Ethan - National Taiwan University

Bachelor of International Studies
Semester 1, 2018
Taiwan for its small size may be one of the most densely packed countries in the world filled with some of the most friendly people and beautiful scenery.

Academic experience

During my time abroad I was fortunate enough to be able to study a variety of subjects both in English and in Mandarin. These subjects ranged from topics of Taiwanese culture, Mandarin language courses as well as political science focusing in particular upon China. The most enjoyable factor of taking these courses was the new and alternative perspective that they were taught from especially in regards to the political science subjects as they allowed me to see certain topics from both a non-western perspective and also from a perspective that is directly involved in the dispute when it came to Taiwan-China relations. The enrolment and registration process through NTU was quite tedious at times as I was only allowed to register to a course during a small window of the day 11am-2pm 3 days a week for 2 weeks which made it hard at times when I was working on all of those days.

Personal experience

I gained numerous lifelong friendships with people both around Australia but also the world, personally I feel that I became far more sure of myself and gained far more independence than any other experience could provide.

Accommodation

I lived off of the main campus of NTU but in the international student dorms located roughly 1km away, I enjoyed the living setup as it allowed you to meet with other students and friends quite easily as well as allowing the feeling that you are actually away from campus without being too far away. The foremost advice I would give is to buy a mattress from IKEA if you're not a fan of extremely thin mattresses and to purchase all required housing good not from the dorm lobby but the 7/11 near the dorms as they sell almost all identical bedding for a far cheaper price.

Costs

Rent ended up costing rougly $80 per week, Food varied greatly upon where and how fancy you wanted to eat but no more than $5-10 was the average cost of a meal but if you needed to be thrifty you could easily eat for less than $5 and still feel satisfied. Transport via trains and buses usually ended up costing $1 a trip unless travelling further outside Taipei. Travelling usually costed roughly $600 for a weeks travel around Taiwan including shared hotel rooms and train tickets.

Professional Development

I think my networking skills have increase tremendously during my time abroad as well as my ability to organise and create events as throughout the semester I assisted in language exchanges.

Highlight

I think my two highlights of Exchange was my week of travel throughout Taiwan during mid-semester break and the ATYA and Australian Embassy networking event that I helped organise at the end of semester.

Top tips

My top tips for going on exchange to NTU would be, travel as much as you can early in the semester before assessment becomes too heavy, don't be afraid to speak to native Taiwanese NTU students as they all have reasonably good English and are always interested in practising it and are some of the most friendly people in the world. Finally, join the ICL program as it will allow you to make at least one Taiwanese friend as well as travel and experience Taiwan in a way travelling by yourself would never allow all on an extremely low price tag too.