Taiwan: probably the best destination in the world for learning Chinese
Learning Chinese in China is much more than learning a language, it is a journey into China's ancient history and culture as well as the best way to get to know local people, their traditions and religious beliefs.
You can choose many different locations for your language course, be it Peking, Shanghai or any of China's megalopolis, but no destination can offer such an intense and fun experience as Taipei, in Taiwan.
On one hand, students in Taipei can experience the hectic and exciting life of an international metropolis, home to almost 7 million people and filled with all kinds of shops, restaurants and iconic landmarks like the Taipei 101 tower, the second tallest building in the world, and on the other plunge into China's most traditional life when visiting any of the city's uncountable temples, run by Buddhists, Taoist or followers of Confucius.
As a tourist you shouldn't miss visiting a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) pharmacy, nor trying some of the dozens of different snacks on sale in Taipei's famous night markets. Eating is by the way, one of the favourite pastimes of the locals, and you will find it hard to believe how many restaurants, eateries, food stands and hawkers you will find offering an incredible variety of dishes, including spicy Szechuan specialities, sweet dishes from Shanghai, dim sum from Canton or crispy roasted duck from Peking.
Shopping opportunities abound, ranging from high-tech gadgets to handicrafts and locally made designer clothes inspired on traditional patterns. Indeed, Taiwan offers an incredible blend of high tech contemporary life style and millenary traditional ways of life that have disappeared from mainland China in the course of the last 60 years, giving you a taste of what Chinese life might have been in the mid 20th century.
Studying in Formosa (Portuguese for "beautiful" the name given by Portuguese sailors in the 16th century to Taiwan) also offers great opportunities for exploring some of Asia's best managed National Parks. Thanks to the island's high speed train network, you will never be far away from great outdoor adventures, including climbing the highest peak in East Asia, sunbathing in white sandy beaches, cutting your way through dense tropical jungle or rafting along magnificent canyons. And for those preferring to go "solo" renting a car for exploring the island is a readily available option as long as you have an International Driver's Licence.
Finally, Taiwan offers many advantages for young students: besides having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, Taiwan offers very modern medical and rescue facilities, and last but not least, does not require an entry visa for citizens of most countries, making it easy to plan side trips to other destinations in Asia during your language course.
If you are planning to learn Chinese in China don't think it twice, Taiwan is the perfect destination for you!