Should I study at TaiDa and incur a US$10,000 debt or teach English in Jiangmen (near HK) and, you know, not be broke? Primary focus: learning Mandarin for future international business/applied technology grad school/career.
Here's the rundown.
, I asked the hive mind about what school in Taiwan I should apply for. I ended up being accepted for one of the more expensive programs (IC LP), but suddenly my finances have taken a turn for the worse. If I want to finance this, I'll be taking out a loan to the tune of $11,000 - even on top of my scholarship. There's a chance that I could transfer out of this program after the 1st quarter if I feel that the price/performance ratio isn't quite up to par - that would put me about $6,000 in the hole instead.
Of course, there is additional complication.
Recently, a friend introduced me to a recruiter for a school in Jiangmen, around 1 hour northwest of Hong Kong. He offered me a job teaching elementary students - maximum 25h/week. I'd be getting RMB 6000 or roughly $750 (?), a furnished apartment, and lots and lots of vacation - plus a work permit (obviously), so working under the table is not a deportable offense like it would be in Taiwan with my Student visa. Additionally, upon hearing that I am primarily interested in learning Mandarin, the guy told me that there's a university nearby (WuYi) where I can take language classes, and that if I am interested in business, he can introduce me to some of the, as he put it, "movers and shakers" in the area - which, as I understand it, is fairly industrial. I have little support in Taipei.
I also spoke to a guy who went recently - he said the program was supportive, job was easy and fun, city was great - he stayed for a 2nd year contract, even.
So, as you're reading this, you're wondering why I don't just drop Taiwan and rush for the Jiangmen joint. Well, here are my concerns:
1. I want to get as fluent as possible in one year. I worry that taking classes "on the side", while living in a mishmash of Cantonese and Mandarin - won't give me nearly the dramatic progress that the TaiDa program - or any program, really, if I am a student only - would give me.
2. I don't really mind investing $6,000 - 10,000 if it's going to mean me being totally fucking gangster at Chinese. I mean, some people spend money on fancy cars, I prefer to invest it on what's inside my head.
But then again,
1. I have heard that Taiwan isn't really the economic powerhouse it was a while back - that it's really more about mainland China nowadays. Also, as the recruiter put it, language is nice, but connections are more important - and conceivably I'd be making a few out in Jiangmen, if I worked at it.
2. I am not averse to being disciplined and really absorbing language via immersion, some classes, and self study. I did it with Japanese, I may be able to do similar with Mandarin?
3. Instead of being broke, I'd probably save up money. I live pretty frugally.
YEAH. so there's a lot there, sorry. Basically, if you were interested in studying Chinese - results over fun - for the eventual purpose of doing work both in the university and the real non-ivory-tower-world in international business and applied technology - would you opt for Jiangmen or Taipei?
I kinda need to decide by Monday, as I'll be leaving in 3ish weeks either way.