After one year at Sichuan University and one year at CaiDa (SWUFE), I would like to give an update on the SWUFE's Chinese language program to anyone considering studying at SWUFE.
(1) Where foreign students study is in Chengdu city center. There are many cities in China now where the Chinese language study program at a university is an hour outside of the major city.
(2) Cheap tuition. At last check, one year is about 13000yuan.
(3) Class time is from 900am-1220pm.
(1) 90% of the students are here only for a six-month or one-year program as a part of their government job in their country or a part of a university program in their country. Most of these students don't care about the classes and don't care to study well. They only need a good grade, which the school will give so that the university/gov't will continue sending their students to CaiDa. This means the vast majority of classes you could attend will be frustrating since your classmates won't prepare and won't participate in class.
(2) Students who don't care leads to having teachers who don't care. Or is it the other way around? Either way, the result is the same—CaiDa has teachers who do not care about being in class. They don't prepare for class, and many do not know how to explain basic concepts about Chinese.
(3) Some teachers like to practice their English in class and to develop relationships with foreigners so they can practice English. It's horrible that they won't speak in Chinese.
(4) There is major infighting among the teachers and staff at CaiDa. Like any workplace in China, there are factions, and the factions often do things to one another to go against the other faction. If you have a teacher who is in the losing faction (or who has offended the office staff), then be aware that you will be put in a crappy classroom with bad curriculum because the office staff will put that teacher in a bad classroom with bad curriculum.
(5) CaiDa staff doesn't care about student's comments and feedback. Of course, they say 'thank you' when you take the time to give feedback, but there's no action as a result of the feedback on simple things like "our teacher needs erasers and white board markers for class". The students ended up purchasing those items for the teacher.
(6) If you think CaiDa is just an "easy visa" as a result of being a poor school, think again. They have strict policies and have been cancelling students' visas as a result of them not showing up for class.
So, in the end, if you decide to attend SWUFE, you are stuck with a poor school who barely makes an attempt to teach Chinese and who hires staff that are immature.
My recommendation is for anyone wanting to study Chinese in Chengdu to attend Sichuan University.
Thx for taking the time to give a considered opinion. Much appreciated and a help to lots of people!
This is a totally nonsense. I am studying Chinese in SWUFE for more than 1 year now and I can say that all your negative facts are simply not true.
It is even hard to believe that you have really studied here and just had bad luck during your year in SWUFE, because all of that argument/facts are not true.
So, you must either be a desperate former SWUFE teacher who got fired due to low performance or a dissapointed student who had some personal conflicts with somebody from SWUFE or simply someone from Sichuan University who wants to get rid of competition in a very cheap way.
Anyway, to show the respect for all the SWUFE Chinese teachers who are doing a great job day after day, for all the Students who are studying hard and making efforts (some more, some less ... of course) and for the helpful and thoughtful administrative backoffice team, I have to say once again that this information about SWUFE Chinese program is not true.
@ Marsan I see u have a previous post advertising a Chinese language school. So what is ur situation? Are u currently a student at SWUFE or are u a teacher?
I am a chinese language student in SWUFE. a friend recently opened a private school, so i helped out with a post.
If you want some first hand information about my experience in SWUFE i would be happy talking to you. Or you just send me a pm and ask me what you are particulary interested in. Happy to help :)
@ Marasan Hello Marasan, yes Id be interested to hear ur firsthand take on SWUFE please. For example where were u and ur classmates from and how did u find the quality of the classes? Did u witness the infighting that Nick talked about? Did u stay on-campus? Any other info would be interesting.
Also I notice that the post u previously made, about that Chinese language school u say ur friend was opening, has now disappeared. Why is that?
I am a student at SWUFE and the information provided in the first post is simply not true. I can't believe that anyone can have such an impression after studying at SWUFE. My teachers speak english yet they force me to speak to them in Chinese even outside of class. I would highly recommend SWUFE for studying Chinese.
more discussions from the past
Is anyone studying at SWUFE who can tell me about it?
Southwest University of Finance and Economics
Are you studying at SCU now?
With regards to the positives:
You should sign up for the higher level classes. Your classmates will mostly be Asians and their attitude is much better. Students from Korea, Japan, and Thailand usually have a great attitude. They go to class on time and they do their homework (for the most part). My classmates don't care so much about their grades - they care about learning Chinese, which is much better. My classmates are hardworking and there are a few students in my class who are expected to go from HSK4 to HSK6 in less than a year - I think that is quite impressive. It is also inspirational and brings extra motivation.
Class sizes are very small for intermediate and advanced levels. We are usually 4-6 students in my class (E2).
With regards to the negatives:
Some teachers are good or amazing, but others are very bad. I took another class last semester and the level was shocking. I didn't like any of those teachers and I basically wasted my time in their classes.
The teachers' English level and the problem of them wanting to be friends with the students - This is not the case for higher level classes. Most of them hardly speak English. I do think that we have a professional relationship with most of the teachers, but this is not always the case for the lower level classes.
I think it is extremely strange that they have teachers who haven't studied another language. I have taken Chinese classes in the US, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. I have never had a language teacher who only studied one language. The teachers who also know English or Korean/Japanese are usually much better. There are many teachers who have no idea about what is easy and what is hard. I had a teachers who spent 3 hours explaining rhetorical questions because she thought it was special for Chinese.
That being said, I also have some very good teachers, who are very good at explaining the grammar rules. Furthermore, I often e-mail them and send weixin messages and they always reply and they are happy to help me if there is something I do not understand. I highly recommend the HSK elective classes.
The teachers don't care about my learning - Yes and no. Generally speaking, Chinese teachers at SWUFE care about exams. The problem is that tests in China often are extremely useless for learning. Like learning how to answer test questions that you don't understand, rather than learning how to understand the test questions. That being said, I can always ask my teacher and they often go home and prepare extra material for me. They are also willing to help me with Chinese which is not part of what we study in the class room. I have written several essays that I sent to my teachers. They were happy to help me.
The administration office is a complete joke. I thought my school in Denmark was bad, but 财大 is BAD. They should look at best practices from other universities. They are shockingly useless. They never send e-mails and you have to figure everything out on your own. The university teaches business and management, maybe they could send their staff to an Organization or Communication 101 course. I am a scholarship student and I am supposed to get books for free for each semester. I just got them - 6 weeks after the semester started......
I cannot compare CaiDa to sichuan university, but I think CaiDa is ok for higher level classes, mainly due to the class sizes. That being said, there is a high level of uncertainty with the teachers as you can't be guaranteed good teachers. You should ask other students about which class to join. Stay away from bad teachers, it is a waste of time to study with a bad teacher.
Overall, it has lived up to my expectations. Plenty of room for improvement though.
@lasen_dane Thx for taking the trouble to write such a long post :)
Most of your learning is outside the classroom though. Get a tutor - free or very cheap. Stay away from language exchange, it is a waste of time if you can afford a tutor. You can do language exchange in order to get friends, but it is a waste of time in terms of learning. Then it's better to get a job as a tutor and pay a tutor to teach you (also more economic).
Have a look at the training school at huaxiba - it is a training school for teachers. You can get some free 1-on-1 classes (the need practice in order to become certified teachers). Two hours of 1-on-1 is better than 3 hours at CaiDa (and I'm guessing the same goes for ChuanDa)
Can't add much to what others have already said, I started studying at SWUFE last September, and this wouldn't be my second semester if I wasn't satisfied. My current teachers are probably the best teachers I have ever had.
I believe that the original post, if true, it's just a case of very bad luck. Also, I'm not aware about any infighting among the teachers, and the point about teachers practicing English with students, really?, I feel as if speaking English is discouraged everywhere, even at the office.