Phoebe Lee’17 studied at National Taiwan University, Taipei (NTU) through the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP), an intensive eight-week language program. She majors in Cognitive & Linguistic studies at Wellesley and welcomes any questions.
(The original feedback might be edited for length and clarity.)
Prior Language Preparation?
Before attending ICLP, I took CHIN 101 and CHIN 102 at Wellesley, although ICLP also accepts people who are complete beginners. After my summer abroad, I was able to enroll in CHIN 301 at Wellesley, and I felt well-prepared by ICLP for that course. That being said, ICLP is certainly an intensive eight-week language learning program.
General Reflections on the Program
ICLP has a great atmosphere: the teachers are dedicated to helping their students improve their Chinese and the students are dedicated to learning as much as they can. In particular, the teachers are extremely kind, helpful, and patient. ICLP also provides various facilities for the students, including a computer lab, a small library, and a student lounge with a refrigerator, sink, and personal lockers and mailboxes for each student.
The first week is an orientation week during which you will take your written and oral placement exams, get a tour of the campus, and attend general lectures while they sort everyone into their classes for the rest of the program. You will also be asked to sign an attendance pledge and a Chinese language pledge, which applies to anywhere within the language center building. (Note: Chinese language pledge requires that all conversations be conducted in Chinese.)
You will then be enrolled into three classes that each meet for one hour every weekday, meaning 15 hours of class a week. You will have one group class (of about 4 people), a one-on-one class, and a listening comprehension class or elective class (of about 3 people), depending on your level of Chinese (if your level of Chinese is high, you are allowed to choose an elective class). You will have about 4-6 hours of homework every day, depending on your classes.
At the end of the program, you will have final exams in each class, except your one-on-one class. Your teachers will also help you prepare for your final presentation, which you must present in front of some of the ICLP teachers and students.
Life in Taipei
As for Taiwan in general, the majority of people are really friendly, the food is super cheap, and transportation is easy. Most ICLP students ate at the cafeteria on campus or at the food shops across the street from the language center. For transportation, ICLP students walked, rode a bike, took the bus, or rode the MRT (metro/subway). If you plan to ride the MRT often, it might be a good idea to buy an EasyCard. You can also rent out a YouBike from any of the stations throughout Taipei, and the first 30 minutes should be free. On the weekends, you can take day trips or visit night markets. ICLP offers a few day trips that you can sign up for as well.
If you’re interested in improving your Chinese quickly, I highly recommend applying to this program. The application is due at the end of March, and you can find the application instruction and materials at http://iclp.ntu.edu.tw/. If you’re concerned about finances, you can also apply for the Mayling Soong Grant through Wellesley by the beginning of February.