National Chiao Tung University is located in the outskirts of Hsinchu, about an hour from Taipei. There are two campus’ areas situated about fifteen minutes walking distance from each other. Within the area there are many green areas and sport facilities like soccer, tennis and baseball courts. There are currently about 12000 students at the university.
The classrooms are all very different. Some are really modern while some are big concrete halls containing loads of plastic chairs with small tables attached to each. The cleaning may sometimes be insufficient. All classrooms are equipped with air conditioning, which is nice during the hot Taiwanese summer.
Where to live in Hsinchu
The dormitories are conveniently situated close to the other university buildings. Girls and boys live separately. The standard of the dormitories are low, and so is the rent (about 2000 SEK/semester). The two places to live if you want to stay in campus:
Guang Fu Lu:
The advantages of living at this campus are that you live closer to the CITO Office, the dining halls and the library. Most of the classes are held here as well. Typically you share room with three other students. It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk to the Tsing Hua night market, where most restaurants are located.
Here you will live closer to down town Hsinchu. It takes about ten minutes to go there with a bicycle. Within the area there are also many nice restaurants close to the dormitory. Here you will live two students in each room, with a slightly higher standard than the Guang Fu Lu campus. If you are interested in running, the beautiful Eighteen Peeks Mountain offers some nice rounds just outside your door. The problem with living here is that the place is further away from Guang Fu Lu, where most classes are held. Many former CITO students have chosen to live in private apartments outside the university area. Contact the current Swedish students in Taiwan for further information.
There are four restaurants within the university area. The meals costs about 10-25 SEK each, and both breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. You can find better restaurants outside the university area, but to a higher price. You will get a luxurious dinner in Hsinchu for about 150 SEK.
The prices in Taiwan are approximately 70% of the Swedish. Some things are much cheaper than Sweden, while some are about the same as home.
A beer in the pub costs about 25-50 SEK. Entrance fee to a night club is usually 0-100 SEK. However, foreigners are often allowed to enter for free or get a reduced price. Many clubs in Taipei also have the concept of “all you can drink”. This means you pay 70-140 SEK for entrance and drinks during the whole night. These clubs still offer really nice drinks!
-Cinema is about 50-60 SEK (student prize)
-Cafe is the same price as in Sweden
-The Taxi prices are roughly 60% of the Swedish price
-Bicycles are produced in Taiwan since long, and tend to be sold at a good price. You can get one for about 50-60% of the price in Sweden.
Electrical gadgets: About 20-30% cheaper than Sweden. Many products produced in Taiwan can be up to 60-70% cheaper. (76% of the world’s laptops are produced in Taiwan!)
The bus to and from Taipei is about 20-30 SEK and takes about an hour under normal conditions. The standard of these buses widely outclasses the ones in Gothenburg. You will have a big seat, and in some cases massage, a flat screen TV and personal service. The cheapest tickets for these buses are found in the stores of the university area.
It is recommended that you buy a scooter for your stay in Taiwan. A new one cost about 10000 SEK, but you can usually buy it from the previous year’s Chalmers students for about 2500-3500 SEK. The traffic in Taiwan is chaotic but entertaining once you learned how to handle it. You will need a driving licence for the scooters but you fix that easily in one afternoon and with 120 SEK.
The prices of clothes vary a lot between different shops and brands. But it is overall cheaper in Taiwan. There are many high quality Asian brands being sold to really good prices. The sales in Taiwan also differ from the ones in Sweden in the way: “70-90% off in the whole store”.
There are all kinds of clubs at the university, from the Cheerleading Team to the NCTU Jojo-Club. The most popular sports are basket, baseball, ping pong, feather ball and tennis. But almost every sport is available. There is a big swimming-pool and a gym within the university area as well.
The Taiwanese students like to sing karaoke, go bowling, go to the cinema or the night market. In Hsinchu, there are a few night clubs, like the Pig&Whistle, Flying Pig and Cami. These ones are all right, but if you get on the bus to Taipei you will find night clubs that widely outclasses the ones in Gothenburg.
There is a clinic on the second floor of the “Student Activity Centre” in the university area. To visit the doctor is free (!), but you will have to pay for the medicine (usually very, very cheap). This place is open Monday to Friday. There are twelve hospitals in Hsinchu and some private clinics as well. It is easy to find a dentist and the price is nice.
The official language in Taiwan is Mandarin. Other languages are Taiwanese and Hakka. Do not expect people to speak English. A few business cards with addresses in Chinese characters might be useful the first time of your stay. It helps a lot once you learned some Mandarin, and it is recommended that you study language during your whole stay.
The whether in Hsinchu is subtropical. The air humidity is high, and there are heavy rains during the typhoons. The summer is hot, approximately 35 C°, but the autumn is like a good Swedish summer that stretches all the way to November. South of Kaoshiung there is tropical climate, which basically means it is hotter! The difference in temperature between the north and the south is especially big during the winter.
The temperature during the winter can drop down to 5 C°. The moisture and the fact that the buildings in Taiwan are not isolated make it feel a lot colder. A good skiing jacket and two weeks in Thailand is a popular way to tackle this!
Most insurance companies that sell a home insurance can transform this into a travel insurance, this is a cheap alternative. However, both the students for the summer course and those that will stay longer are required to buy an insurance on arrival in Taiwan, so no other health insurance is needed. Should you wish, you can have a health insurance from Sweden aswell, but this is not necessary.
An important matter is that if you want an insurance for assault, theft or similar you have to buy a full study abroad insurance. CSN offers students such an insurance together with the insurance broker AON Sweden AB, phone 08-58784010. This insurance can be bought from the same form that you apply for “studiemedel” from CSN. However, CSN:s insurance’s cover is a little less that most other insurances. for example, you can not receive payment for “sveda och värk”.
The price for a study abroad insurance is somewhere between 2-4000 SEK for a full year, and the compulsory Taiwanese health insurance is 604 NTD/month. Your home insurance usually covers the first 45 days abroad, so if you are only staying for the NCTU Mandarin summer course, you can only pay a little extra to have the whole period covered.
Visa is applied for at the Taipei Mission in Stockholm. Application is sent through recommended mail to:
Taipei Mission in Sweden
Wenner-Gren Center Sveavagen 166, 18 tr
113 46 Stockholm
Telefon: 08-728 85 13
What type of visa to apply for depends on the period of your stay. You can look for information at www.boca.gov.tw, but the easiest thing to do is to call Taipei Mission before you send any application. They are very friendly, speak perfect Swedish and will help you very well. If your stay is no longer than 30 days, no visa is needed. If you want to stay for more than 30 days you can either apply for a visitor visa, valid for 60 days, or a resident visa. Any visa have the following requirments:
A passport valid for at least 6 months with at least a blank page left.
– 2 passport photos
– Application form, can be found at www.boca.gov.tw
– Booking for your flight there and back
– Visa fee some 320 SEK (or 60 SEK for resident visa), check this with Taipei Mission.
– Reply envelope that is also paid to be “recommended mail”.
When applying for a resident visa you will also need papers from Chalmers that says you are an exchange student and papers from NCTU that says you are accepted as a student for the following year.
Apply for the visa at least 3 weeks before departure and always call Taipei Mission in Stockholm before applying, rules for application may change.
Flight ticket and student loan
Applying for student loan to study abroad is a little more messy than otherwise, but check out www.csn.se for more information and application forms. If you are to become an exchange student, things are easier, as there is a special form that is to be signed by your student counselor at your university.
Should you wish, STA Travel can deduct the price of your ticket directly from your student loan, and usually offer really good prices on the tickets. Kilroy Travels offer this possibility aswell, but they rarely have the cheapest tickets. If you want to book your ticket in any other way, you need to send a copy of the payment receipt to CSN in order to get an extra loan. KLM and Evaair has some pretty cheap tickets (below 10000 SEK). GreenAir works as an agent for EvaAir in Goteborg, phone: 031-85 54 60. www.greenair.se If you have any relatives in Taiwan/Eastern Asia there is a possibility to get an ethnic ticket at KLM, meaning that you can bring an extra 10 kg of luggage without paying anything extra. These tickets can be booked through Jade Travel AB in Stockholm, phone: 08-441 76 20. www.jade.se
An alternative to booking tickets from Sweden to Taiwan is to book a ticket from Sweden to Hong Kong and then get another ticket from there. This is often the cheapest way, and there are many, many flights a day between Hong Kong and Taipei.
You can view Chalmers’ catalogue of exchange programs and read more about studying abroad here.
Here you can read more about the National Chiao Tung Univerity and what it offers to exchange students.