* University/ Institute: University of Kentucky
* Nationality: U.S.
I attended the National Chengchi University (NCCU) International Summer School in Taipei during the months of July and August. NCCU is one of Taiwan’s most prestigious universities and is known for its social sciences, business and liberal arts programs. It is located in southern Taipei and is surrounded with beautiful scenery as well as having several hiking trails within the school grounds. The location is convenient with many busses passing by and a train station that is a short bus ride away from campus.
The NCCU summer program makes it easy for students who do not have the time or financial support to study abroad for an extended period of time but would like to experience Taiwan and learn Mandarin. Students have an option to study for one month (either July or August) or both. The NCCU summer program has two classes: a morning class for Taiwanese and Chinese culture, economics and politics that lasts two hours as well a language class for Mandarin Chinese that is in the afternoon for three hours. There are also Taiwanese students that volunteer to help the new foreign students. I was assigned a “student buddy” who I soon became friends with. He helped me settle in, took me around Taiwan, helped me retrieve my lost luggage and even invited me to his family’s house for a weekend.
I am studying Engineering and did not want to push back my graduation so I chose to study in Taiwan during my summer break. I have an interest in Asia as well as a desire to travel but I thought week or two in Taiwan would be too short to make the long trip. Also, the easy internet application process made the study abroad application process very simple as multiple documents did not need to be printed and sent internationally. All documents were scanned and uploaded to the NCCU website and I received a confirmation and acceptance email soon after. The Summer School also accepts students whose university is not affiliated with NCCU. The NCCU Summer School as well as its reasonable tuition was perfect for me.
I took the two classes offered by the Summer School. On the weekdays during the morning I had the culture class from 10am to 12pm. This was seminar style and visiting professors would lecture on a certain topic. This class covered a lot different topics on things such art, history, politics, economics, business, religion, medicine, etc. I really enjoyed thelectures on Cross-Strait relations, religion in Taiwan, and Chinese medicine. Also every weekend we had field trips to supplement the material learned in class. This class taught me a lot about Taiwan and it was really useful for understanding what I was seeing in Taiwan as well as its people. On weekdays in the afternoon from 1pm to 4pm I had Mandarin Chinese class. Three hours of Mandarin everyday while in a Mandarin speaking country really does help and I found myself improving at a rapid rate. The class sizes were small (about 8 people) and NCCU has quality enthusiastic Mandarin teachers that make learning fun and really care about their students. I felt like my teacher was my friend and that I could be open, ask questions and make mistakes without being embarrassed.
|My Mandarin Class at NCCU|
The students for the Summer Class are housed in dorms on top of the hill in the upper campus. Although it is possible to walk up and down campus, it is especially hard in the summer heat so there was a bus that came every 20 minutes and took us to the lower campus and the restaurants and shops around it. The dorms are nothing fancy. I shared my dorm room with three of my classmates and had my own bunk bed with my desk below. Toilets and showers were just down the hall. Because there is no central air conditioning in the dorm, the windows are kept open and the dorm is surrounded by nature so it not uncommon for bugs and insects to come in the dorm areas. My air-conditioned room however only had the occasional mosquito because the door was kept closed. If you have never been camping before, are terrified of insects and are a clean freak, then I do not recommend you come to NCCU, otherwise, the price of the dorm is unbeatable and you will soon get used to the little dirt and insects.
I would highly recommend studying abroad at the National Chengchi University in Taipei. The NCCU teachers and staff are very helpful, organized and want you to love Taiwan. Taiwan is a beautiful country with a huge variety of delicious foods and friendly, honest and hardworking people. I will never forget the great memories and friends I made at NCCU.
|The author and his Taiwanese friend eating Stinky Tofu|