Exchange student : cost of life and accommodation

Hi everyone !
I am an upcoming french student in Hsinchu.
As I will be studying at NCTU for this next fall/spring semester(2018-2019), I am looking for some information about the cost of living in Hsinchu (transportation, food, everyday life, etc)
I am also wondering if it is better to find an accommodation before I come or when I arrive in the city. I will be there around the 6th September (the start of the school year is on 15th September)
If you have any student tips to share, I will be grateful ! Thanks in advance for your response :slight_smile:

Never book anything from abroad, except for a temporary hotel/hostel/airbnb while you look for something permanent.

Never look by yourself. Take a local or more seasoned foreigner. Document everything, do not sign anything you do not understand.

Can you come a little earlier? Most good places are gone by August.

Ask the university for help but generally speaking in housing they can offer dorm and advice, not much. Ther eis an organization called Tsui Mama, NGO, they can help a lot, quite reliable.

Best of luck and welcome.

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Hi thank you for your response.
I am currently searching for a shared appartment, I am in touch with some real estate agent on facebook. I have already found roommates.
It was proposed to me some appartments, but one real estate agent told me that she doesn’t have any photos yet (instead they send me similar appartment, in the same bulding). What do you think about it?
Unfortunatly, I can not be in Hsinchu before september 7th, but my friends will be there at the end of August.

Here’s the budget I was having when I was living there last year:

  • rent: 8000NTD utilities included, in a fancy flat (two Western-style bathrooms, recent A/C, closed community with gym and pool, etc) shared with three other people; you can definitely find cheaper, and don’t hesitate to bargain with the real estate agent, we were able to get 10% off the rent.
  • food: 1500NTD per week cooking myself most of the time and eating out a few times a week at fairly cheap places;
  • fun: 1000-2000NTD per week going to salsa/nightclubs/bars in Taipei, commuting to hikes or visiting the country.
    That’s all on the splurgy side, if you live like a monk you can easily divide all that by two.

If it’s your first time sharing an apartment be prepared for things to go south, most of the cohabitations I’ve known from NCTU/NTHU students ended up having problems. Most of them are rich kids who’ve never lived alone nor abroad, used to somebody else wiping their ass, they come to Taiwan looking down on local people, complaining about everything and thinking they’re above any rules and law. (I’m done letting steam off lol)
Just make sure to know what is important to you in a cohabitation (personally: a clean kitchen and bathroom, roomies mindful of their music, and the possibility to bring a girl home every now and then), and if you have doubts your future roomies are gonna give you that, look for somebody else.

How long are you gonna stay? If it’s at least a year, I know a good real estate agent who speaks English.

And I support Icon’s statement, never agree or sign anything without having seen the place.

Hi Baxter,
Thank you for all of those precisions.
I will stay 9 months in Hsinchu, from September 2018 to the end of June 2019.
It was asked to pay a 1 month caution rent to reserve an appartment for a vist.
We don’t want to get fooled …
We are just worry to have no home to stay when we will arrive in the town. Do you really think we can bargain the rent, even in August ?

it might not be the best room, but there will be a room for you when you will arrive. @Icon’s advice is very true.

if you are looking for a shared house/room, look for a facebook group of students who are looking for roommates. It is better you find someone who are already in Taiwan (locals are better if learning Chinese is an important part of your stay), so that you can get help from them in your starting-up period.

Yes I guess so.
I am already in this kind of facebook group ! :slight_smile:
Do you think we can not trust what real estate is saying ? What if we ask for a pre-contract, maybe it could be more secured ? Are you both in Hsinchu ?

Here’s what I did: I found roommates through facebook before coming here. We all got here, did couchsurfing/stayed in cheap hotels for a week, looking for a room meanwhile. Visited three very decent apartments, and got to make a choice. I wouldn’t worry about not having a room, I get the feeling Taiwan’s got waaay too many new empty buildings (wtf is up with that anyway? you walk through areas full of tall buildings and nobody in the streets).

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Yeah Hsinchu is the home of empty apartment buildings. There’s more pressure on space in the golden area of Jinshan Street while on the other side of the science park there’s four bedroom apartments going for 10,000 a month, but you’d need a scooter there.

Don’t stress about landing with a place ready to go. Worst case scenario there’s a ton of cheap hotels around the railway station.

you can trust anyone if you want, but I would not sign anything before I look the room by myself. A pre-contract could be worse, if you will not like the room and need to break the contract.

If you are in a facebook group, aren’t there anyone who are looking for someone take over their current rooms after they leave?

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There are too many scams. Offering you an aprtment without photos? Bad
Booking something sight unseen? Worse.
Wait for your friends to settle in. Book an Airbnb while you look around, or a hostel.

You want something clos eto school, within biking distance.

I do not recommend scooters for newbies. We have had too many deaths among foreign students. Bus is Okish to bad in Hsinchu so a bicycle would be better for daily commute, walking better.

Got friends there, working mostly. They like it, there are amenities and such. Not too expensive. Taiwan has teh addvantage that there are a range of things for all budgets. Example: you have cheap fake steak… and then teh real stuff for 400 to 1000 to 10k. our choice. same with apartments and anything else.

Do not rush.

One more vote for Tsui Mama:

Out of curiosity, how much is the agent charging/offering?

NO NO and NO

Why are you going to “secure” a place you have not seen?

Please tell us what the agent is saying? Rule of thumb is you cannot trust them, especially in English. But just to settle the record straight, what are they saying? Is it the old “best places are booked befre the semester starts?” If they are delaing with students, they know they have a budget.

No one “secures” anything here.

Look, the only provision we have is that when you sign for an apartment, you give a two month deposit. TWO. By law, it cannot be 3 or more. NEVER.

I would’t pay more than 8k for a nice room in Hsinchu. Heck, I could get a whole apartment for that.

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Taipei -the most expensive area in Taiwan- has over 30% empty apartments. Most are bought as investment and/or to get household registration in an area wher there are “famous” schools.

I always thought it was a consequence of 黑金, considering the big brothers history of meddling with public construction funds, influencing the bidding process, and taking a cut. More buildings, more money.

That’s more borne out in infrastructure projects. Roads with fantastic drainage leading nowhere. Beautiful bridges crossing rivers and then the road ending 100 meters later. New Taipei is full of those little money spinners.

Please tell us what the agent is saying? Rule of thumb is you cannot trust them, especially in English. But just to settle the record straight, what are they saying?

It was said that if we are interrested, a room could be keep for us. However il could be unavaible when we arrive. We have to do “a reservation deposit” which is a 1 month rent ; it that way the room belong to us and nobody else.

Next, it is required an ID document, an admission letter from the university and a guarantee desposit (2 months rent, the 1st one will be the “reservation deposit” we’ve transferred before our arrival)

Methinks it’s just a case of the agent covering his own butt. What we did when we were looking for roommates is to ask for the candidates who had agreed to live with us (after they’ve seen videos/photos of the place) to send us the two-months deposit, so as to make sure they’d rent. We got a couple of guys who said “I’m in” and never followed up.

Honestly if you already got roomies, I wouldn’t reserve anything until you get here. Like I said above, plenty of empty rooms in Hsinchu. No reason to worry about arriving and not finding anything.

Yes, but as said before: never rent from abroad, never rent immediately.

One mroe detail: do not rent a place with shared meter for electricity. Too much trouble, most people get scammed out of thousands of NTs.

As said once more: there are options, this is not the only room in teh world and you will not end up sleeping on teh groud.

Do not rent without witnesses and bring a local or old hand. Take pictures/video of everything as you find it. Please remember ciobntracts in English may not be valid, or at least not as valid as tyeh one in Chinese.

Thank you. Do you know a real estate agent with who I can get in touch with ? I am currently discussing with 2 for some visits.

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