How does studying Mandarin from Taiwan improves one\’s language?

How does studying Mandarin from Taiwan improves one's language?

This Taiwanian experience has made me more secular and inclusive. This degree offers various future prospects. Various multinational companies hire translators and thus, it is easy to find a job there. Translating important documents is only a part of the entire work.

I am a student from India. My primary interest was always on Sinology. However, currently I am pursuing a course on the Mandarin language, i.e., learning Mandarin in Taiwan. This course is offered by the National Taiwan Normal University. At present, I am a PhD student at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

However, I acquired a three year PhD fellowship from Harvard University and currently, I am residing in Taiwan. I have the opportunity to learn Chinese and conduct research in China through this fellowship. This fellowship also allows me to write my thesis in Harvard for a year.

Learning Mandarin

I had the realization that learning Mandarin will help me understand things better while I was pursuing my higher education. This will help me be more equipped in the academic as well as cultural sphere. It is seen that most of the academicians are good at Chinese. However, they do not understand the language.

As I wanted to completely fill that void in my learning, I decided to head to Taiwan so that I would be able to learn Mandarin. I was able to understand the concepts of China study in a better fashion by learning this language. Learning International Languages promote the learning of different cultures.

I was able to connect myself to the culture and people. It also helped me to understand the similarities between the Asian countries. The course offers lessons on weddings, marriage, democracy and several other regular and important concepts.

Even though the size of our class comprises only 8 to 9 students, we have classmates who hail from different nations. This offers diversity in the classroom. Information is exchanged among ourselves. We also share ideas about the culture of one another.

This Taiwanian experience has made me more secular and inclusive. This degree offers various future prospects. Various multinational companies hire translators and thus, it is easy to find a job there. Translating important documents is only a part of the entire work.

You will have to attend meetings dominated in Mandarin language so that they are enabled with better communication. Moreover, consultancy firms look for candidates who are well-equipped with this language. Thus, to places where this language is spoken, employees can be relocated.

Why did I choose Taiwan?

Generally, the strategic and academic community of India provides a rich exposure to any of the young researchers who wish to work in China. However, with a better grasp of the language and culture, I wanted to supplement my learning. This will also help me in building a broader academLearn Chinese in Yaiwanic network.

Fortunately, I was awarded the Institute of Chinese Studies PhD Fellowship by Harvard Yenching Institute. This gave me an opportunity to learn Mandarin in Taiwan. This was in a simultaneous working along with my PhD thesis in consultation with Sinologists in India, China, Taiwan and the US.

Streets of Taiwan – Safe, Welcoming, Hospitable

It felt intimidating in my first day as no one in the country spoke English, Hindi or any other language that I grew up listening to. Looking at the signboards in Mandarin, I was completely lost. However, I had a big social circle of friends by the end of the first week from across the world. This was especially seen in Taiwan due to the Mandarin Training Centre.

Moreover, my not so perfect Mandarin was understood by the shopkeepers and restaurateurs around the place I stayed. This made me forget that I was a foreigner. The people of Taiwan are extremely warm, hospitable and welcoming. They stop to offer assistance to anybody in need. They complement quickly when they see you making an effort to speak Mandarin.

In shops and restaurants, it takes a while to become habitual of their generosity. In Taiwan, you are just one good conversation away from being offered food and drinks. This makes you feel more and more welcome.

While you walk on the streets of Taiwan wearing a kurta, showing your Indian identity, you will often be greeted by elderly Taiwanese. These Taiwanese people wish to share their appreciation for Indians as well as their culture.

Taiwan is equipped with a small but an active Indian community. Therefore, you don’t tend to miss home much. I would advise you with my experience, if you keep your heart open to experience a new culture, instead of searching for familiarity, Taiwan will definitely feel like home.

Plan well for your Admission Process

A lot of the admission formalities for me were handled by the Harvard Yenching Institute as I was a recipient of the fellowship. They helped me secure admission and a student visa for Taiwan, through their collaborative networks, in the Chinese Training Centre.

The Chinese Training Centre is located at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. This is one of the oldest departments in the world that teaches Mandarin language. It also hosts a rich pool of talented teachers. These teachers are trained in order to assess which grade suits your individual learning competence and requirement with the Mandarin language well enough to train you accordingly.

The application process is simple. This process can be managed without any assistance from counsellors. There is an ease of access on the website. This is because, all students coming to this particular department are foreigners.

Online test and interview

In order to determine the level that the students would be joining in their first semester, all applicants need to appear for an online test and interview. The candidates must possess their latest degree certificate, study plan, resume and passport while applying to the department.

It takes a while to obtain a student visa for Taiwan. Therefore, applicants must keep such factors in mind so that they reach Taiwan well in time before the classes start. Taiwan is not a member of the Hague Apostille Convention.

Therefore, the applicant\’s latest degree certificate and marksheet must be attested by the Directorate of Education. This Directorate of Education must be closest to the university from where the degree was received in India.

Later on, Ministry of External Affairs must attest the documents. It must be noted that the attestation must be done on the original certificates. Thus, they must not be laminated. The documents can be submitted to the Taiwan Economic Culture Center in New Delhi only after attestation for visa processing. It takes about a month for the entire process to be completed.

Indian Students – Scholarships

In order to study Mandarin in Taiwan, I received Harvard Yenching Institute PhD Fellowship from the Institute of Chinese Studies. Indian students who have registered themselves as a PhD student in an Indian university and have been writing a thesis on China can apply for this fellowship.

To study Mandarin in Taiwan, there are also other fellowships offered which accepts a broader pool of applicants. It also includes other programs such as the Mandarin Language Scholars Program offered by Ashoka University and Ministry of Education of Taiwan Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. This program is coordinated by the New Delhi, Taiwan Economic Culture Centre.

Indian students should remember that if they visit Taiwan on a student visa, they are not allowed to take up any paid employment legally. However, if the candidates plan their stay carefully, scholarships available for Indian students are sufficient.

Daily Practice in Taiwan

I had the opportunity to learn elementary level Mandarin back in India. Initially, this place feels like an alien even though it helps you. One never has to use it around the clock to get by while learning Mandarin in India.

When all the people around you speak, write and talk Mandarin, you must definitely learn the language diligently. If your objective is to learn Mandarin excellently, then Taiwan is the right place to be in. The written Chinese characters that are taught in universities in Taiwan are the traditional characters.

However, the universities teach a recent and simplified form of Chinese characters that have been written in China and in India. Therefore, the language learning experience in Taiwan is made to be unique and fulfilling. Moreover, it connects you to the heritage and culture as it gives the students the tools to read old Chinese script and literature.

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