MY JOURNEY: LEARNING MANDARIN CHINESE

ANISA OZALP / CHINESE & TAIPEI

Thanks to the "OCAC" is the Overseas Community Affairs Council  Republic of China aka Taiwan and Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning for interviewing me for their promotion video of learning Chinese in Taiwan. Please allow me to explain my Chinese learning journey; 
I received personal Simplified Chinese training from Shouwen Pan during my time in the United States for one year. He was a great teacher and taught me mostly the Chinese tones and prepared me for the next chapter in my Chinese learning journey.
I then moved to Taipei and studied Traditional Chinese two years for one year at 
I also improved my Fine Art skills in Taipei and received personal training from Song Binghui in the Chinese Language. He is a seasoned artist who organizes his exhibitions in Asia with a vast following. In his Le Rong Studio 大直樂融畫室 where he trained me in Oil PaintingChinese WatercolorCalligraphy, and Still Life Drawing. He applies various art methods to define the progression of a sketch and the essence of the scenes. His artwork reveals and combines tradition and contemporary with an entirely different style.
I then joined Shih Chien University Continuous Learning Center with Adobe Courses, consist of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, and received my Adobe certification. Shih Chien is considered one of the top schools in Art & Design in Taiwan and the world and ranked #7 College ranking by Global Views.
I also completed Fashion Design Course in 2021 from Shih Chien University. The program develops skills for the fashion design industry. The purpose is to bring students with little to no fashion experience to complete a personal collection. They teach everything from basic sewing skills to the applications of industrial knowledge. 
Lessons Completed: Fashion Design, Apparel Construction, Fashion Illustration, Textile Design, and Color. 
Joining different courses in Adobe, Art, and Fashion (Classes received in Chinese) helped with my Chinese learning ability in a shorter time.
My personal notes for the written questionnaire given to me for the interview is below:
questionnaire: Reasons to Study in Taiwan by Anisa 安妮莎 Ozalp
May 4, 2021
1. Do you like learning traditional Chinese characters? Why? Which pinyin method is more helpful to you when learning Chinese? (注音符號 Zhuyin vs 羅馬拼音 WG)  Why?
My answer: I like learning traditional Chinese characters because Chinese is becoming more and more critical every day due to economic and technological developments in Chinese-speaking countries. I decided to learn Traditional Chinese instead of Simplified in Taiwan because once you master the traditional one, you can read ancient books like Confucious whose teachings and philosophy formed the East Asian culture and society which remain influential today. Once you know traditional, simplified can be learned easily anyway. 
Pinyin is definitely easier for a beginner because it uses the Roman alphabet but this pronunciation might not be correct all the time. Zhuyin has a total of 37 phonetic symbols and consists of all the basic sounds of Mandarin.  Zhuyin is also called “bo-po-mo-fo” and is more accurate in pronunciation.
2. What are the differences in teaching/learning Chinese between Taiwan and China, such as teaching methods, textbooks, and content? For example, more topics can be discussed when learning Chinese in Taiwan, because of freedom of speech, etc.
(Any observations or personal experience in this area are welcomed to share) 
My answer: I am not familiar with how China is different from Taiwan's teaching methods. Still, I can tell you that Taiwan focuses on preserving centuries of Chinese history and reflecting its teaching methods. The amount of information you're able to access from the internet is much more in Taiwan, being that it's not filtered or restricted, which makes studying easier for students. Taiwan is very similar to the United States in the way it does things.
3. Do you think learning Chinese in Taiwan is an interesting experience? Can you give examples of teacher's teaching methods that impress you the most?
My answer: Learning Chinese in Taiwan is an exciting experience because it allows me to incorporate my artistic interests with the language.  I’m receiving private courses from masters and advancing in Chinese Watercolor, Chinese Calligraphy, Oil Painting, Sculpting, 3D Designs, and more in Taipei. It would not be that easy if I were in New York to reach out to this level of masters and have valuable one-on-one apprenticeships from them. The good thing is that while I am learning new skills, at the same time, I am improving my Chinese here.
One of the teacher’s teaching methods that impress me the most is my current class at Shih Chien University, where my teacher makes learning fun, interactive and social. We do social learning activities that allow me to interact with the locals while learning the culture. The best way to learn is to be more involved with the people.
4. Do you think Taiwan is the best choice for learning Chinese? Why? Would you recommend foreigners coming to Taiwan to learn Chinese?
My answer: I think Taiwan is the best choice for learning Chinese because it’s very welcoming to foreigners, and they do their best to teach foreigners about the beauty of the language and the culture. 
I would recommend foreigners come to Taiwan to learn Chinese because it is ranked one of the best places in the world for foreigners to live. Its beautiful countryside, exotic island, international cuisine, coffee shops, and general financial ease make it a delightful place to live. It’s an affordable place to live, eat, work, and have fun. The locals are friendly and always willing to help.
5. What’s your impression of Taiwan? How would you describe Taiwan to your family and friends?
My answer: My impression about Taiwan is that it has reasonably low-price living expenses in Taiwan; you do not have to worry about the high costs and tuition. In addition to that, many universities provide scholarships to international students. 
Taiwan has one of the modern and reliable public transportation systems. In Taipei City, the Mass Rapid Transit, also known as the MRT, can take you anywhere in Taipei for less than a US dollar. Public transportation accepts student ID cards as a form of payment and even provides student discounts. It’s super easy to get around in the city.
School Project

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