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Why Not Study Chinese In Taiwan?

Aug 18, 2007
If you watch CNN at all, or follow world news, you have no doubt heard about the growing wealth and influence of China. It is the most populous country and it is the world's fourth largest economy. According to The Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) it has grown faster than any other economy with an average GDP growth of 10% from 1990 - 2006.

Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the third most spoken language in Canada and the United States. In fact, Chinese is becoming a common course offering in most American High Schools. If you are cursed with being monolingual, what better second language to study than Chinese? You can learn it in the classroom, online, by self-studying at home, or studying overseas.

Of all the different ways to learn Chinese, perhaps the most fulfilling and comprehensive way is to learn in a native Chinese speaking country. Learning Chinese overseas allows you to not only learn correct grammar and syntax, it allows you to learn everyday slang and nonstandard pronunciation. You can also experience a diverse culture that may be very different from your own.

Chinese can be thought of as 13 groups of languages of which Mandarin is the most widely spoken. Mandarin Chinese, spoken by about 850 million native speakers, is the world's most common native language. It is spoken natively in China and Taiwan. There are many other regional groups of languages such as Cantonese, which is spoken in Hong Kong and Macau.

Chinese learning for native English speakers can be difficult and frustrating since it is a tonal language. Once word can have several different meanings depending on what tone it has (Mandarin has four tones plus a neutral tone). Speaking from experience, it takes a long time to differentiate between the tones when carrying on a conversation with a native Chinese speaker. You can learn vocabulary and grammar patterns in the classroom, but you need to practice day-to-day speaking with a variety of native speakers.

Learning Chinese in Asia allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and the language. Mandarin is the official language in Mainland China and Taiwan, and it is also spoken in Singapore. If you have not traveled much or lived overseas, the best place to study Mandarin is in Taiwan. This country of 23 million is heavily influenced by Western culture and you can find many Western franchises and imports in every city.

English learning in Taiwan is mandatory for primary and junior high school students. In the capital city of Taipei, most of the people can at least understand English, which makes it much easier to communicate when you can't speak Chinese. You can also find English on road and shop signs, on menus, and often on product packaging.

Taiwan is a thriving democracy. Income and sales taxes are much lower than in the U.S. and Canada. The cost of living is higher than in most places in China, but it is still lower than in many North American cities. There is plenty of work for any native English speaker with a bachelor or higher university degree. Schools are very competitive in Taiwan, so there are thousands of English cram schools you can teach at.

This is an excellent opportunity for those who have graduated from university and wish to live abroad or study a foreign language. You can live comfortably in a Mandarin-speaking country by teaching English and studying Chinese in your spare time. If you don't have a university degree or don't wish to teach English, you can still apply for a student visa and learn Chinese at a university. Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung are the three biggest cities in Taiwan and they all have excellent schools where you can study Chinese.

With the incredible technological and economic growth of China, learning Chinese is becoming a necessity for most of us wishing to survive in the age of information. Studying Chinese abroad gives you an incredible opportunity to learn a language and experience an ancient culture on a budget. Learning Chinese in Taiwan can be a life-changing experience.
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Click on the links to learn more about studying Chinese in Kaohsiung , other travel destinations, or learning a second language.
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