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National Chengchi University Summer School

Date:02 December 2015
Author:Joanneke Meijer, RUG student Econometrics, NAHSS 2015

Let’s start with the fact that Taiwan is great, the people are really hospitable, the food great and the country very developed. If you love nature you will be more than happy in this country. Do take into account that it is really warm here and that you’re always in a state of sweat outdoors. Though don’t worry about the language, the younger generation is good at speaking English and someone is always willing to help.

About NCCU summer school, out of the 8 courses available, you have to choose 4. The main subjects discussed are either economics or more culture like courses. Each week you will have 3 days of courses, each day two different courses of both 3 hours. There is also a mandarin class to learn traditional Chinese which I heard was very nice.

The information density of these 3 hours is not quite that high, this has a positive and negative side to it in my opinion. At the one hand if there would be 3 hours of intensely listening it is quite rough, though if it will go to slow, sometimes it is really hard to keep paying attention. This probably has to do with the fact that the quality of a teacher is measured by the amount of time they can talk. So the longer the teacher talks (about the same topic) the better, while it is seen as lazy to let the students talk.

The teachers are very enthusiastic and try to think of different nice things to do. The construction of your grade is different for all the courses, for all courses, class participation is part of your grade. At some courses you have to give an individual or group presentation, though for other courses you need to write a small paper.

What might be a little surprising during the lectures is the many different activities the students do during the class. Some of your classmates will take a nap during the lecture, others will read a book and many will be working on their laptops.

What does the day look like? Most of us stay in the international house, about 10 minute walk to the building where the classes are. Whatever you like for breakfast, lunch and dinner you can find it close to the campus. From fruit, to bread to every kind of warm meal. After choosing your preferred breakfast, you head to your first 3 hour class. When the break arrives many are going to get a coffee, sometimes resulting in being too late because it takes about 10 minutes to make a coffee at some places (very Taiwanese, no rush!). After a 2 hour break, in between the courses, you can enjoy a lunch at a restaurant or choose the take away option and enjoy a small nap. Now it is up to the other class of the day starts for the coming 3 hours.

So what about the campus? It is well organized, clean and there are a lot of facilities as a nice library and a lot of opportunities to sport. A fitness room, a running track, a swimming pool etc. What would annoy me if I would stay longer is that the Wi-Fi is not that good, it is not very reliable unfortunately. Though to be fair, it is much worse where I have been in China.

A really nice part of this summer school is that the Thursdays are reserved for different tours around Taipei. Every day has a different theme as for example nature or culture. A bus picks you up at the international house and drives you around all day. The Taiwanese buddies plan everything and even lunchboxes are included. It is one of the great things of the summer school as well, the buddies, they are willing to help you with everything and we even had a dinner at their parents’ home.