into beginner, lower-intermediate, intermediate and advanced. If you’re not sure which level of learner you are, just make a note in your application that you may need a placement test. You can expect to learn 100-150 new Mandarin words per week, as well as experience Taiwanese culture.
The full refund policy is another nice bonus! While TMI doesn’t post their prices online, reviewers of the school claim that tuition is around 33 USD per day, depending on which program you apply for.
TMI also has an easy-to-follow guide for living accommodations and visa information.
Taipei Language Institute (TLI) is another reputable Mandarin language school in Taiwan. This one’s been around for a good while—initially, TLI began as a language school for non-Chinese speaking missionaries. Now, TLI has extended its reach to teach Chinese (as well as other languages) to curious students.
Located in Taipei, TLI provides language courses in groups or personalized individual settings. But the personalized course sets this school apart from the rest. Do you want to focus on the Taiwanese dialect of Chinese, rather than “basic” Chinese? Maybe you want to focus on your speaking skills over Chinese characters or want to take a course that results in a certification. TLI makes crafting a custom course easy, from beginner courses to intermediate or advanced courses.
The cost of TLI’s courses aren’t readily available, but former students estimate the cost at around 400 USD for a four-week course on average. This price includes all materials, as well. You’ll need to sort out housing beforehand.
National Taiwan University’s Foreign Language Program is a fantastic choice for those who want to learn Chinese in small classroom settings.
Located in Taipei, this program focuses on utilizing an efficient learning environment, complete with supportive teachers, to get learners excited about learning Chinese. The program is highly customized, so any level of learner can sign up with no prerequisites.
Intensive summer courses are also available. If you’re interested in training to become a Mandarin language teacher, the university offers opportunities for this type of specialization.
Because this is an accredited university, you’ll have to go through the process of admissions ahead of time, which could take several weeks. Tuition is around 1,700 USD per semester, and the school provides on-campus housing should you choose to stay in a dorm.
National Cheng Kung University is located in the lovely Tainan City. Choose from small classes composed of six to 12 people or individual classes. Elective courses are also available, which focus on Chinese writing, literature, plays and more.
There are no prerequisites to apply to the university’s language courses, but you may have to take a placement test online to determine your appropriate class level. While these courses aren’t as customizable as others that we’ve covered, you do get to select at what time of day you take your classes.
Semester courses range from 524 to 1,867 USD, which means this course could give you the best bang for your buck. Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify, but you’ll have to pay for amenities outside of the school.
LTL Mandarin School has campus locations in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei. This is probably the most customizable source we’ve covered!
Choose full- or part-time courses, one-on-one or group classes, shared apartments or homestays. You can also choose whether you’d like to focus on spoken Chinese or business Chinese. Your entire study plan is personalized to what you want to learn.
Everything down to your travel arrangements can be organized through the school itself via email, which is definitely ideal for those who are unfamiliar with traveling abroad. Costs are at around 1,043 USD per week, steadily declining in price the more weeks you decide to stay.
Ready to study abroad in Taiwan? With these vital resources, we bet you’ll be enticed to experience everything this gorgeous island has to offer—and learn a thing or two about Mandarin Chinese at the same time!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
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