Date registered: April 9, 2014
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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.