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This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Pre-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Center Abroad
A local faculty member, who serves as the UCEAP Liaison Professor, administers UCEAP programs at National Taiwan University along with a coordinator. They advise students on academic matters, provide information on cultural events, assist with program logistics, and offer support with personal matters.
Ms. Margaret Wang
Office of International Affairs
National Taiwan University
Room 420, 4th floor, 2nd Admin Building
No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 10617, TAIWAN
Phone: (+886-2) 3366-2007, ext. 226
Emergency cell phone: (+886)-978-900-096
Emergency Line to Campus Security: (+886-2) 3366-9119 or (+886-2) 3366-9110
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Taiwan country code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 886
Taipei city code. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02
Approximate Time Difference
National Taiwan University (NTU) provides courses in certain fields taught in English or, for qualified students, taught in Chinese. You may not take NTU freshman courses or NTU courses that are not approved by the UCEAP Study Center.
Chinese language study is available from upper beginning to advanced levels.
If you have the language ability, prerequisites, and the permission of the instructor, you may take courses taught in Chinese (traditional characters)— including advanced Chinese language and literature. Confer with the course instructors to determine if your language skills and command of the terminology of the subject—in Chinese—are adequate to succeed in the courses. If you take courses taught in Chinese, you are required to write your exams and papers in Chinese and must be able to use specialized terminology in Chinese. Lectures and assignments in Chinese may be more difficult than anticipated.
- Full-time course of study while on UCEAP; minimum of 21 UC quarter/14 UC semester units each semester
- Language placement exam if you intend to take either Chinese language courses or courses taught in Chinese
- Maximum of 1/3rd (33%) of your units on the pass/no pass grading option. This is done in MyEAP only.
Sample MyEAP Study Lists
UC quarter units for the NTU program are based on contact time, for example a course that meets for 3 hours per week over the 17 week semester will be 5 UC quarter units. A course that meets for 2 hours per week over the semester will be 3.5 UC quarter units. The units are not based on the NTU credits; however, most NTU courses that are awarded 2 NTU credits are usually 3.5 UC quarter units and courses that are 3 NTU credits will usually be 5 UC quarter units.
Courses that meet for fewer weeks will have units reduced to reflect less contact time. Courses with lab components will have additional units based on lab hours. Lab hours are not calculated at the same rate as lecture or seminar hours.
National Taiwan University does not enforce a maximum number of courses or units. Past UCEAP participants have successfully completed as much as 30 quarter/20 semester UC units in a semester in this program.
Attendance is mandatory for all classes; more than three absences will result in a lower grade or the withholding of credit altogether.
You may not make arrangements for early exams or other means of completion of coursework before the official end of the regular NTU semester.
The academic environment is mature, open-minded, and diverse. Only the best students in Taiwan have the opportunity to study at NTU. They are generally more mature than UC students and are more advanced in their chosen fields.
The Taiwanese sense of academic discipline is strong. Students are expected to attend all class sessions fully prepared. Traditional Taiwanese relations between student and teacher are based on implicit respect for the teacher by the student and a strong acceptance of responsibility by the teacher toward the student. The position of a university professor is prestigious and students defer regardless of their own personal opinion of an instructor. Most faculty members hold doctoral degrees, and lectures by well-known international scholars are a regular feature of the curriculum.
You are urged to demonstrate a high degree of cultural sensitivity and to avoid inappropriate behavior toward professors, which could cause misunderstandings and negative attitudes toward you as well as toward the University of California. Take any disagreement or disappointment about course content or load, format of exams, assignments, grades, or any other academic matter to the UCEAP Liaison Professor or Program Coordinator, not to the instructor.
Plan to give serious attention to your academic purpose for going to Taiwan. If you take a job, travel when classes are in session, or miss or try to manipulate classes for personal reasons, you will be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal from the program.
UCEAP students at NTU take a wide variety of courses. Many take Chinese language study (10 UC quarter units) and three or four NTU courses. Course units will vary from course to course.
More courses are being entirely taught in English; however, the majority of courses at NTU are taught in Chinese. You will need to search the NTU website for appropriate courses depending on your language ability.
NTU offers a series of Exploring Taiwan courses for international students that discuss such topics as natural resources and the environment; culture and society; film and social culture in Taiwan; religion; architecture; literature; and music.
Course material is likely to be less structured and less clearly outlined than material presented in UC courses. Professors usually do not provide detailed syllabi with specific reading assignments and course expectations during the first week of class.
Courses are usually in lecture format, though oral presentations by students are also common. Classes generally offer fewer opportunities for classroom participation than UC courses. Although classroom practices vary depending on the professor, there is usually less discussion than you would find in UC classes.
NTU Course Catalog
See the NTU website
for a guide on how to search for course information. The NTU Course Catalog provides course descriptions in English or Chinese.
Reading the NTU Course Catalog
- The curriculum numbers are 4-digit numbers with abbreviated department names. The first digit indicates the target students:
- Course Title - click on the course title to view the syllabus. The amount of information provided varies.
- Limits on course adding/dropping will indicate if a course has special limitations.
- Remarks may note the language of instruction.
Chinese (Mandarin) language is taught using traditional characters in Taiwan. You may take one General Chinese language course (10 quarter/6 semester UC units) per semester. The course meets for six (6) hours per week for 17 weeks. There is also a Chinese tutorial language course offered each semester for beginning and intermediate students that meets for an additional 4 hours per week.
Registering for NTU Courses
The course list for fall is available in August and the course list for spring in January. Online course registration begins two to three weeks prior to the start of the semester. We suggest students make a preliminary plan based on previous courses offered and adjust the plan when the course list is available.
You will receive NTU course registration instructions approximately two to three weeks prior to the start of your program. There are two online course selection periods prior to the start of your program as well as an add/drop period after arrival. The final course registration process is completed after the orientation program in Taiwan.
NTU course registration procedures require patience and determination, as they are not the same as those used at UC.
You may sit in on all the NTU classes you are interested in during the first two weeks of the semester (add/drop period) to find out if you can fully comprehend the language as well as the course content. When you submit your course selection form required by NTU, the Study Center staff will review it and, if needed, the Liaison Professor will consult with you to ensure that you can keep up with the classes before finalizing your study list.
- You must take all exams at the host university.
- The exam schedule is not flexible.
Arrangements for early exams are not allowed. Unless there is an emergency situation, such as an extreme health situation, a safety or security threat, or closure of the university, you may not take final exams in the US or leave the program before completing final assessments.
Generally there is one midterm exam and one final exam, or only a final exam. Many instructors do not give quizzes or homework, but language courses do require considerable homework. Some courses require term papers, presentations, or group work. Regular attendance is also required. Absences can result in lower grades.
If you have concerns about test scores and grades, discuss them only with the UCEAP Liaison Professor or Program Coordinator—never with the professor of an individual course. Students in Taiwan do not discuss their grades with their professors because professors may take offense at such behavior.
Fall grades are not usually available until late February or mid March due to the NTU calendar and Chinese New Year holidays. Spring grades are usually available in early August.
Early grades are not possible.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Independent study, called a UCEAP Special Study Project, can enrich your experience in Taiwan with research or an internship. Independent study may count as one of your courses.
Internships are under the general direction of the UCEAP Liaison Professor and the supervision of a local faculty member or other qualified professional on-site of the organization. Internships and projects are usually 4 to 6 UC quarter units depending on the type and amount of work involved.
Prior to departure you will need to explore possible internships and prepare your résumé.
National Taiwan University also offers a lower-division service learning course
that provides an opportunity for international students (UCEAP) and local students to work with kids from (mostly countryside) schools all over Taiwan. The program contains both weekly Skyping (40 minutes; fitted to the availability of the students) and fully-sponsored field trips for meetups at the schools. Each international student will be paired up with a local student who will assist with the preparation and translation.
Additional information is provided in an on-site orientation session after arrival.
See the Internships
page on the UCEAP website for additional information.
Extending UCEAP Participation
You are encouraged to extend your program with UCEAP at any time. Discuss the possibility of extension with the NTU Office of International Affairs and refer to our Extension Chapter in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
If you extend your participation, remember to extend your visa prior to your original visa expiration date.
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely Planet
are excellent resources. You will also need to understand the local culture and history and keep up with current events. These sources should help you prepare before departure.
Recommended Viewing and Listening
Vecchione, Judith (Executive Producer) Tug of War: The Story of Taiwan, 2000 (Video).
Yuan-kai, Bao Sketches of Yunan, Label: HUGO, June 2000 (CD).
In Taiwan, books printed in English are plentiful but can be expensive. The American Cultural Center of the American Institute in Taiwan has a lending library of more than 15,000 volumes and a respectable collection of American newspapers and journals, including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Taiwanese culture is undergoing rapid change that can be seen in activities of the younger generation. However, the more durable traditions include veneration of the elderly and propriety. You may witness behaviors that would be considered discriminatory in the U.S., but are considered acceptable in Taiwanese society. Try to observe such behaviors impartially to avoid applying U.S. standards and expectations to the Taiwanese in their own culture.
Social conduct in Taiwan is regulated by custom. For example, they have a distinct sense of what is proper to discuss. The Taiwanese will also ask personal questions, merely out of curiosity. Do not take it as an insult. If you do not feel comfortable answering questions, politely sidestep them.
In Taiwan, American frankness can be interpreted as rude. While UCEAP students may not be aware of their own rudeness or cultural blunder, the Taiwanese will notice both. If they are affected by the offensive behavior, they simply avoid the offender in the future. Avoid showing anger, as this is considered culturally insensitive in Taiwan and would result in “losing face.”
The Taiwanese are a group-oriented society. Whereas the West emphasizes individualism, Taiwanese activities are often outgrowths of some group, family, profession, school, or community.
Drugs & Alcohol
The Taiwanese government deals harshly with foreign students who are caught in possession of drugs. Your status as a foreign citizen does not provide exemption from Taiwanese penalties for the possession and use of drugs. Drug laws in Taiwan are extremely severe and involvement with drugs is treated as a serious offense.
Never feel pressured to drink alcoholic beverages. Being under the influence of alcohol is the single biggest risk to your safety while here, as it can lead you to make poor decisions. Local staff can help you devise polite and friendly ways to avoid drinking without losing the camaraderie associated with it.
Although drug use is extremely low, alcohol use is greatly tolerated. It is common to see intoxicated people in late-night trains and at stations. If you are of legal age, use your judgment and never display intoxicated behavior in public places. Students who abuse alcohol, behave in a disorderly manner, or cause problems for housing authorities or the host university will face disciplinary action by UCEAP.
Improve Your Language Skills
The more standard (Mandarin) Chinese you know before departure for Taiwan, the more rewarding your time abroad will be. Prior to departure, work to improve your written and spoken Chinese.
The following are good ways to prepare:
- Read aloud (anything in Chinese) for 20 minutes at a time. Strive for correct pronunciation.
- Read Chinese newspapers and magazines, using a dictionary as necessary.
- Search the Internet and read Taiwanese websites in Chinese.
- Listen to Chinese language CDs.
- Seek out people fluent in Chinese for conversations and vocabulary practice.
- Keep a journal of Chinese phrases, expressions, whole sentences, and structures that you would like to add to your vocabulary.
- Practice Chinese aloud. Use phrases picked up from conversation and reading.
- Practice reading and writing traditional complex characters (used in Taiwan).
- Use a Chinese language computer or video game.
- Watch Chinese movies. Watch once with the subtitles, then turn the subtitles off and watch again. Focus on movies in contemporary settings rather than historical dramas.
- Read two books in Chinese, one fiction and one non-fiction.
- Read a book in Chinese in your major.
- Practice writing about your major field and other interests in Chinese.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Official UCEAP Start Date
Do not plan to travel outside of the U.S. after finals at UC and before the program begins. Each year, the host universities send acceptance letters and visa documents on different dates, sometimes only a short time before the program’s Official Start Date. You need to be in the U.S. to receive the materials.
Travel to the Host University
The dates of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges incurred for independent travel arrangements.
In order to keep informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes to your contact information.
Failure to arrive before the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program. More detailed arrival information and directions to the check-in point are provided in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist online.
If you plan to arrive in Taiwan early you will need to make your own hotel reservations. UCEAP cannot make arrangements for you to move into the dormitory earlier than the established move-in date.
Not all taxi drivers are familiar with the campus residences. Look up the location of your destination ahead of time. Provide the driver with the address of your housing assignment and have a campus map with you to show the driver exactly where you want to go.
After arrival you will participate in mandatory on-site orientations organized by your host university that cover a variety of topics. Orientations vary by location, but most include a welcome dinner, lunch, or other get-together and various outings to the local neighborhoods.
The orientations cover such topics as:
- Deadlines for course changes
- Health and safety
- Campus tour
- Culture shock
You will also have the opportunity to meet other exchange students, international degree students, and volunteer students.
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
There is no UCEAP group flight to Taiwan. You are responsible for making your own flight arrangements. It is recommended that you arrive during regular business hours.
Detailed arrival instructions are provided in your UCEAP online Pre-Departure Checklist.
Most students will arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, 25 miles southwest of Taipei. There is a tourist information desk in the arrivals area open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Bus services operate at regular intervals during the day while taxis are available at all hours. You can purchase New Taiwan Dollars (TWD) at the airport or banks in Taipei.
Because of the need for early detection and prevention of communicable diseases, Taiwan requires all arriving passengers to have their body temperatures scanned with an infrared thermal apparatus. Only passengers showing symptoms of communicable diseases are required to fill out the Communicable Disease Survey Form. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and your travel history, if you exhibit symptoms, you may be required to give an onsite specimen and/or follow up with local health authorities.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
Additional information about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and Predeparture Checklist.
Taiwan Citizenship & Military Service Requirement
Taiwan’s Ministry of Education does not allow Taiwanese citizens to participate in exchange programs. However, dual citizenship holders are not restricted by this regulation, but you must provide a copy of a non-Taiwan passport.
Taiwan-born men between the ages of 18 and 40 who return to the country may be required to serve in the Taiwanese military. This is the case even for men with dual citizenship. Fully investigate all matters pertaining to your citizenship and military service obligations before leaving the U.S. You may obtain additional information online from the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office.
A visa is an endorsement, usually a stamp, placed in the passport by the authorities of the host country. A visa grants you permission to enter and reside in Taiwan as a student.
U.S. citizens going to Taiwan only for the summer term do not require a visa.
U.S. citizens going to Taiwan for the fall/spring/year are required to obtain a visitor visa at a Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the U.S. prior to departure. More details about the visa process are provided in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist online.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact TECO to determine applicable travel restrictions and whether or not you will need supplementary documents for your visa application and/or reentry documents.
PRC citizens going to National Taiwan University (NTU) must apply for an Entry Permit through the NTU Office of International Affairs. Entry Permits are single entry. Students are required to arrive and depart Taiwan on the specific dates designated by Taiwan Immigration and NTU. Visa regulations require that you travel to Taiwan from the United States.
Do not apply for a visa until you receive a host university acceptance letter. You are advised to apply for a multiple-entry visa if you plan to travel internationally during your stay. It is not possible to change a single-entry to a multiple-entry visa once you are in Taiwan. The visitor visa is good for 180 days.
After registering for courses and receiving a Student Identification Card, you will officially apply with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei for a resident or visitor visa extension. If you stay for one term you can choose to apply for visitor visa extension instead of applying for a resident visa. Note that the resident visa application requires another health examination once you arrive in Taiwan. Within 15 days of receiving a resident visa, you must apply for an Alien Residence Card (ARC) at the National Immigration Agency.
You may obtain visa information and requirements from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. For more information and a listing of other U.S. locations of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, visit the TECO
U.S. Travel Registration
As soon as you know your flight plans prior to departure, register
online with the U.S. Department of State. Registration is free and allows for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to be a source of assistance and information in case of difficulty or an emergency while traveling abroad.
It is easier to replace lost or stolen documents if you have photocopies. Make photocopies of all important documents, including passport photo pages, vaccination certificates, travelers check receipts, airline tickets, student ID, birth certificate, credit cards (front and back), etc., then leave a set of copies at home with a parent or guardian and pack a set in various pieces of luggage. Spending a few moments copying documents now can save time and energy if something is lost or stolen.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
Identify all luggage on both the outside and inside with your name, home address, and destination.
When traveling always carry your passport, visa, airline tickets, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
Due to limited storage space in the host university dormitories, you should pack reasonable amounts of clothing and personal items. Most items are available for purchase in Taiwan.
- Dressy outfit (a sport coat, tie, dress, etc.) for special events
- Small, lightweight gifts
- Warm clothing for winter
- Shoes that slip on and off easily
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Prescription medications (see the Health chapter of this guide for information on transporting prescriptions abroad)
- Travel guide with a detailed map of Taipei
- Raincoat and rain boots
- Vitamins and cold medications
- Mosquito repellent and after-bite medicine
The climate in Taipei is hot and humid in the summer and mild in the winter. Two months of warm rains, usually beginning in May, usher in the summer. Taipei is hottest from July through September, with the temperature soaring to around 100ºF.
Due to Taiwan’s industrial growth, there is a pollution problem that is reflected in the local noise, water, and air. The air in Taipei is heavily polluted much of the time. If you have allergy or sinus medication that works well, take enough to last for your entire stay in Taiwan, as similar medication may not be available locally.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends that you examine the details of the UCEAP Travel Insurance benefits and purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, Smartphones, tablets, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
The official currency unit in Taiwan is the dollar (abbreviated TW$ or NTD).
Travel to Taiwan with at least US$300 to cover transportation from the airport, initial move-in costs (bed linens, cleaning supplies, key deposits, housing, etc.), and the first few days in Taipei.
If you need to purchase Taiwan Dollars, the Taoyuan International Airport is the most convenient place.
Travelers checks are rarely used in Taiwan. Sometimes they are treated as personal checks, which are subject to an additional collection charge. If you use travelers checks, plan to cash them at large banks or at the American Express (AmEx) office, if the checks are from AmEx.
Many students use an ATM card to obtain funds in Taiwan. Using an ATM provides you with direct access to your bank accounts at home. Check with your bank for fees (if any), withdrawal limits, and to let them know of your international travel plans.
All 7-Elevens on and off campus have ATMs. ATM cards and credit cards with PLUS and Cirrus logos allow you to access your home bank accounts and withdraw cash.
Charles Schwab account holders can withdraw money from international ATMs and be reimbursed for fees incurred. However, there may be a minimum balance required.
Taiwan Post and Hua Nan Bank have branches on the NTU campus.
A Bank of Taiwan branch is located across from NTNU.
Year students may open a local bank account. You will need your passport and Alien Residence Card (ARC). OIA suggests depositing TW$500 in your account initially and requesting an ATM card.
You may also open a savings account at the post office. Many locals maintain these types of accounts. You will need your passport and student identification card to open an account. There are no fees for opening bank accounts. Funds in these accounts are available for withdrawal either at the postal savings window or from a cash-dispensing machine in the post office lobby. The post office is open Monday through Friday.
If you do not have a personal checking account and do not wish to open one before leaving for Taiwan, you may cover your expenses by either taking a supply of travelers checks sufficient to cover expenses for the program or have telegraphic transfers/certified checks sent to you periodically.
UCEAP does not recommend you receive personal checks made out to your name. Past UCEAP students who did not have checking accounts in the U.S. wished they did for the convenience of international transactions.
Transferring Money Overseas
Money can be cabled from an American bank to your local account in about a week. Money is first cabled from the American bank to the central office of the Taiwan bank; the funds are then transferred by mail to the local branch, where they are made available. The process can be expedited by two or three days for an extra fee.
The basic charge for the procedure is set by the American bank. Determine the charges before departure and verify that your American bank can transfer funds in this manner.
You can use Visa, American Express, and MasterCard for purchases in many restaurants, shops, and hotels in Taipei and in some other large cities in Taiwan.
Credit card companies normally charge a fee when cash is withdrawn from a home account. In addition, some companies limit such withdrawals to TW$8,000 per day. Check with your credit card companies in advance for details.
The American Express office in Taipei will cash personal checks for cardholders. Contact AmEx for details. Funds are issued in local currency.
At NTU, once you register with the Office of International Affairs, you can use the on-campus wireless network. Dorm rooms have high-speed Internet access. You can use the computer labs on campus.
Previous UCEAP students recommend buying pre-paid cards at the telecom service centers in the Taoyuan International Airport when you arrive, as the procedure is less convenient in Taipei.
Many U.S.-based long-distance phone companies provide special services that make it easy to place international calls. Some provide a toll-free access number that connects with an operator in the U.S. Others provide the means to charge long-distance calls either to a credit card or to a third party.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the technology for transmitting voice conversations via the Internet, is popular with students who take a laptop abroad. Social networking software such as Skype
is commonly used to make free or low-cost calls over the Internet.
Messenging apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Line, WeChat) are also increasing in popularity.
At NTU, most students obtain cell phones upon arrival. It is possible to bring your own mobile phone and purchase pre-paid cards. If you prefer to apply for a phone plan, you will have to present ARC, passport or driver’s license and be accompanied by a local guarantor (his/her ID Card and National Health Insurance Card are required) at the service centers of major telecoms.
Overall, cell phone rates are comparable to what you might pay in the U.S. Most students call very sparingly and text instead to keep the bill down. Once you’ve decided on a cell phone service provider, you can choose to use a prepaid service or a regular plan (most students get pre-paid). You may buy pre-paid cards at any of the convenience stores on or around campus to refill your account.
Do not ship luggage in advance, and avoid shipping items to Taiwan. You can buy most items in Taipei at reasonable prices. If you cannot fit essentials into baggage, take only those things that you will need immediately. You can have friends or family members mail goods to you in Taiwan after you arrive. Shipped packages should be labeled “used personal clothing” or “used personal supplies.” All incoming parcels will be opened and inspected by customs and you may have to pay a duty fee. Keep in mind that what you take to Taiwan and items that you acquire abroad must later return home with you.
University housing is guaranteed to all exchange students that apply. The housing application is incorporated into the NTU online student application. Checking “yes” on the NTU online application indicates that you want university accommodation. You will also be able to indicate your room preferences at the International Youth Center (IYC) and/or Prince House Shui-Yuan Dorm. Room assignments are made by NTU and subject to availability. You will live with international and local students.
The cost of university housing is a less than what it costs to rent a single room in Taiwan. It provides very basic amenities and facilities at a low price and is most likely less comfortable than the dorm rooms offered by American universities.
You will be responsible for cleaning your own room—cleanliness will be determined by the cleanliness of the tenants. While the facilities are generally modern and convenient, it takes time to adjust to the new living conditions. The dorms are kept in sanitary condition but may not be as clean and well furnished as facilities at UC.
Housing contracts will be paid (in cash) at the administrative cashier’s offices on campus. At the dorm, you will pay for the key deposit, obtain keys, and sign the housing contract with the building custodian. All students (including those on financial aid) must make their housing payment for the entire semester in Taiwan Dollars (NTD) shortly after arrival.
If you plan to arrive in Taiwan early and would like to find an alternate living arrangement, you can look for advertisements of rooms or apartments for rent on the bulletin boards around campus. Note, however, that NTU’s Office of International Affairs does not provide assistance for off-campus housing.
International Youth Center (IYC)
IYC dormitories were renovated in the summer of 2011. All IYC rooms are shared by at least two persons. It is not possible to apply for a single room or to select your own roommate. Rooms are equipped with single bed frames, desks, desk lamps, bookshelves, closets, central air-conditioning, Internet connection, and telephone outlets (internal calls only).
You must provide your own futon mattress, pillows, linens, and towels. You are advised to purchase these items after you arrive.
Shengli Shopping Mall is right outside of MRT Technology Building Station (Brown Line), where you can find basic supplies within walking distance.
Each floor has communal bathrooms and a shared study space. Meals are not provided but the building has a convenience store, a food stand and a cafeteria. The IYC dormitory has ping-pong tables and workout facilities, laundry facilities (coin-operated washing machines and tumble dryers), a living lounge, kitchenette with kitchenware, food stand, entertainment room, and a movie theater.
Prince House Dorms are privately owned and operated by the Prince Housing and Development Corp., but allocated by the NTU Student Housing Service Division. The Prince House Dorms has two locations: Prince House-NTU Chang-Hsing Dorms and Prince House Shui-Yuan Dorms. Both Prince House Dorms are located across the street from NTU.
Both single and shared rooms are available at Prince House. The Prince House dormitories are comprised of several buildings. All buildings have a lobby, a meeting and dining area with basic kitchenware (including a microwave oven and rice cooker), laundry room, leisure facilities (ping pong and billiard tables and workout facilities).
Rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, bed frames (futon mattress excluded), desks, bookshelves, closets, refrigerator, central air-conditioning, cable TV output, Internet connection, and telephone outlet (internal calls only).
You must provide your own futon mattress, pillows, linens, and towels. You are advised to purchase these items after you arrive.
There are many university eateries and inexpensive private restaurants on and off campus. There is an abundance of restaurants from every region of China. In addition, there is no problem finding Western food.
The quality of restaurants in Taiwan is as varied as the cooking styles. Food quality ranges from elegant, expensive meals to inexpensive snacks from city pushcarts. Enjoy the specialties of local noodle stands, Western restaurants, and typical American fast food. Most restaurants close at about 9:30 p.m., although street vendors often are open after midnight.
Fruit and vegetable stands in every price range are located throughout Taiwan. For the most part, prices are less expensive near universities.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Taipei is extremely manageable with no Chinese skills and many signs are in Chinese and English (or at least roman letters). The metros and metro station are all bilingual so you can easily get to where you are going. The further out of Taipei you go, the more likely that people will not understand English. However, students with a beginner level of Chinese should be able to get around fairly easily. Public transportation on the island is generally good, including bus, airline, and train services. Railway service in Taiwan is extensive and affordable. You may travel independently on weekends and holidays; inform local staff of your travel plans.
UCEAP discourages riding motorcycles and motor scooters in Taiwan. See also Traffic and Transportation Safety in this guide.
Roads in Taiwan’s major cities (especially Taipei) are generally congested, and the many scooters and motorcycles that weave in and out of traffic make driving conditions worse. Exercise caution when crossing streets because many drivers may not respect your right of way.
Taxis are plentiful in Taipei. The drivers need the full address of the destination in Chinese. Rides from campus to most parts of the city cost less than TW$200. Tipping is not expected unless the driver assists you with luggage. However, if you use the trunk, there is an additional charge. There are also additional night surcharges between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The base price for a taxi is about TW$80.
The Taipei bus system provides frequent service and convenient routes throughout the city. Fares are determined by zones, and you are charged as you travel between zones (or for travel within a zone). Rush hour conditions are crowded. Buses usually stop running at about 10:30 p.m.
Taipei has an efficient subway system known as the MRT
. There are five lines that operate from 6 a.m. to midnight. Regular fares range from TW$20 to TW$65 depending on the distance traveled.
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the community. Join clubs, sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations, attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles, and get the most out of your time abroad. This section highlights a few of the many activities students have enjoyed in Taiwan.
People in Taipei commonly go to movies, parks, shops, night markets, and museums. They spend time visiting friends, hiking, and traveling to scenic spots around the island. Socializing in Taiwan often centers on eating, so people frequently go in groups to restaurants and coffeehouses. If you are invited to a meal, offer to pay your own share, even as a guest.
You can participate in numerous sports activities while in Taiwan, including rugby, martial arts, tennis, badminton, squash, bowling, ice and roller skating, aerobics, swimming, and golf. Variations of kung fu, such as fan and sword, are also offered in the community. Taiwan is surrounded by water and has plenty of great natural beaches. Baseball, gymnastics, and basketball are available at the university.
The Taiwanese are eager to practice their English. Although teaching English might be a good way to get to know people, it can become time-consuming. Furthermore, exchange students are not legally allowed to work in Taiwan.
While Buddhism and Taoism are widespread, the most common religion is known as The Popular Religion or the folk religion, which incorporates elements of the two, as well as the doctrine of Confucius, which still forms the moral fiber of the Taiwanese people. Confucius’ birthday, September 28, is a great traditional holiday. You can also find Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim services in Taipei.
There is a wide array of goods for sale in Taiwan and prices are comparable to or less than those in the U.S. Bargaining is common. Previous UCEAP students have recommended shopping at the night markets including Ximending and Shilin.
Students with Disabilities
Taiwan law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and sets minimum fines for violations. By law new public buildings, facilities, and transportation equipment must be accessible to persons with disabilities, and this requirement is generally being met.
For more information:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Due to immigration regulations, students are not permitted to work in Taiwan. Working illegally is not endorsed or supported by UCEAP and can result in your arrest and prosecution for breaking the law.
There are no laws prohibiting consensual same-sex sexual activity. According to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights activists, violence against LGBT persons with HIV/AIDS is a problem, but instances of police pressure on LGBT-friendly bars and bookstores declined during 2012.
For more information,
Know Before you Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim proces
or about non-medical claims
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is your responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims Status
ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taiwan National Insurance
The Taiwanese government runs a government-funded insurance program. All exchange students residing in Taiwan for more than six months are required by law to apply for the National Health Insurance; the cost is included in the incidentals line item of the online UCEAP Student Budget.
Health facilities in Taiwan are adequate for routine and emergency medical treatment. Physicians are well trained and many have studied in the United States and speak English. State-of-the-art medical equipment is available at many clinics and hospitals. Hospitals’ nursing services provide medication dispensing and wound care but generally not the daily patient maintenance functions found in U.S. hospitals.
Information about health care, including a listing of physicians, dentists, and medical providers, is available on the American Institute in Taiwan
website. If you are sick or injured, you can make an appointment, get treatment and pay for services. Generally, doctors and hospitals in Taiwan will expect immediate cash payment for health services. You will need to pay for services up front and then submit a claim for reimbursement through the UCEAP insurance. For information about benefits and claims process, contact ACI at email@example.com.
NTU Student Health Center
All physicians are from the NTU Hospital and provide medical services to students. If student has an urgent medical situation or need first-aid during class hours, he/she can make a same-day appointment by phone or walk in without an appointment to the NTU Health Center on campus.
No 1., Sec.4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan, ROC
The office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays. The Center provides various medical services. Patients can make appointments by phone or by internet. Registration fees are waived for NTU students, faculty, and staff.
Emergency care and referral services
In case of a medical emergency on campus, the NTU Student Health Center medical staff will provide first aid on site and in their treatment room. There are medical staff on duty for emergency care during the day, and if necessary, the case can be transferred to NTU Hospital by ambulance for further care.
Outside office hours the student can visit the NTU Hospital. In a case of an emergency, he/she is advised to report to the dorm counselors first and then call the NTU Hospital.
NTU Hospital [國立臺灣大學醫學院附設醫院(臺大醫院)]
MRT: NTU Hospital Station
No.7. Zhongshan South Road, Taipei City [臺北市中山南路7號]
Tel: (+886-2) 2312-3456 or (+886-2) 2356-2264 (ER)
Ambulance - Dial 119
Taiwanese regulations require ambulances to have emergency equipment and supplies and to be staffed by trained medical personnel.
Upon private request, some hospitals will dispatch paramedic crews to a limited geographic area. In the Taipei area, Taiwan University Hospital provides this service (phone: 886-2-2312-3456).
Most times, the best alternative is to take a taxi to the hospital. If you must use a taxi, always carry with you the name (in Chinese) of the closest hospital to which you would like to be taken.
Know Before you Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
Stay healthy and avoid lowering your body’s resistance. The change in diet and climate may cause an upset stomach and possibly diarrhea until you adjust to the new environment. If you suffer from allergies, be prepared for sinus illness that may be worse than in the U.S.
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact local staff immediately. They will have recommendations on which clinic to visit and the necessary UCEAP insurance claim process to follow. Local staff may be able to assist you if you need to make special arrangements with your professors due to extended absence from class.
- Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it. You must travel with a letter from your prescribing explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
- If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
- Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.
- If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
- Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
- If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
- Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.
Traveling with prescription medications
- Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is in liquid form, consult the US Transportation Security Administration., Traveling with Medications.
- Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
- Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.
Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary?
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor. If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage. The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
Consult with ACI, email@example.com. Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., discuss your UCEAP program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for going abroad. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Your mental health is important to us all. Create a plan with your treating doctor. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
You may feel homesick or sad. Feeling down, anxious, homesick, depressed or stressed might be your body’s reaction to the new environment and different life away from your usual support network. Don't cope alone. Reach out for help to the local UCEAP program staff and your friends. If you have been feeling unhappy for longer than a few days, or it is staring to affect your enjoyment of
life and/or your studies, then you should see a doctor immediately.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy
covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process
. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speak with returnees and gather as much information as possible before you leave for Taiwan. If you are currently seeing a specialist for a psychological health condition, meet with the specialist to make sure that you have a plan in place if you need to reach out to local resources.
Do not be surprised to think, “It’s not what I expected.” Expect the unexpected. Life in Taiwan is fast paced with large crowds, noise, and pollution. For diversion, past students have discovered that some sort of regular activity—whether with an interest group like a chorus or hiking club, or study of traditional dance, archery, or calligraphy—offers a way to practice using Mandarin and to get a break from textbooks. Ask for insight from locals and acknowledge that this is a valuable learning experience.
Do not try to handle things on your own. It may be hard to admit that you need help. Most of all it may be hard to seek help. But in the long run, it's vital.
The Community Services Center in Taipei
offers Western-style counseling services, crisis response, and support groups. Most counselors at the Community Services Center were trained in the U.S. You can obtain more information by visiting their website or by phone at (02) 2836 8134 or (02) 2838 4947. These phone lines are staffed with English-speaking counselors.
In addition, NTU students can use the NTU Counseling Center
or the NTU Hospital for psychiatric out-patient care and emergency service. At the NTU Counseling Center, intake service is the initial contact for you and the NTU counselor. During the intake session, the counselor will assess your needs. According to the assessment, useful information might be provided or further services will be arranged. You have to reserve your intake appointment through the Standard Mandarin/English Online Booking System
. Four intake appointments are available each morning and afternoon.
Refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health
website, which provides health information specific to your destination. Food and beverage precautions are essential in order to reduce chance of illness.
UCEAP continually monitors information from the CDC and World Health Organization in addition to host university and country resources, and will work closely with experts on UC campuses to provide timely and current information to you as needed.
Although it is unusual for people to get influenza virus infections directly from animals, sporadic human infections and outbreaks caused by certain avian influenza A viruses and swine influenza A viruses have been reported.
Exercise care and avoid poultry farms, contact with animals in live food markets, any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces or fluids from poultry or other animals, and eat only thoroughly cooked poultry products. Note that, in the event of a pandemic, UCEAP’s ability to assist students abroad may be severely limited by restrictions on local and international movement imposed by foreign governments or the United States for public health reasons.
Refer to the UCEAP Current Alerts
web page for updated information on avian flu and other infectious diseases.
Do not drink untreated tap water (including in mixed drinks and/or ice cubes) unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Do not drink unbottled beverages or drinks with ice. Locals do not drink water straight from the tap. Boil tap water to avoid bacterial illness. To be extra safe, let the water boil rapidly for one minute. Electric teapots are inexpensive.
Smoking is banned in all indoor public places. The Government of Taiwan is planning to extend the smoking ban to cars, motorbikes, and pedestrians. The Bureau of Health Promotion, Taiwan Department of Health is leading smoke-free education.
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
Precautions to take include:
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
Aside from being affected by fixed pollution sources (factories, industrial areas) and vehicular pollution sources (scooters and automobiles), the air quality in Taiwan is also severely affected by factors from foreign areas, mainly from China. These sources are both man-made and from natural environments.
Air pollution can make asthma symptoms worse and trigger attacks. Exposure to fine particle pollution (PM2.5) contributes to cardiovascular disease. In addition to talking to your doctor before departure from the U.S., refer to the following tips.
- If you have a chronic health condition that gets worse with air pollution, talk about the risks with your doctor before departure.
- Plan activities when and where pollution levels are lower.
- Change your activity level. When the air is polluted, try to take it easier if you are active outdoors. This will reduce how much pollution you breathe. Even if you can’t change your schedule, you might be able to change your activity so it is less intense.
- Listen to your body.
- Wear an N-95 respirator (approved by the United States National Institute of Safety and Health) and follow local public health messages.
- Even if you are healthy, you may experience temporary symptoms, such as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest tightness; and shortness of breath.
E-cigarettes cannot be legally sold in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to the public against using e-cigarettes, which are prohibited in the country.
The import or manufacture of these products constitutes a violation of pharmaceutical regulations and is punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Consider an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Take time to assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Although the overall violent crime rate in Taiwan is low, you should avoid high crime areas, namely areas where massage parlors, barbershops, and nightclubs operate as covers for prostitution and are often run by criminals. In contrast to these illegal fronts, ordinary barbershops and other legitimate businesses prominently advertise their services, and you can see the interiors through storefront windows. Illicit establishments generally do not advertise, and casual passersby cannot view their interiors. Several U.S. citizens have been assaulted in these establishments and in the areas near bar and nightclub districts.
If you are a woman, avoid walking alone at night or where there are no other people during the day, just as if you were in any major city in the U.S. or some other unfamiliar location.
In several parts of Taiwan, incidents of purse snatching by thieves on motorcycles have been reported. You should keep a photocopy of your passport, other identification, and credit cards in a safe place.
Fraud is endemic. Victims are usually contacted telephonically by an individual claiming to represent the police, prosecutor’s office, other government agency, or the victim’s bank, insurance company, or other financial institution. Many of these frauds are perpetrated by criminals in mainland China or Southeast Asia, making identification, arrest, and prosecution difficult.
Criminal acts should be reported immediately to the local police, the American Institute in Taiwan, and the international office.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may also be breaking local law.
While in Taiwan, U.S. laws do not apply; you are subject to Taiwanese laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the U.S. If you violate the law, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Taiwan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Taiwan law also provides for the death penalty for certain violent crimes and drug offenses. If accused of a crime, UCEAP and/or the American Institute in Taiwan would not be able to intervene on your behalf.
Taiwanese police are professional and well-trained. Taiwan has a centralized police force responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining public order. Special duties include: managing entry and exit from Taiwan, immigration, civil defense and disaster rescue, fire prevention and firefighting, riot control, and assisting in other government affairs when necessary.
Police generally respond to incidents within 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the gravity and location of the crime. While the police respond quickly, they are not always effective at deterring crime. The anti-terror police units are more effective.
Few Taiwanese police speak English. However, local police departments have foreign affairs sections staffed by English-speaking officers capable of handling most situations. Because language barriers are possible, foreigners should speak in a simple manner when reporting crimes.
Taiwan is a vibrant democracy. Protests and demonstrations occur on a regular basis in Taiwan’s major cities, particularly during elections. Protests are an accepted part of political life. Demonstrations rarely turn violent, although they may become confrontational between opposing groups. Protest organizers must obtain a protest permit from the police. Police often set aside areas for demonstrators, and police presence is clearly visible.
Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. You should avoid areas of demonstrations if possible and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any political demonstrations. The American Citizens Services Section of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) will post notices regarding demonstrations in Taiwan on the AIT website
whenever it receives reliable information about them.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Traffic congestion in urban areas is intense; many local drivers use scooters or motorcycles and weave in and out of traffic, causing hazards. UCEAP strongly discourages you from operating motorized vehicles.
Taiwan’s public buses and subway are generally considered safe, but passengers in taxis – particularly women - should exercise caution when traveling alone in taxis late at night. According to the U.S. Department of State, there have been several incidents of violence committed by taxi drivers against female passengers traveling alone late at night.
Carefully select taxis because of crime problems associated with unauthorized drivers. Use phone- or radio-dispatched, licensed taxis.
Protect your wallets, purses, and all valuable items, as pickpockets are present (especially on crowded buses).
Do not drive. UCEAP strongly discourages operating a scooter or motorcycle in Taiwan. The American Institute in Taiwan reports that American citizens in Taiwan have died in recent scooter accidents. A license is required to ride a scooter or a motorcycle. The requirements and procedures for applying for a driver’s license for a motorcycle (engine over 50cc) are the same as those for a vehicle driver’s license.
As a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations.
- When possible, utilize the sidewalk; if not available, you should walk against the flow of traffic.
- Always obey crossing signals, but make sure to look both ways before crossing into the street.
- Even if you have the right of way, it is important to realize that vehicles may not always stop. Make eye contact with drivers and pay attention to the environment around you.
- If you are wearing headphones or talking on your cell phone while crossing the street, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and take extra care to avoid dangerous situations.
Be informed and make a plan.
Learn what protective measures to take before, during, and after an emergency.
Typhoon season in Taiwan is from July to October. It is also subject to strong earthquakes that can occur anywhere on the island. Visit the Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan website
, which provides information about both typhoons and earthquakes.
The International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) provides most areas of Taiwan with English-language programming 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency or an approaching typhoon, tune your radio to FM 100.7 in the Taipei or Kaohsiung areas and FM 100.1 in the Taichung area.
Taiwan is subject to strong earthquakes that can occur anywhere on the island. Expect disruptions to electrical power, telecommunications, water, sewage, and transportation systems following any major earthquakes in Taiwan. Offshore earthquakes may cause a rise in tide but rarely cause tsunamis. Emergency actions include:
If you can, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
Once in the open, Drop, Cover, and Hold On. STAY THERE until the shaking stops. This might not be possible in a city, so you may need to duck inside a building to avoid falling debris.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University
prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other
prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or
University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively
to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to
prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that
violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these
behaviors has occurred.
Fire - Dial 119 for the fire brigade.
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S. are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
- Know how to call the local fire department.
Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
- Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security provider, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its security providers, is covered by UCEAP itravel nsurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the U.S.
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
If you are abroad
Taipei Police: (02) 2556-6007
There are also emergency service numbers, although an English-speaking operator may not answer. Like in the U.S., these calls are free:
Fire and Ambulance. . . . . . . 119
Police. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
American Institute in Taiwan-American Citizen Services
No. 7, Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3
Taipei, Taiwan 106
Phone: (02) 2162-2000
Fax: (02) 2162-2239
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.