It is proven that the fastest way to learn Taiwanese, or any other language, is by emersion in the language and culture of the people. This forces the learning into daily life, and surrounds you with opportunities to practice speaking, listening and conversing in the local language. It also takes the learning off the page and brings it to life. If you want to learn Taiwanese quickly, there is no better method than diving into everyday life in Taiwan.
This may seem like a far-fetched idea to some, but there are actually quite a few opportunities to work in Taiwan temporarily. One opportunity is to teach ESL in Taiwan. Teaching ESL opens up opportunities all over Taiwan for you to use your English to teach in a variety of school settings. You don’t even have to have experience in Taiwanese to teach, and you will get an excellent surrounding of culture and language to help with your language efforts. You can find ESL teaching jobs in a variety of places, and you can check out LRNGO’s ESL blog for more information on qualifications and certifications necessary to teach, as well as advice on finding a job right for you.
There are also opportunities for you to work abroad for room and board. If you’re interested in farming, check out WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) , which offers tons of opportunities for volunteers to connect with farmers all over the globe for a temporary stay and work opportunity. You could also check out Helpx, with a similar concept of volunteering for room and board, but with opportunities spanning across the board, from helping with small hotels to tutoring hosts in a variety of skills.
You can also work with a native Taiwanese speaker through tutoring or language exchange. You can find a tutor on a variety of sites such as WyzAnt, and a language exchange partner at LRNGO, if you would like to exchange lesson for lesson as opposed to paying a tutor. Working with a native speaker allows you the flexibility of asking questions and having lessons tailored to your learning style and abilities. They also open up doors for cross cultural understanding and are the best way to learn what natural, modern Taiwanese looks like.
You can also find some computer courses to help you learn Taiwanese. These are interactive and a close second to having a private tutor, but often times still cost. Be sure to do your research before opting for this method, and make use of any free trials offered to you so you can be sure that you’re paying for a program that is right for you.
Your efforts to become proficient in a new language will be rewarded by the joy of being able to communicate more freely and explore the opportunities this introduces.
Photo Credit: Luke Ma