Learning Chinese language and culture in Taiwan in the early days, a trilogy
The narratives in this trilogy were chosen to represent the early era of 1956-63 – before Inter-University Program (IUP) was founded – when American students began going to Taiwan for Chinese language studies and research. Each narrative is unique, but all three are reminiscences of academics that came of age when Chinese Studies was only a fledgling field in the US As was typical of the time, they were already advanced doctoral students when they went to Taiwan to bring their spoken Chinese up to speed and to do dissertation research. Chinese language pedagogy for native speakers of Western languages was also just a fledging field in Taiwan at the time, and formal training for teachers was virtually non-existent. Educated native Chinese who could speak standard Mandarin and were otherwise qualified to teach foreigners were not plentiful. Living under a single-party authoritarian political system in a police-state environment was a new experience for American students of Chinese.