Learning Mandarin in 3 months?

As you probably realise by know, most language schools in Taiwan offer courses by term (i.e. per 3 months). You probably wonder how much time should you spend in mastering the language? I suppose the answer depends on each person's background and capability. Let's use myself as an example here.


When I was in my teenage years, my dad forced me to learn Mandarin. The teacher was old and she focused so much on my writing. At least I kinda grasped the idea of the stroke order although I did not really bother to memorise it at that time. Stupid kid, I know. Zzzz.

Growing up, and joining the employment line make me realise that Mandarin is broadly used in the office especially in Singapore (fyi, I works in Singapore). Ack! Thanks to this, I forced myself to learn Mandarin during the weekends (mostly because I don't want other people to talk openly about me in Mandarin without I'm knowing it). And did that work? Uhh probably it will only give you the idea of super basic Mandarin conversation like "How are you?" or "Have you eaten?". In short, it didn't really work for me although I admit that my Mandarin improved a bit and I could sense it if someone is talking about me in Mandarin.

Current study

So with this kind of background, I am practically a complete beginner when Shida asked me a lot of questions about my Mandarin level. So I started from Book 1 Practical Audio Visual in an intensive class. And with this, let's go back to the question "Is 3 months enough?"

If by enough, you mean that you can survive by your level of Mandarin when you get thrown out in a country where no one speak other language, then my answer is...it's not enough. Unless, you can master it like how Benny does it (http://www.fluentin3months.com/).

By the time I finish the first term, my conversational Mandarin is still very basic. And it's tough trying to listen to the native speaker of Mandarin, especially because they naturally speak fast. The fact that Shida likes to emphasise on a lot of grammar and writing doesn't help either.

To summarise, these are roughly the list of conversation that you will learn within 3 months at Shida:
- Introducing yourself: name, nationality, etc
- Hobby
- Number and price
- Introducing your family
- Buy things e.g. clothes/food
- Introducing where do you live (and your place of living)
- Time
- Showing direction and taking transportation
- Visiting doctor
- Taking a trip

The list is not exhaustive and some vocabularies that you will be taught depends on the teacher's style of teaching. Of course, all chapters will involve its own set of grammar.

So, do you think 3 month is enough for you? Think think think...=)

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  1. Hi!how many months did you study mandarin?I'm going to NTU for mandarin class! :)