International students in Taiwan


Two articles recently published on contain some useful information and advice for foreign students studying in Taiwanese universities.

Jeana Jack, a student at NCCU, has written a survival guide for international students that is full of good advice. She discusses choosing a university, learning Mandarin, finding a place to live and other important things.

I had lived in Taiwan for several years before I became a full-time student here so this made adjusting to university life quite easy. I imagine it must be more difficult for people who have just arrived in Taiwan and have to simultaneously deal with adjusting to life in a foreign country and starting a university course.

The second article was written by me. I interviewed three students from different backgrounds about their experiences studying Mandarin in Taiwan. They talk about the positives and negatives of language learning in Taiwan as well as giving some advice about learning Mandarin. The most common advice for successfully learning Mandarin is that you need a lot of patience.

*photo from used under Creative Commons licence.

How does NCCU rank?

Fili has written a post exploring the rankings of NCKU (國立成功大學). I want to take a similar look at the rankings for National Chengchi University (國立政治大學). NCCU doesn’t make it on some of the lists that Fili has referenced. National Taiwan University (國立臺灣大學) is the only Taiwanese university on the 2007 Times Higher Education list of the Top 200 World Universities ranked at 102. There are four Taiwanese universities in the top 400 (NTU, NCKU, NCU, NTHU).

NCCU is also not in the 2007 Shanghai Jiao Tong University list of top 100 Asia Pacific Universities. This list includes six Taiwanese universities (NTU, NCKU, NTHU, NCTU, NCU, NYMU).

A few years ago there was a controversy when NCCU slipped to 48 on the Taiwan Ministry of Education rankings. The reason for this was that the rankings, based on the number of articles in three important databases, favored schools which focused on science and engineering. NCCU is focused on social sciences and business.

On the Webometrics Ranking NCCU ranks 7 in Taiwan, 38 in Asia and 552 in the world. On the Asiaweek 2000 Asia’s best universities NCCU ranks 44 in Asia and 8 in Taiwan. ranks NCCU’s MBA program 21 in Asia. In Asiaweek’s 2000 rankings of the best full time Asian MBAs NCCU ranked 15. In Social Sciences NCCU is ranked 197 in the world on the Times rankings (source: poster at NCCU).

A number of Taiwanese universities such as NTU, NCKU and NTHU consistently appear in various rankings and can be considered Taiwan’s leading universities. NCCU is often mentioned alongside these universities, but it may fail to achieve similar rankings because of its weakness in the sciences.

Fili has also cited a research project by the Australian government on a Taiwan government plan for Taiwanese universities to break into the top 100 of the world. You can download a copy of the report. Twelve universities have been targetted by this program and NCCU is amongst them. Another interesting thing I found researching this post is that I found my alma mater, The University of Melbourne, consistently ranks very highly.