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How to find a Chinese School with Great Flexibility in Taiwan?

    I am Steve from London. I decided to study Mandarin because it’s an increasingly important language in the 21st Century. I also already speak some Spanish, so my aim is to one day speak the top 3 languages of the world fluently. Of course it’s also a big challenge to learn Mandarin too which I also like - that actually makes it more valuable to be a foreign speaker in my opinion, since our numbers are fewer.

    In the UK I am a business owner and Trustee of a Charity. I'm able to work on these commitments remotely while studying Mandarin, which is sometimes a challenge but I'm lucky that I'm able to be based the other side of the world and still keep up with my responsibilities. I studied business before starting my own business in real estate in London and have an interest in further business opportunities around the world. This is another motivation for learning Mandarin so that I may be able to use it in a business setting in the future.

    After making the decision to study Mandarin in Taichung based on online research and an earlier visit to Taiwan, I had to choose a school I felt confident that would meet my requirements and expectations for more intense language learning. I wanted to learn one-on-one and for at least 4 hours a day. The timing of my trip was also quite relevant since I also run a business in the UK which largely discounted the possibility with enrolling with a Taiwanese University due to fixed semester times (which didn't match with my availability). 

    I discovered TLI online and arranged to visit the school upon my arrival in Taichung. They were able to provide the one-on-one classes I wished for and for as many classes as I wanted a day. Perhaps even better, I was able to organise the timetable of these classes entirely which was perfect based on my desired schedule and other commitments (remote working during UK hours). This was very important for me.

    I have been more than delighted with the quality of the classes and teachers. TLI ensures I have a mix of different teachers during the one-on-one lessons which helps learn things from a slightly different perspective each time. Without exception all of the teachers have been excellent, which has been both a relief and a delight. They all bring professionalism, expertise, patience, humor and kindness which is very much appreciated. They are all clearly very experienced in teaching Mandarin as a foreign language so are aware where the common areas of struggle are for foreigners. They also all speak English so when necessary they can switch into English for a quick explanation or for word translations. I find this to be the most efficient way to learn, keeping the class to >90% spoken in Mandarin, with English used where necessary and for faster comprehension. 

    The one-on-one classes allow for some focus on which areas I want study in more depth, but with the TLI course materials also offers more formal structure to ensure the student builds up a well-rounded knowledge of Mandarin. I had already self-studied Mandarin in the UK for a few months by listening to a couple of audio courses, but my ability to converse was very limited on this basis. I'm very pleased that I have the opportunity to do this with my teachers in a focused manner each day so I'm confident I can achieve the rate of improvement in my Mandarin speaking and listening skills that I had hoped for at TLI. Overall I am delighted that TLI has more than met my expectations as a Mandarin school!

Author:Stephen – 2015 TLI Taichung Center

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