National Taiwan University vs College in the US


#1

Hello, I’ve been living in Taiwan for a year now studying mandarin, and i would like to go to college next year for undergrad. I was wondering if anyone with some knowledge of National Taiwan Univeristy could help me, as it seems that the internet is somewhat lacking in this topic.

I was wondering specifically about the quality of education in the technology/engineering fields, that is, are the professors here any good at teaching or is it just more of “Taiwanese High School” where they lecture you and give you a new test every day. Does anyone have any insight on how this would compare to college in the US, as I am also considering attending a University there.

Another important factor to me is whether or not staff would be supportive outside of the classroom and encourage extra learning. I’ve heard many teachers here don’t take disagreement very lightly, is this still true of professors in these fields at NTU?

I find that it’s difficult to find good insight into this online, specifically regarding more technology oriented fields at this school. Additionally, my mandarin level at this point is up to par to be able to attend University in Chinese, so I assume that would help me to receive a better education overall. Is this at all accurate?

Any help would be appreciated, if you would like any more clarification, just ask!


#2

i can’t tell you how it is to study at ntu, even less compare it us colleges. but my guess is that the top universities here, like tsing hua, chiao tung and ntu have rather high standards, especially in the fields of engineering.

don’t forget, it’s “just” a bachelor’s degree, so it’s more or less the basics that they teach and the basics are almost everywhere the same. it’s how they teach it that differs from uni to uni and how much extra effort they are willing/able to invest into each student. college here is cheap and the top unis are quite selective, i can’t imagine that they will offer undergrads much tutoring or assisting.

but the knowledge you receive is probably the same as in every good us uni. i know of many taiwanese who studied here for a bachelor that later went on to really prestigious unis abroad for their masters.

if you can afford it and like to have additional support, then a us college is probably better for you. if you like to be challenged language and cultural-wise than(and save some money), than a top tw uni would imo be a good option for you. if you’re a smart guy and have the grades, you can always go back to the us for further studies.


#3

taida is very good and is well respected globally for their undergrads especially for tech. top students in CS and EE usually go to US graduate schools (which are the best in the world for these fields). i knew a bunch of taida, qinghua, and jiaotong graduates when i was in grad school and they were generally very educated, their biggest weakness being english proficiency.

here’s the rub - you need to do really well and get into research relationships with your professors. i met a group of taida people at the top research conference in my area (they had published a paper, 1 taida grad student lead, and shockingly 2 undergraduates as secondaries). the undergrad girl really got into research and was already an author on two publications cuz she was really aggressive about this. we tried to poach her to come to our program for her phd (which was top 15 but not top unfortunately) - she was interested up until the point that she got an offer from MIT. she actually got accepted for every phd program (inc stanford, uc berk, etc).

almost all the professors at taida (for tech at least) will have graduated from US grad schools by the way, so don’t worry about this being “taiwan high school x 2”. however, and this is true for most programs, what you get out of it is what you put into it, so don’t depend on being babysat. you need to be self-motivated yourself.


#4

Quality of teaching varies a lot depending on individual faculty. That said, classmates will have more influence on you- in many aspects, explicitly and subtly.

STEM students at NTU are among the best globally compared. Their honor students have been accepted to graduate schools among top 10 US universities.

Not much. NTU is for self-motivated students. But many STEM professors have close industry connection.

Just go to their engineering schools and see if you can find any faculty to talk to. Also grab any students there asking them questions.

Yes


#5

I could see the culture being different though, which might get you into trouble. For instance, in the US your degree would be half gen ed and half major courses, whereas Taida it’s probably all engineering with nothing else. I also don’t know study groups/exams/ projects/labs work or how grades are assessed. Similarly, internship opportunities and practical experience will be different here. The biggest danger for me in Taiwan is always the “obvious things I should know but don’t.”

Some of this probably also depends on your Chinese level. I know someone who went to Taida and she said lectures were in Chinese but the books were in English. I have no idea how she did assignments, etc.


#6

As a matter of fact, campus culture at Taida is similar sufficiently to US state universities. Many electives are offered. Even in the US it depends on universities. Top engineering programs have very heavy load of major courses.

However, Taida is lack of one thing that all US colleges are prone to: charging excessive tuition in order to hire many many ‘helpers’. Of course, students are taken care of very well at US universities because they pay the premium price.


#7

A few abnomalities about current-days US universities:

  • left liberalism dominance
  • unacademic students via diversity admission.
  • fat bureaucracy
  • 3 big addictions: alcohol, drug, and sex
  • student loan

[as corrupt as church 500 years ago


#8

I’d advise against bachelors in NTU, especially in Engineering. It will be an immense competitive pressure with strong cultural scent. In the first year of undergrad they have courses like “Service Learning”, where you will mop the floor or do similar “socially responsible” things. Yes, many teachers still follow the model “I say “O” and you say “bey””, however, the situations is slowly changing. In NTU, practically every professor will have a degree from abroad (mostly US), but it’s hilarious how quickly they change back to “Taiwanese” way after they return here. Openly disagreeing with professor is a taboo.
Focus of the education is still on “memorizing stuff” like in the school system, in huge bunch of the courses. Also, NTU engineering is HARD, you will not want extra learning on top of that. More like “what hobbies should be sacrificed to stay competitive in this rat race” stuff.

So in general, US would be better in many aspects as “quality of time spent and overall value of the degree”, except the price, of course. NTU degree will not end you with an enormous student debt after you finish. However, outside of Taiwan Taiwanese degree is not very valuable, even NTU one, but you still can “overwrite” it with Masters from the country you’ll want to stay in in the end.


#9

it sounds bad (and it actually feels like tw high school again) but it’s only a couple of hours for an entire semester. if you’re serious about your studies, that shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. plus, there are other duties as well, delivering mail on campus and such.

i guess there’s a reason why they returned. couldn’t cope with the western way of life, no career opportunities there, miss the old country/family. i know what you mean, i’ve seen it. but i’ve also seen cool professors here who try to make a difference. though i’d say they are the minority. i think many profs mean well, they want their students to put in that extra effort by being super though to them but don’t realize that it could easily go the other way.

imo that’s a good thing. we’re talking about ntu here, the no.1 uni in taiwan. it should be hard, selective and competitive. i’m not saying every uni should be like this, no way. but we’re talking about the top 2% students here and they should be challenged.
there are already too many unis here with almost no standards. don’t lower the standards for the elite unis just because there are less students.

i’d agree with that. if you have the opportunity, get a masters from a decent uni abroad.


#10

If you’re a big Thiel fan, then why go to college? Isn’t he one of the ones who thinks you should just be an entrepreneur and that education is a waste of time?

I’m just saying that “university” is a different experience and it’s worth knowing what that means. For instance, in the humanities in the US I went to a liberal arts college and we were writing intensive with almost no tests. I loved that way of learning and it made later studies easier for me. If I were in a testing-intensive system it would drive me bonkers.

NTU is a great university. Foreigners can and do go there, studying primarily in English, but it probably requires a particular temperament and there are some risks.