Yi Hong - National Taiwan University

B. Commerce
Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

To maintain my full-time study load in National Taiwan University, I need to take courses worth a total of 15 credits (which is equivalent to 8 units of UQ credits). The courses I chose were mostly offered by the department of finance in the college of management, namely Investment, Financial Management, Money and Banking and Futures & Options. Besides, I also selected a Japanese Language course (beginner level) as an elective course to fulfil my credit requirement. Each course I chose worth 3 credits and it has 3 contact hours per week.

The course selection system is very different from what we have in UQ. It is very important to make sure that you have put every course you want in the system during the first stage, otherwise it might be a bit daunting if you could not secure enough courses at later stages (the situation where you can only seize a place in the course by emailing the professor or attend to the class in-person to get a special code for the course). Thankfully, I was lucky to get almost every course I wanted by emailing the course professor and telling them my difficult situation as an exchange student.

Personal experience

Compared to some local students who have extremely heavy study load, I had much time to spend on extracurricular activities. Therefore, I joined Wing Chun Club (Chinese Martial Art) and this experience indeed enriched my exchange because I was able to learn some practical self-defensive skills and met some really nice friends.

Apart from the finance courses which are much related to my studies in UQ, I took a beginner-level Japanese language course which was taught in Mandarin and learnt a lot of interesting vocabularies.

I explored a lot of night markets around Taipei city, joined an international companion learning program (ICL) which allowed me to visit school kids in rural areas and visited some tourist places both in and out Taipei area, e.g Jia Yi, Yi Lan and Kao Hsiung. I could not mark any one of these trips as the best one because they were all so meaningful as well as memorable to me and they would be etched in my mind perpetually.

In short, through this exchange, I learnt to discover new places and meet new people bravely, able to communicate and play with kids (to a certain extent), some martial art techniques and started my path to a new language.

Accommodation

I lived in Guo-Ching Dorm which is on-campus. I chose this mainly due to its affordable rent that cost me only around $12,500 NTD/per semester (i.e. $530AUD). However, there are all twin-shared rooms in Guo-Ching Dorm, sadly no refrigerator either in the rooms or public area, shared toilets, bathrooms and a small kitchen with dorm mates living on the same floor. There is also a self-service laundry room.

You can also choose Prince Dorm, which is also another on-campus option. It is much more expensive but definitely provides a higher quality of living conditions.

Budget

I spent less than $2000 NTD per week excluding rent which is mentioned above (less than $85 AUD). I spent my money mostly on food because the food in Taiwan is amazingly tasty and diverse, not to mention how affordable the price is. To me, I would rather save my money on the rent and spend it on travelling and discovering fabulous food in Taiwan.

Professional development and employability

Broader network: I met some local and international friends from places around the globe and we exchanged our contact details to keep in touch with one another and hopefully meet again in the future.

Improved communication skills: In the group projects, initially I had difficulties when discussing with the team members whom I never know anything about. I found that being passionate, active, considerate and positive is the key to achieve a success in a teamwork.

Improved time management: I need extra efforts to strike a balance between all the extra-curricular activities and my studies during the exchange in Taiwan because everything is new and worth trying.

Highlight

Being a volunteer in the International Companion Learning program (ICL) was a really nice experience. The objective of this program is to exchange culture with the children who live in rural areas in Taiwan. During the preparation of the materials for weekly Skype sessions, I had a chance to know more about Taiwanese culture and my own culture too.

Top tips

  • Be open-minded, accept cultural differences.
  • Keep challenging yourself in a new environment and always aim to achieve a better self.
  • Do not be afraid to find help from others when you cannot solve a problem by yourself as an exchange student who is new to the environment. But, always be grateful and ready to offer helps to others as well.
  • Most importantly, enjoy yourself without causing troubles!