An interesting story below on studying in Taiwan. This could be an option for students who have strong Chinese capabilities. It might be difficult to get a job back in Malaysia with a Taiwanese degree. But if a graduate has a strong technical degree such as Engineering, I don’t foresee much difficulty in getting a job in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong or Singapore.
Sunday April 15, 2007
Good place to network
By TAN EE LOO
Looking for a place where you can learn and grow at an affordable price? Check out Taiwan.
AS a student in Taiwan, one of the things that struck Teoh Seok Ai most was the openness of its society.
“I was surprised when I heard my classmates speak so openly about the political situation in Taiwan. I had not expected to see young people so passionate about politics in their country,” says Teoh, who studied psychology in the central part of Chia-yi County in Taiwan five years ago.
“They are not afraid to bring up an issue if they have valid reasons for doing so. It could be about anything, from accommodation to the university’s facilities or lecturers,” she adds.
The Republic of China, or Taiwan, one of Asia’s four little dragons, attracts approximately 1,000 Malaysian students every year.
Today, there are more than 36,000 Malaysians who have graduated from Taiwan since 1954.
The Federation of Alumni Associations of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia (FAATUM) department head of further studies B.T. Goe easily points out several good reasons for studying in Taiwan.
“Taiwan’s tuition fees are relatively low, compared to those in the United Kingdom, especially when it comes to studying courses like medicine.
“And international students are generally well taken care of,” he adds.
Tuition fee for the first year of a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme at a British university will cost international students about £16,150 (RM110,350). At National Taiwan University (NTU), undergraduate students of the Department of Medicine pay between NT$32,000 to NT$40,000 (RM3,330 to RM4,162) as tuition fees per semester.
Schools and programmes
Goe says the top Taiwanese universities include NTU, National Chengchi University and National Cheng Kung University.
NTU, founded in 1928, is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in Taiwan.
According to the university’s website, it has 11 colleges, 54 departments, 96 graduate institutes (which offer 96 master programmes and 83 doctoral programmes), and four research centres in 2004.
National Chengchi University, founded in 1927, is well known for its social science and journalism programmes.
Most of the undergraduate programmes in Taiwan take four years to complete. In some cases, extensions are granted to students who are unable to fulfil their requirements within the designated time frame.
Medicine or dentistry programmes may take around six to seven years to finish.
University applications open between February and April every year and classes usually begin in September for the autumn intake.
Language may be a barrier for those whose first language is not Chinese as the medium of instruction is primarily Mandarin with some English thrown in.
International students should have a minimum qualification of A-levels, Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) or Unified Examination Certificate.
Cost of living
For on-campus accommodation in public universities, the cost is around RM450 to RM700 per semester; in private universities, the cost is around RM880.
Off-campus accommodation in Taipei ranges from RM450 to RM700 per month, and an average meal could cost up to RM8 in Taipei.
On the whole, prices are slightly lower in Central Taiwan and Kaoshiung. For off-campus accommodation, the cost ranges from RM350 to RM600.
Vehicles are driven on the right lane in Taiwan. According to a study guide published by the Taiwanese Education Ministry, students with international driving licenses can get approval to drive in Taiwan.
Public transportation including trains and the subway as well as motorcycles and bicycles are widely used in Taiwan. Most of the universities provide parking lots for students on campus.
The lure of Taiwan
Although 8TV newsreader Tan Chia Yong graduated from National Chengchi University about a decade ago, he still has a strong emotional attachment to the island.
“Taiwan is very rich in culture and has a strong historical background. Students can learn a lot in the democratic society of Taiwan,” he says.
One of the good things about studying in Taiwan is the opportunity to meet students from about 100 countries.
“If a student is interested in doing international business, this is a good place to build your network,” Goe says. And, he adds, there is no ragging on campus.
“The culture in Taiwanese universities is that the xue zhang (seniors) will look after the xue di xue mei (juniors) by providing mentorship.”
Teoh readily agrees: “When there are new international students in our university, we do what we can to help them settle down by organising various orientation activities and celebrating festivals such as the Mid-Autumn Festival,” she says.
Safe and friendly
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia information division director Chiou Chyi concurs that international students are well received in Taiwan.
“International and local students pay the same amount of tuition fees and there are scholarships available for international students,” he says.
The move to actively recruit international students, he adds, is in line with the Taiwanese Government’s objective of encouraging universities to work towards globalisation.
Chiou also reassures parents and students that Taiwan is a peaceful and friendly place to study and live in.
“It is an open and multicultural country.
“Under the law, people can freely voice their concerns.
“After a demonstration, people will just go home and get on with their lives,” he says.
According to Goe, the Malaysian Government presently only recognises selected medicine, dentistry and pharmacy programmes from eight universities in Taiwan.
However, as Chiou sees it, students need not worry unduly about the question of recognition.
“Most of the students who graduated from Taiwanese universities did not face major difficulties in finding jobs,” he says.
For more information, contact the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia at 03-2161 4439 or e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can also call FAATUM at 03-7876 1221, or e-mail:
email@example.com or visit