Tu/e Exchange Program
The first month living in a different country was hard, the language, the people, the food, the climate, I needed to get used to a lot of different things.
The Nature in Taiwan is absolutely amazing! https://bikehiketaipei.wordpress.com/, lists a lot of great hike and cycling trips with a good description of how to walk, since the Chinese signs can be very confusing. Climbing the teapot mountain and cycling around Sun Moon Lake (pictured at sunrise in the topleft picture) were my favourites. And of course celebrating Christmas with a whole group of internationals in Kenting on the beach and in the sun! Check Beitou for hot springs and the various cultural parks around Taipei for cute Taiwanese souvenirs.
There are about ten different night markets which all are offering good food and cheap cloths, gadgets, you name it. Try rice-bloodcakes, leek pancakes, stinky tofu, pineapple cake, beef- noodles, bubble tea (the real!) and pick-and-fry noodles and maybe also banana-leaf packed rice. And iced jelly desserts, the Taiwanese love it...I did not so much hahaha.
Anyways, try out as much food as you can during your stay, preferable with a local to explain the menu.
For Industrial Design students: don’t go here wanting to follow certain subjects, because it might just be that they don’t actually teach it in the semester you arrive although the site said they do. Another thing to keep in mind is; go here if you’re up for a challenge. All courses are taught in Chinese and if you are super lucky and happen to speak this, then well no problem. For me however, it was a little hard in the beginning. For the master courses most teachers can speak English and the powerpoints shown are in English. Other than that make sure you meet students that can help you translate what happens during the lectures. In Taiwan they work with credits, a course is normally 2 or 3 credits, if you multiply this by two you will get the amount of ECTS. So, after a semester you should end up with 15 credits. My tip: try to put more classes in one day, so that you have a longer weekend. In the end it is of course nice to see some more of the island. Also, the first two weeks are for trying out courses, so go to as many courses as you can the first two weeks and after that period pick your final choice.
Looking back, I had an amazing time there. For me it was a good trial to see if I would be able to do my master in a foreign country, which I would prefer. I miss the food already, I eat a lot more rice now than before the exchange, and the super kind people.
I think the course I learned most from was basic photography, taught by a brilliant teacher that didn't speak a word of English, I now how to take night pictures now, or nomal light all in the manual setting. Also the use of a professional photostudio and an external flash.
The other course I found really amazing was a master course on Design Research. I got to write two papers and learn how to use SPSS.
And then there was Japanese Buisiness, I even had to do a presentation in Japanese. I thought the lectures would be about the formalities when doing business, not the language. So, this course was way above my level. Although I learned hiragana and katakana, the two Japanese alphabeths.