I really loved Taipei. August 28, 2017

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 08/28/2016 to 05/07/2017 with

CIEE: Taipei - Intensive Chinese Language and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Before arriving, I could no even speak the language or understand anything, but I could carry on basic conversations, some very in depth depending on the topic. I also took the opportunity to explore a lot of beautiful places in Taiwan, which has given me a greater appreciation for nature and natural beauty all over the world. This experience gave me a lot of independence, confidence, and communication skills that I didn't have previously. It was definitely worth going.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The class was taught in the language, and full of interaction between the students. It was a really fun and creative way to learn Chinese, and while it was intensive, it never felt too difficult. The teachers were very accommodating, patient, and helpful. I learned a lot in just one semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people were very friendly and very helpful. If you had any problems, personal or academic, they were always there to help you and support you.They also gave all of the students a lot of encouragement to go out and have fun while learning about everything, from culture to food and everyday life.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was a standard dormitory living space. It was pretty nice, and the dormitory was fairly quiet.

* Food:

There was a lot of different cuisines that I came across while here, and almost everything was delicious. While I am not a big fan of cooked vegetables, I certainly ate a lot of really good dishes with them here!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The student more or less controls this. Whenever I went out, by myself or with friends, it was a little overwhelming to be submersed in the culture. But the people were always friendly and helpful, and if there was something you didn't understand, they did their best to help you. It was a really fun experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was not injured or in need of healthcare during this semester, but several other people in my program were. The people from the program helped them find good places to go that spoke English, or had someone go with them to help communicate. They also explained how the insurance worked, and made it very easy to get things taken care of.

* Safety:

This place felt extremely safe. I did not encounter any safety issues while studying here, and I always practiced being cautious as I do at my own university, but in all honesty I felt much safer in Taipei, and on campus, than I did in my hometown or my school's city.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I had a lot of fun in this program. Unlike the other international students, they helped me meet local students, gave me tips about the program, the country, the culture; I really liked the resident director as well. The university was great, the location was good, and overall it was a great academic experience with lots of traveling and mingling.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

This was extremely easy. Taipei is definitely affordable for food and personal expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I think I spent between $35 and $60 dollars weekly.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Always look at the prices and volumes, or if there is a sale. It is very similar to when you are living on campus and trying to save money, though a lot of Taipei's restaurants are so cheap to eat at, you don't need to make your own food.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

There was a lot of encouragement to use your own language. The cultural ambassadors did their best to converse with you in the language, but if you were uncomfortable, struggling too much, or had a slip, you were not forced. They encouraged without pushing.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had completeed a third semester.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you are worried about making mistakes speaking the language, it is really good to practice among friends. While they may make fun of you, laugh, or teach you some less than helpful phrases, it is less stressful than when a teacher does it, and you'll have more fun and gain more confidence.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People and interactions
  • Food
  • Travel
* What could be improved?
  • More interaction with International students
  • More encouragement to join local clubs
  • I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had been prepared for the weather and the mosquitoes. While I was not bothered too much by the heat, the humidity was crazy, and I was utterly shocked by how often it rained in Taiwan. The humidity would affect your room and stuff, so use a dehumidifier. The mosquitoes were an interesting problem, because while I had expected the mosquito problem, I had not expected the mosquito bites to be so itchy or annoying. A lot of the other students also made comments that the mosquito bites in they had gotten in Taiwan were more annoying than in the U.S.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!