Welcome to Taiwan
At CET, our goal is to make study abroad accessible for all. We believe that learning happens best when your class reflects the world around us—complex and diverse. So we work hard to create and maintain programs that support students of all races, religions, abilities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. No matter where you are coming from, we want you to have the chance to enjoy study abroad.
CET makes every effort to offer accommodations comparable to those of your home institution. Disclosing early helps us to make proper preparations and work with you to determine if a program will be a good fit. We recommend that you use the following details to inform your decisions and conversations with your Student Services Coordinator.
Race & Ethnicity
Taiwan is very welcoming towards foreigners, and past students have found locals to be friendly and eager to assist in any way they can. Some locals may express curiosity in perceived differences, and students may be asked questions about themselves or topics that are not regularly asked about or discussed in the US. As a country, Taiwan is an open, diverse, and democratic country with ideals of equality under law. Students can find community groups to join at National Taiwan University (the program’s host university) or even within Taipei at large.
Taiwan was the first place in East Asia to legalize gay marriage and in general is very open to LGBTQ issues and individuals. As with any country, there may be more resistant or conservative pockets of society, but Taiwan has a lot of resources to support the LGBTQ community. Younger people are especially understanding, or at the very least, accepting.
Generally speaking, Taiwan takes a liberal stance towards gender norms and roles. While it’s possible for students to run into more conservative mindsets, both women and gender diverse individuals are respected in the local community. Taipei is considered to be an extremely safe city, and people often feel comfortable expressing their gender identities in public.
Freedom of religion is protected under Taiwanese law. Churches, temples, mosques, and meditation centers are very accessible. Religious students can expect to practice their faiths while abroad in Taiwan, and can be given excused absences for religious holidays with advanced notice to on-site staff.
Cost of Living
The day-to-day cost of living in Taipei is generally cheaper than that of most places in the United States, as food and transportation are often more affordable. Past students have mentioned that establishing and adhering to a budget at the beginning of the term was a strategy that helped manage any financial stress. Check out a budget sheet to get an idea of what life in Taiwan might look like financially for a semester or summer.
ACCESS in ACADEMICS
Students typically attend classes for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. For every hour of class, students are expected to complete a minimum of 1 hour of homework.
Services available to students with documented need: extra time on exams; modified deadlines; preferential seating in class.
The classrooms and on-site staff offices are housed in the same wheelchair-accessible building on the National Taiwan University campus. By law, all schools, public spaces, and buildings are required to be wheelchair accessible.
CET occasionally plans mandatory academic activities and optional trips to nearby sites and other cities after class and on weekends. Excursions may involve urban walking, rural hiking, use of public transportation, and/or going up and down stairs.
Itinerary modifications and accommodations can be made for students with documented need. Transportation can be arranged as necessary, and excused absences are provided for mandatory excursions that are inaccessible due to a disability.
ACCESS IN HOUSING
Your Home Abroad
The apartments are located a 5- to 10-minute walk from the NTU campus, where classes are held. The neighborhood has multiple convenience stores, restaurants, dessert and tea shops, and a grocery store within walking distance. The area also boasts excellent access via both bus and MRT (metro). Wheelchair-accessible housing may be accommodated if requested far in advance.
Students are typically assigned to apartments according to their housing preference form. Apartment configurations vary but can include mix-gender and same-gender setups. Rooms within the apartment are same-gender. The form also includes questions to help accommodate the needs of gender diverse students.
Rooms are typically shared, but a single room in a shared apartment may be available for students with documented need if requested in advance.
By law, public spaces and buildings are required to be accessible by wheelchair. The subway, high speed rail, and many buses are equipped with facilities to aid passengers with mobility issues. The subway system has elevators and many streets around Taipei offer curb cuts.
Health & Diet
Health & Medicine
There are a variety of health facilities available to students in Taiwan, including many English-service options. During orientation, on-site staff provide students with basic information and recommendations for seeing a doctor and buying medicine. All prescription drugs need to be declared when entering the country, and must be presented with a doctor’s note. There are some prescription medications that are not accessible in Taiwan—students should do their research beforehand and ensure they bring enough for the entire term if in-country refills won’t be possible.
Keeping Fit in Taipei
Our host university, National Taiwan University (NTU), has excellent gym facilities that CET students have access to with their student card. Among these are indoor and outdoor pools, weightlifting equipment, squash courts, and a track and field. Certain facilities may have an additional fee to access. There are also countless clubs available on campus that students can join, including basketball, soccer, Frisbee, etc.
Managing Mental Health
Students seeking mental health services are referred to “The Center,” which has US-trained, English-speaking counselors. They offer strict patient confidentiality, medication (after a psychiatric exam), and a 24/7 after-hours crisis line.
Due to strong Buddhist influences, Taiwan has a large vegetarian population. There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants throughout Taipei, many of which offer vegan-friendly fare. Students with very strict dietary restrictions or allergies also have the option to cook at home.
Resources from Alumni
These are alumni-written essays that reflect upon how their own identity affected their time abroad (both good and bad) and what it was like to navigate another culture in their position. We encourage you to read these to better understand what studying abroad in Taiwan could be like for you or your future peers.
- There are no Perspective Pieces for CET Taiwan yet. Interested in writing about your experience in Taipei? Tell us about your time abroad.
This is a curated list of blog posts chosen specifically to provide context for life abroad. Posts here may cover culture shock, diversity, daily life and workload, etc. To see all posts from students in Taiwan, head to the Student Voices blog.
- CET Taiwan: A Day in the Life
By Sarah Phipps, UNC Chapel Hill | Fall 2018
- Taiwan Do’s and Don’ts for Dummies
By Tracy Fu, George Washington University | Summer 2019
- Living on an Island Filled with Pig | Eating in Taiwan with dietary restrictions
By Kate Ross, Brandeis University | Spring 2019
- Relying on Yourself, Your Friends, and Your Teachers While Abroad
By Sarah Phipps, UNC Chapel Hill | Fall 2018
- Arrival in Taipei: What You Should Do First
By Nikole Nguyen, UNC Chapel Hill | Summer 2018
- Outside My Comfort Zone in Taiwan
By Zoe Maalouf, University of Puget Sound | Summer 2018
TALK TO ALUMNI
Chat with alumni about their experiences abroad. Once you start an application, your online CET account will give you access to the following resources:
- Alumni Support List: A directory of students who have volunteered to chat about their experiences abroad in Taiwan.
- Identity Abroad Support Network: A group of students who have volunteered to discuss their identity-related experiences in Taiwan. This is a volunteer-based program that started in 2019. Volunteers can also opt to have their contact information kept privately by CET staff and only shared when certain lived experiences are asked about.
Don’t see anyone listed for the Identity Abroad Support Network? Call CET for more information and resources. Consider joining after your program to support other minority students abroad.