Chinese in Taiwan

Guide to Living and Working in Taiwan

Chinese In Taiwan

Learning Chinese is a great way to meet new friends and gain a valuable life skillLearning Chinese is a great way to meet newfriends and gain a valuable life skill!

 Learn Chinese Mandarin on your iPod

The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese but many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent who have their own dialect collectively known as ‘Taiwanese.’ Increasingly though only the older generation will speak Taiwanese while the younger generation prefer to speak Chinese.

The smaller groups of Hakka and indigenous people have also preserved their own languages. Many elderly people can also speak some Japanese, a remnant of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan that only ended in 1945.

The most popular foreign language in Taiwan is English (lucky for us English teachers), which is part of the regular school curriculum. Although most people speak some level of English, it is advised that you have instructions to get to your school and to your home written in Chinese so you can show a local or a taxi driver.

Basic Mandarin

Here some basic Mandarin phrases you might find useful:

    • Yes = shr 是
    • No = bu shr 不是
    • Thank you = shie shie 謝謝
    • Thank you very much = fei chang gan shie / hen gan shie 非常感謝 / 很感謝
    • You’re welcome = bu yung shie 不客氣
    • Please = ching 請
    • Excuse me = duei bu chi 對不起
    • Hello = ni hau 你好
    • Goodbye = tzai jian 再見
    • Good morning = tzau an 早安
    • Good afternoon = wu an 午安
    • Good evening = wan shang hau 晚上好
    • Good night = wan an 晚安
    • Do you speak … = ni huei jiang … ma? 你會講…嗎?
    • English = ying yu 英語


    • I = wo 我
    • We = wo men 我們
    • You (singular, familiar) = ni 你
    • You (singular, formal) = nin 您
    • You (plural) = ni men 你們
    • He/She = ta 他 / 她
    • They = ta men 他們
    • Where is the bath room? = shi shou jian tzai na li? 洗手間在哪裡?
    • How are you? = ni hau ma? 你好嗎?


    • How much does this cost? = je duo shao chian? 這多少錢?
    • Do you accept credit cards? = ni jie shou shin yong ka ma? 你接受信用哪嗎?
    • I’ll buy it. = wo yao mai 我要買


    • Please bring the bill. = mai dan 買單
    • Bread = mian bao 麵包
    • Coffee = ka fei 咖啡
    • Tea = cha 茶
    • Juice = guo jr 果汁
    • Water = shuei 水
    • Beer = pi jiou 啤酒
    • Wine = hong jiou 紅酒
    • Meat = rou 肉
    • Beef = niu rou 牛肉
    • Pork = ju rou 豬肉
    • Fish = yu 魚
    • Vegetable = shu tsai 蔬菜
    • Fruit = shuei guo 水果
    • Salad = sha la 沙拉
    • Dessert = dian shin 點心


  • How much is the fare? = che piau duo shau qian? 車票多少錢?
  • Ticket = piau 票
  • Train = huo che 火車
  • Bus = gung che 公車
  • Subway, Underground = jie yun 捷運
  • Airport = ji chang 機場
  • Train station = huo che jan 火車站
  • Bus stop = gung che jan 公車站
  • Subway station, Underground station = jie yun jan 捷運站

Language Exchange

You can learn Chinese for free! A language exchange means that someone will teach you Chinese and in return you will teach them English or another language. Language exchanges tend to work best if you are and your partner are both at an intermediate level or above in the languages you are learning. That way you can both communicate effectively in either language. If one partner is a beginner and the other partner at a much higher level then the language exchange will usually be lopsided and not work very well.

The best way to find a language exchange partner is just to ask someone directly or ask a friend to introduce you to someone who might be interested. You can also put up a notice on a notice board or post a message on the internet.

Chinese Language Schools

Listed here are a number of different universities and schools here in Taiwan that have Chinese classes available should you choose to take your language abilities to the next level.

Amerispan Study Abroad in Taipei

Our school has three campuses in Taipei. Students can easily transfer between any of the centers. The main campus occupies the third and fourth floors in a modern commercial building located on Roosevelt Road, a main thoroughfare in the southern part of the city. The surrounding area is one of the most popular residential districts in Taipei, particularly among university students. It has an abundance of restaurants, shops, night markets, and nightclubs.
Location: Taipei

Australia Academic Circle

Learn Chinese in two Convenient Locations – in Taipei at Chung Hua University, or Taichung at Providence University. On or before arrival in Taiwan, students initially enroll for 1 semester (three months). Students learn basic Chinese conversation skills needed for everyday living in Taiwan, and which can be developed further during continued periods of study. Students who study Chinese for 10 hours a week are entitled to visa extensions in order to continue their studies. These extensions will be granted up to two months at a time, for a maximum total period of 6 months. After four months of study it is possible to apply for an ARC (resident visa) through either Chung Hua University or Providence University. Classes are aimed at learning conversational Chinese, character writing, correct pronunciation and grammar working towards fluency. The language is taught using the Beijing Pinyin system, the most widespread method for teaching Mandarin and also the easiest system for beginners. All teachers are university graduates and have completed courses in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language.
Location: Taipei, Taichung

Center of Chinese Language and Culture at National Taiwan Normal University

The Center of Chinese Language and Culture (Mandarin Training Center) was established in the fall of 1956 as an extension, not a department of the National Taiwan Normal University. Since that time, it has grown to become the largest and best known institution in the Republic of China dedicated to the teaching of Chinese culture and Chinese as a second language. All levels of standard and Classical Chinese as well as Chinese culture are taught.
Location: Taipei

ICLP at National Taiwan University

The International Chinese Language Program (ICLP) is widely held to be one of the world’s premier institutions for the instruction of both modern and classical Chinese. Since its original establishment in 1963 as the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP), it has offered intensive language training to over 2,000 students from more than 20 countries. ICLP provides a year-long language program in a Mandarin-speaking environment which upholds much of its traditional Chinese heritage and culture within the framework of a modern democratic society. ICLP enables students to achieve broad and independent competence in spoken Chinese and to develop reading skills needed for academic research or other professional use. The language center has an audio-visual room, reference library and computer lab with full Internet access for the use of students. Situated within the campus of the prestigious National Taiwan University (NTU), it enjoys the benefits of a central location in Taipei along with access to the full range of NTU’s academic, recreational, and sporting resources.
Location: Taipei

The Language Center at Fu Jen University

In addition to a strong Chinese language expertise, LC teachers have backgrounds and training in many other fields as well, including Chinese history, Chinese philosophy, other foreign languages, business, broadcast journalism, theater, and much more. All teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree. The experienced faculty is enthusiastic about teaching Chinese, using a curriculum that is engaging and systematic. The faculty has a reputation for producing students with a firm grasp of the Chinese language.
Location: Taipei

Mandarin Learning Center at Chinese Culture University

The Mandarin Learning Center is devoted to the teaching of Mandarin Chinese as a second language. We are affiliated with the Chinese Culture University, one of the largest universities in Taiwan with a student body of 32,000. Conveniently located in Taipei, the Center is easily accessible by bus. Upon arriving at the MLC, placement evaluations are given to each student in order to determine his or her appropriate class level. Each level includes training in the four major language learning areas:speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We teach traditional characters and zhu-yin (bo po mo pho) pronunciation system. Our teaching staff are highly experienced and committed to solving students’ problems. In addition, to maintain our high teaching quality, teachers are all university graduates.
Location: Taipei

Mandarin Studies and Cultural Center at Ming Chuan University

The MSCC (Mandarin Studies and Culture Center) is designed for international students who study Mandarin Chinese as a second language. Each term consists of eleven to sixteen weeks (four months). A new term begins each season and instruction is given all year round. Classes are arranged from beginning to advanced levels. Small-group classes create an optimal learning situation for developing language skill. Classes are conducted in both Mandarin and English. Professional teachers who are native speakers of standard Mandarin guide every student’s development and take an sincere interest in each person’s individual learning. The program provides orientation, field trips and social activities to encourage communication with Chinese students and to develop a wider comprehension of Chinese culture. Through the year, the MSCC provides 9 levels of proficiency classes taught by professional teachers. The size of classes is small with 10-15 students; therefore students get individual attention from instructors. In addition, MSCC organizes activities to facilitate communication with Chinese students and Chinese tutoring is given to each foreign student.
Location: Taipei

Mandarin Studies Program at Taiwan National Chengchi University

The Mandarin Studies Program at National Cheng-chi University is committed to the training and study of Mandarin Chinese for international students. This commitment guides the teaching, learning and training activities within the program, which offers a variety of non-credit regular courses and elective courses. Regular courses are designed to enhance listening, speaking, reading and writing skills at different levels; elective courses are available for those who would like to sharpen their skills in listening and speaking or to learn Classical Chinese, Business Chinese, Taiwanese, or Cantonese. Workshops, activities and field trips are organized so as to provide students with opportunities to integrate culturally and socially with local students. Instructors in the program are highly qualified with years of experience in teaching Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language to individuals with various linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Location: Taipei

Taipei Language Institute

Do you dream of accessing and controlling the Chinese market? Do you wish to become a dynamic member of the new economic era. If you master Mandarin Chinese, your future is in the palm of your hand. Discover your potential, study Mandarin Chinese at Taipei Language Institute, it’s your best choice. Taipei Language Institute has been a pioneer in Chinese language education since its founding in 1956. In terms of course design, teaching materials and teacher training, TLI has become a model as well as a strong competitor in the language education field. TLI offers separate, flexible programs in Mandarin and Taiwanese that help students achieve their individual language-learning goals. Different teaching techniques and classroom activities are used at each stage of a student’s program. Oral drills are emphasized in order to develop speaking and listening skills; special attention is given to the pronunciation of the Chinese tonal system; and students follow a set curriculum using TLI teaching materials designed to build a solid foundation in the language. Class discussions give students an opportunity to begin using their Chinese in a wide variety of everyday situations. In addition, a greater proportion of class time is devoted to developing reading and writing skills.
Location: Taipei

Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages

How long are you planning to stay in Taiwan – wouldn’t you like to learn Chinese while you are here, and carry some of it home with you as a souvenir of your time in Taiwan? Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages is Taiwan’s only foreign language college. We have Taiwan’s most advanced audiovisual center, equipped with instructional videos and audio tapes and multifunctional language labs. The Center of Chinese Language is one of the newest divisions in Wenzao, focusing on language and cultural exchange between Chinese and people from other nations. Our instructors are speakers of standard Mandarin, well-trained and highly experienced in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. With the guidance of these teachers, you will soon master practical Chinese, adapt to life in Taiwan more quickly, and be better able to appreciate the many aspects of Chinese culture. The classes we offer are varied and flexible enough to fit your needs and schedule.
Location: Kaohsiung

Chinese Language Center at National Sun Yat-sen University

The Chinese Language Center (CLC) was established in August,1997, and is located on the picturesque campus of National Sun Yat-sen University, located at a convenient distance from the bustling Kaohsiung City and Kaohsiung International Airport. In the past years students from more than thirty countries have attended the CLC programs. Whatever your motivation and initial level are, the CLC will do all it can to ensure that you make rapid progress. All classes at the CLC are conducted in the target language. Mandarin Phonetic Symbols is used to familiarize the students with the strokes and components of Chinese characters. The CLC aims at cultivating students’ Chinese comprehension abilities in areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and to use their Chinese skills to obtain more professional knowledge and to compete in careers as well as to realize the essence of local culture.
Location: Kaohsiung

Chinese Language Center at National Cheng Kung University

In response to increasing interest in Chinese language and culture throughout the world, National Cheng Kung University established the Chinese Language Center (CLC) in the fall of 1982 to provide the best possible opportunity for those interested in learning Mandarin Chinese and studying various aspects of Chinese culture. The Chinese Language Center is equipped with the most up to date facilities, including language laboratories, computers and internet access, in order to ensure learning is rapid and enjoyable. The Chinese Language Center offers courses for students at beginner, basic, intermediate and advanced levels of proficiency. The center’s teachers are highly experienced, conscientious and responsible. Most have been chosen from the ranks of the most outstanding students of the NCKU College of Liberal Arts, College of Management and College of Social Sciences after undergoing a rigorous selection and training process. Courses are offered in two categories, the first being Chinese language, and the second being other aspects of Chinese culture.
Location: Tainan

Chinese Language Center at Tunghai University

Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan and is located in the heart of the island. Many convenient forms of transportation, along with fine weather, which is pleasant and sunny throughout the year, make Taichung a highly desirable place to live. This well-known city boasts central Taiwan’s largest national science and fine arts museums, which complemented by frequent art and music festivals, cements Taichung’s reputation as a leading center of learning and culture. CLC offers a wide variety of courses at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. There are classes covering the four standard skills of reading and listening comprehension, conversation, and writing, as well as curriculum in newspaper reading, business Chinese, and Classical Chinese literature. Additionally, CLC offers courses on Taiwanese language and culture, which allows students to understand the many rich aspects of native Taiwanese customs, such as martial arts, religions, architecture, and traditional crafts.
Location: Taichung

Chia University Language Center

Studying at Feng Chia University will provide you with the opportunity to experience education from within the classrooms as well as “living” the culture, due to your daily exposure to Mandarin and Taiwanese. Can you think of a better way to experience a language and its culture than by being a part of it? The full study program is based on nine semesters of three months each, though entering students who have studied Chinese before can start at a higher level that better suits their proficiency. Classes proceed continuously during the university’s summer and winter vacations, with only a one-week break after the Summer term and a two-week break for the Chinese New Year.
Location: Taichung

Chinese Language Instruction Center at Fo Guang University

Acquire your Chinese in a genuine Taiwan setting, free from polluted air, urban sprawl and high rents. Yilan is unrivaled in Taiwan for its well-preserved environment, imposing mountain backdrop and stunning view of the Pacific, and only a 90-minute train ride from Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei. Fo Guang University is a unique institution of higher learning dedicated to providing a traditional liberal arts education of global outlook in the grand Buddhist spirit (students are neither required nor expected to study Buddhism or practice it’s tenants). All aspects of the learning environment have been considered in building a new kind of seat of learning in Taiwan where the spirit of humanities-based study and education can flourish and flower. In line with its founding spirit, Fo Guang features the Chinese Language Instruction Center, which is dedicated to serving the needs of non-native speakers of Chinese from all over the world seeking an education in Chinese language and culture. An experienced faculty and comprehensively planned curriculum provide students with a keen interest in Chinese language, thinking, customs and culture with the requisite training and guidance to speak effectively. Make the most of your summer break with a carefully crafted term to boost Chinese language skills while providing a broad and intense cultural experience.
Location: Ilan

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