Studying at NCTU and living in Hsinchu

Hey guys,

I spent this last summer doing the intensive Chinese language program at National Taiwan University. It was a great experience and made me really enjoy Taiwan and learning Chinese.

I am a university Computer Science student in the U.S. and did not forsee any soon return to Taiwan, but my university recently offered a program to study at NCTU ( According to my university’s brochure, only a number of ECE (Electrical and Computer Engineering) courses are offered in English each semester. I have finished all my ECE requirements and would have to take Computer Science courses instead. Does anyone know if NCTU offers any Computer Science courses in English, or if I would be able to handle them given my limited Chinese experience (3 semesters at university & 1 intensive summer program).

Also, how does NCTU match up with other universities? How do you rate Hsinchu as a city to live in for a foreigner? And are Taiwanese university students inclusive or nice to an odd-ball foreigner in their classes?


Hey Torper :slight_smile:

I don’t know about the universities here in Xinzhu (or Taiwan for that matter) but I can give you some info about what it’s like to live here, even though I’ve only been here about 2 weeks.

  • There’s a sizeable expat community living here who are mostly engineers from the Science Park and/or English teachers. But you’ll obviously see fewer foreigners here than Taipei.

  • Nightlife is a bit limited to drinking and eating from what I have heard. I haven’t had much of a chance to try the nightlife out much but my partner has spent 6 months here prior to my arrival and he’s felt a little bored with the place.

  • Shops…plenty of them and there are a few large malls and department stores around the city (Sogo, Windance and Mega). However, I’ve found these a little over-rated and tend to visit Windance only for the Jusco supermarket in its basement. There are also a number of day and night markets so try exploring the city by foot a bit as you’ll be more likely to come across them that way! :slight_smile:

  • Food is generally good and there’s quite a bit of variety. Fast food, as always, is well represented and you can find quite a few restaurants serving ‘Western’ food in places like Windance and the Science Park Area. Personally, I would recommend trying smaller eateries as these are quite a bit cheaper and the food is often more delicious.

  • Cultural stuff is a little limited in my personal opinion. There are quite a few temples dotted around the city and outskirts as well as a few parks and lakes to spend some time at and a couple of museums but, on the whole, it can all be seen within a few days. I’m desperate to find something like art/calligraphy classes here to keep me occupied as I’m not much of a drinker or shopper. :frowning:

Basically, to sum it all up, Hsinchu is an OK place but it’s best you find some hobbies or clubs to join as it might get a little dull after a bit. On the plus side, things are slightly cheaper here than in Taipei and it’s quite a central location if you want to travel around. And the seaside is not too far away. :sunglasses:

if u are into exercising and playing sports, i heard that the on campus volleyball team is pretty easy to jump into. i’m assuming the basketball courts are always busy as well, however i havent had the opportunity to do either as of yet.

typically i get off work around 8, then go home and shower and watch some tv. occassionally i’ll get bored and desperate and call my cousins in tainan, but that made my phone bill up to NT$2000 last month, so i’m trying to avoid a repeat.

what do you guys typically do?

I have been in Jubei for 3 months and work in Hsinchu. During the week I bike to work about 10km each way. After work maybe two nights I go ot with my coworkers- Taiwanese a beer or two and good food. Otherwise- same shower, DVD, e-mail US, sleep. Weekend I bike into the mountains. The air is clearer, I stumble across many intersting places and the people get a kick ouot of my chinese and we have a good time.

Occassionally I go to Taipei but the train back in the evening is tough.

Ok cool. Thanks. Sounds kind of like what I had envisioned it to be.

Just hearing the little tidbits makes me miss Taiwan. I definitely would like to return soon!

Has anyone had any experience studying in a university in Taiwan (other than like Chinese language programs)? I’m curious to see how you liked it, whether you thought it was difficult, and if there was any large language barrier.