Learn Chinese in Taiwan: 4 School Options and What to Know Before You Go
What’s not to love about Taiwan?
There’s incredible scenery, including crystal-clear Sun Moon Lake and jaw-dropping Elephant Mountain overlooking Taipei.
There are friendly people, hot springs, night markets and lots of incredible food.
Even better, Taiwan is an ideal place for learning Mandarin abroad!
Here are the top programs for learning Chinese in Taiwan, as well as how to obtain a visa and exactly why you should consider studying the Mandarin language here.
- Top Programs for Learning Chinese in Taiwan
- Visas and Scholarships for Studying in Taiwan
- Why Learn Chinese in Taiwan
Top Programs for Learning Chinese in Taiwan
All of these institutes offer classes in the capital city of Taipei, but many also have campuses throughout Taiwan, so you’re sure to find exactly the Chinese-learning experience you’re looking for!
1. Taiwan Mandarin Institute
Program length: One week to one year
Price: Starts at $245/week for intensive courses; about $30/hour for private lessons
The Taiwan Mandarin Institute (TMI) has a range of courses you can take in the lovely Da’an District of Taipei.
These include intensive courses of 16 hours per week, private lessons of two to four hours per day and combo courses of intensive lessons (16 hours per week) and one-on-one practice (eight hours per week).
Courses are split into beginner, lower-intermediate, intermediate and advanced levels.
The school also provides options for kids’ Chinese courses and test preparation assistance. TMI can help students with housing assistance and visa information, too.
You can expect to learn 100 to 150 new Mandarin words per week while experiencing Taiwanese culture if you enroll at TMI.
2. Taipei Language Institute
Program length: 13 weeks
Price: Bi-weekly group lessons start around $576 for 13 weeks
Taipei Language Institute (TLI) is another reputable Mandarin language school in Taiwan.
This one’s been around for a while—it began as a language school for missionaries, but now, TLI has extended its reach to teach Chinese (as well as other languages) to any curious students.
TLI offers all of the following course types: online, one-on-one, group classes, small group classes and cultural studies.
You can also personalize your course: Do you want to focus on the Taiwanese dialect rather than “standard” Chinese? Do you want to focus on speaking skills instead of writing characters? Do you want to get a certification? TLI makes crafting a custom course easy for any level.
TLI has locations in the north of Taiwan (the Roosevelt and Shilin branches are both in Taipei), the central region (Taichung) and in the south (Kaohsiung). So, no matter which part of Taiwan you visit, you’d probably be able to attend TLI.
For further pricing information, you’ll need to contact the school yourself. But, if you’re already located in Taiwan, you can sign up for a trial class to see if TLI is the right fit for your learning needs.
3. LTL Mandarin School
Program length: One class, one week and one month options all available
Price: Roughly $10-$26 per class depending on length and type
LTL Mandarin School has campus locations all around Taiwan, including in Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Tainan.
You can choose full- or part-time courses, as well as one-on-one or group classes. There are online options as well, if you’d like to learn from Taiwanese teachers but don’t want to (or can’t) travel.
If you’re going to do your learning in Taiwan, however, you can also choose a homestay option for an even more immersive experience. Starting from $596 per week, a homestay will let you experience life with a local family in addition to your Chinese lessons.
No matter your class type, your study plan can be personalized to what you want to learn. Plus, everything from your travel arrangements and housing can be organized through the school itself via email, which is definitely ideal for those who are unfamiliar with traveling abroad.
4. National Taiwan Normal University
Program length: Three weeks, three months or custom
Price: $670 to $1,250 depending on course type and length
Many universities in Taiwan have Mandarin language centers, and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) is particularly popular.
Online options are available, but to get the full benefits of the program, the in-person courses are the way to go, as the campus is located in the heart of Taipei.
You can do a three-week “express” program, ideal for travelers in Taiwan. The tuition fee covers course materials, various excursion admission costs (including transportation) and traveler’s insurance for the length of the program.
If you want to stick around longer and really get to know Taiwan, however, you can enroll in one of NTNU’s full term courses (about three months per term). There are regular and intensive options, with up to 15 hours of direct language instruction each week.
Visas and Scholarships for Studying in Taiwan
You’ll need both a passport and a visa to learn Chinese 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.
Note that if you’re from the United States and don’t plan on staying in Taiwan for more than 90 days, then you don’t need a visa. Other nationalities can check for specific information about their country.
If you plan to study Mandarin for more than several months, however, your stay in Taiwan won’t be considered a vacation by border control—you will need a visa.
Here’s what you’ll need to start your visa application:
- The processing fee of 160 USD
- Your up-to-date passport with blank pages
- Certificate of admission to a certified Mandarin center
- A typed Chinese study plan stating your motives and goals
- Proof of financial support during your stay
Find a Taiwan (R.O.C.) Diplomatic Mission near you and go there to start your visa application. If you don’t live close to one, you can contact the nearest branch via telephone for information on your next steps.
In most cases, your Chinese learning program can also help you sort out the visa. As situations can differ, always check with your school and with the Taiwan (R.O.C.) Diplomatic Mission you’re working with to ensure you’re applying for the correct visa with the proper documents.
Aspiring Mandarin learners can also apply for the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES). Awarded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, HES recipients receive 25,000 NTD each month (roughly 770 USD). The length of this scholarship ranges from two months to a full year, depending on your study plan.
Additionally, the language center you attend may offer their own scholarships. This is particularly true if you stay with the same Chinese program for more than one term, where returning students may be offered a slight tuition discount or a small scholarship for achieving good grades.
Why Learn Chinese in Taiwan
- Mandarin is one of Taiwan’s official languages. You may think China is the only place you can surround yourself with Mandarin speakers, but you’ll find native Chinese speakers 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 places in China to learn Mandarin without breaking the bank, Taiwan has dozens of language courses available for a decent price.
- There are a ton of reputable universities and programs in Taiwan dedicated to teaching Chinese. Rest assured that if none of the institutes above suit your needs, you’ll be able to find your perfect fit with only a bit of searching.
- Taiwan is well known for its safety. In general, the crime rates in Taiwan are low, and pickpockets aren’t really an issue at all. Additionally, as the first nation in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, Taiwan is also friendly to LGBTQ+ folks.
- The location of Taiwan makes it a great starting point for travel in Asia. Most southeast Asian countries are just a short flight from Taiwan—think Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Plus, you’ll be close to places like China, Japan and Korea as well!
Want to prepare a bit before you go? You can build a foundation or brush up on your Chinese knowledge with an immersion program at home first.
FluentU, for example, lets you watch authentic Mandarin-language videos with the benefit of language learning tools like interactive subtitles, multimedia flashcards and personalized quizzes.
When you’re ready, decide on your ideal program to learn Chinese in Taiwan. This gorgeous island has a lot to offer—and I bet you’ll learn a thing or two about Mandarin Chinese at the same time!