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Ching Ting Sun

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Accounting

Experience Faculty
My exchange at National Taiwan University (NTU) was a truly unforgettable experience filled with adventure, new friendships, and personal growth.
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation
Financial Preparation

The cost of living in Taiwan is cheaper compared to Canada. However, it is still important to budget your cost in Taiwan. In terms of financial support before going on exchange, SFU provided numerous bursaries and scholarships for students participating in exchange programs. Many of my friends successfully applied for these scholarships, which provided them with extra financial support for their exchange experience. On average, a meal at a restaurant or a local eatery in Taipei can range from around $100 NTD to $500 NTD per person, which is about $4 CAD to $20 CAD (not including fine dining). While in Taiwan, I always carried around $3000 NTD in my wallet. This allows me to have sufficient money for food, drinks, shopping and hangouts with friends. Having enough cash is important since Taiwan is predominantly a cash-based society, and certain places like night markets and small street shops only accept cash payments. Fortunately, Taiwan has a lot of ATMs located at all convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and Family Mart, as well as at each MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station, making it easy to withdraw cash when needed.


For preparing an exchange to Taiwan, there are a few important packing tips to keep in mind. Firstly, remember to exchange some Taiwanese dollars before your departure, as you may not have immediate access to creating a bank account. It is recommended to bring around $20,000 to $30,000 NTD (excluding dorm costs) to purchase necessities like pillows, bed sheets, blankets, since these items are not included in the dorm, and other items when you first arrive in Taiwan.

If you are going on a spring term exchange, like I did in 2023, keep in mind that February in Taiwan can be a bit cold. Pack some long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and jackets to stay warm. However, as the exchange term covers May and June, which are known for their hot weather in Taiwan (often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius), it's important to include summer clothes in your packing list. However, clothing in Taiwan can be quite affordable, especially at night markets, where you can find a wide variety of items priced between $100 NTD to $300 NTD.

Taiwan is a very convenient country, so most items you may need are easily purchasable. For example, in convenient store such as 7-Eleven, you can find things like toothbrush, towels, medicine, ATM, etc. I suggest to not worry too much about packing everything that you think you might need. Just ensure that you have enough cash with you initially to cover your immediate needs.

Travel and Transportation

In Taiwan, the primary modes of transportation for students are the MRT, buses, and U-bikes, and all of them require an EasyCard, which is very similar to a compass card in Vancouver. The student ID that NTU gives out is an EasyCard. However, places like MRT stations and convenience stores also sell them. The MRT covers major urban areas of Taipei City and New Taipei City. It offers a reliable and comfortable means of transportation, connecting to various destinations such as universities, shopping districts, and popular attractions. Buses are another option, providing access to areas not covered by the MRT and offering flexible routes throughout the city. Additionally, U-bikes, a bike-sharing system that is very convenient in Taiwan, are widely available in many cities, allowing students to enjoy the convenience of cycling for short distances. U-bike is also very useful inside the NTU campus since the bike stations are available throughout the campus, providing students easy access to bicycles when they move around different buildings. Walking from one location to another in NTU usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes; for me, it is very convenient to just bike, saving me a lot of time. 

Preparation Tips for Future Students

The application process for applying to studying abroad can be very challenging and confusing. I recommend contacting friends who have gone on exchange before and asking them if you need help. For me, I got really confused about getting my official acceptance letter because I didn't receive any email even by the end of December 2022, and I know the exchange semester starts in February 2023. Finally, the official acceptance letter arrived at the ISS office on January 3, 2023. Another thing is that NTU will arrange a NTU buddy for each business exchange students. I found that really helpful since you can ask the buddy almost anything and they will try to help you out. For me, I got a bit confused with the course registration process, my buddy helped me a lot with clarifying things.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

At the beginning of the exchange semester, NTU organized a series of events, including orientation and a field trip, to allow exchange students to not only adapt to campus life but also explore Taipei and learn about Taiwanese culture. Business major students have a different orientation date from other major students. On the orientation date, I received my student ID and some small tips on adapting to NTU campus life. I also had the opportunity to connect with fellow exchange students, forming small groups that explored key parts of the campus together, such as the main library, administration building and a wide selection of food courts on campus. For student ID, it acts not only as an EasyCard but also gives NTU students access to the facilities on campus, such as the gym, swimming pool, and library and a 10% discount on nearby convenience stores and restaurants. For the field trip, we got the chance to make traditional pineapple cakes, which was a super exciting experience that was fun and gave us a deeper appreciation for the local cuisine and customs. 

One tip that I would give to future exchange students is to attend orientation and talk to the people around you and make friends. Since everyone is majoring in business, there is a good chance that you will see some of them again in one of your classes. For example, I started a conversation with this Singaporean girl and ended up seeing her again in one of my classes. We end up being in the same group for projects and becoming really good friends throughout the whole semester. 

Accommodation and Living

Due to the limited availability of space in the prince dormitory, I was arranged to stay at Yuantong Dorm during my exchange semester. The dorm is located on the Orange Line (Zhonghe–Xinlu Line) of the Taipei Metro. It takes approximately a 15-minute walk or a 10-minute U-Bike ride to reach Nanshijiao MRT Station. Additionally, the dormitory offers a shuttle bus service that operates between Nanshijiao MRT Station and the dorm, with a frequency of every 20 minutes, making the commute more convenient for students. The dormitory accommodated four people in each room, with a shared bathroom. The cost for the semester was $19,000 NTD, along with a $3,800 deposit that has to be paid on the first week of moving into the dorm. However, it's important to note that the cost did not cover the internet and electricity fees. Unfortunately, the dorm's wifi was extremely unreliable, particularly during nighttime. To overcome this issue, I highly recommend students to obtain an unlimited data SIM card in Taiwan. This way, they can share their mobile data with their laptops and other electronic devices. 

In addition to on-campus dormitories, students also have the option to rent off-campus accommodations. Taipei and its surrounding areas provide many rental options, including apartments and shared houses. Many websites and online platforms specialize in assisting students in finding suitable off-campus rentals, taking into consideration factors such as budget, location, and preferences. NTU will also send an email sharing Facebook groups that can help students find off-campus housing.

Learning and Adaptation

In terms of courses, the university offered a wide range of course selections that allowed me to explore various subjects. In my opinion, the course load for one class at NTU is a lot less compared to SFU. It is considered normal for NTU students to take at least 15 credits per semester, with each course being 2 to 3 credits. Therefore, it is a great opportunity to take some business courses that can be exchanged for SFU credits and other interesting courses. One particular course that stood out for me was "Exploring Taiwan: Natural Environment and Resources," which provided a comprehensive understanding of Taiwan's diverse topics. The course has a different professor for each week's topic. Some topics introduced through this course include the mammals, birds, amphibians found in Taiwan, the fascinating geology of the island, and the rich culture of Taiwanese tea. Some professors' engaging teaching style made the classes even more memorable, such as one professor bringing live snakes to class, which was an incredible experience that definitely left a lasting impression on this course. 

Accomplishments and Challenges

During my exchange in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to learn and grow in many ways. One significant aspect of my personal growth was becoming more independent and confident by adjusting to a new environment. Taiwan is a very different country compared to Canada, particularly with the complex public transportation system consisting of the MRT and buses. At first, the bus system and MRT can be quite confusing. Buses in Taiwan can sometimes arrive either 20 minutes early or 20 minutes late (if you check using google maps), making it challenging to go around the city. However, one useful tip that helped me overcome this issue was downloading the Bus Tracker Taipei app, which provided real-time bus schedules and locations. This app quickly became an essential tool, reducing stress and allowing me to easily explore the city. The MRT system in Taipei has 6 MRT lines and 131 stations, and it often requires changing lines to reach specific destinations. Initially, I found this complexity overwhelming, but with time and practice, I learned how to take both the bus and MRT, which made a significant difference in adapting to the new city and alleviated much of the stress associated with transportation.

One accomplishment in Taiwan is that I became more outgoing and made a lot of new friends. Embracing the opportunity to connect with Taiwanese students and fellow exchange students, I stepped out of my comfort zone and actively sought social interactions. By initiating conversations, joining school events, and planning various trips around Taiwan, I formed meaningful friendships with people from diverse backgrounds. This experience expanded my social circle and helped me develop greater confidence in meeting new people and navigating unfamiliar social settings.


Social and Extracurricular Activities

Yet, it was not solely within the classroom that my exchange experience flourished. The freedom to travel around Taiwan was my favourite part of my exchange semester. Taiwan's diverse landscapes and vibrant cities provided endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. During weekends and breaks, I explored different parts of Taiwan, including Ilan, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Nantou, Xiao Liuqiu and Kenting. With the efficient transportation system, I had the freedom to travel to different corners of Taiwan, including breathtaking national parks, bustling night markets, and stunning coastal areas. These trips allowed me to witness the beauty of Taiwan firsthand, creating memories that will last a lifetime. However, the true highlight of my exchange was the connections I formed with the people I met at NTU. We explored together, enjoyed vibrant night markets, tried delicious food, and supported each other. NTU provided the perfect platform for exploration and self-discovery, and I am forever grateful for the experiences, memories, and friendships I created during my time there.

Reflection & Tips

As my time at NTU draws to a close, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the countless moments of laughter, excitement, and personal development I experienced during my exchange semester. The friendships forged, the cultural immersion, the academic challenges overcome—each component has contributed to my growth as an individual and has left an indelible mark on my undergraduate journey. National Taiwan University and the exchange experience it offers will forever hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of the incredible adventures and cherished memories that will continue to shape my life's path.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

My exchange at National Taiwan University (NTU) proved to be one of the most rewarding decisions I've ever made during my undergraduate studies. Looking back, the past five months went by really fast. I still remember how excited I was on the first day of school, attending orientation and meeting new people. During the exchange semester, I explored various parts of Taiwan, and every weekend and break was a great opportunity to travel around, visiting the unique and fascinating landscape of Taiwan. Beyond travelling, the people I met at NTU made this exchange experience extraordinary. From fellow exchange students to local Taiwanese students, I had the chance to connect with people from different parts of the world. Together, we shared laughter, engaged in cultural exchanges, and supported each other through the ups and downs of studying abroad. Through my exchange in Taiwan, I created so many incredible memories filled with laughter and excitement, making my time at NTU an unforgettable chapter of my life.

Advice for Future Students

  • Get an international driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car since some places can be hard to get to with public transportations.
  • Take the chance to travel around Taiwan and try different local cuisine. For example, Hualien is famous for their mochi, Taitung is famous for their Chishang Bento. 
  • Take the initiative and start conversations with fellow exchange students during orientation since you will likely take classes together. 
  • Make sure to get an EasyCard to take buses, MRT, and U-bike.
  • Explore Night Markets since Taiwan is famous for its night markets. Take the opportunity to visit different night markets and try the famous stinky tofu and Chinese chicken nuggets (鹽酥雞).
  • Taiwan is prone to typhoons during certain months. Stay informed about weather conditions and be prepared for any potential disruptions, especially in the summer time. 
  • Always bring an umbrella due to unpredictable weather patterns and frequent rain showers.
  • FamilyMart Ice-cream flavour change every month! They are all very good so make sure to check it out.