Choosing Classes + Reviews

In general, classes in Taiwan were structured rather differently from what I imagined. Language classes (aside from General Chinese) are 3 hours once a week. Most exchange students take 15~20 NTU units (about 3~5 courses), whereas Taiwanese and Chinese exchange students take 20~25 units (5~8 courses).

I took 19 NTU units, a total of 3 Chinese courses, 1 UX, 1 art history class, and 1 independent study. I was afraid of being overwhelmed with work when I first started since this is already 6 courses, but I realized that the workload is a lot lighter per class when compared to UCLA. Depending on some classes though, you might get a lot more work. I say it's totally possible to take 20~25 units and still have a good chunk of time for traveling and having fun. 

Choosing Classes

 

When choosing classes, I recommend checking out:

EAP List of Pre-Approved Courses - These courses will guarantee that you get the credits needed for your minor.

Courses for International Students - These courses are designed for international and exchange students, and are mainly taught in English. 

General and Enhancing Chinese - Language courses created specifically for exchange students. I have heard that Enhancing Chinese is more useful than General. (Note that you MUST take General Chinese in order to take Enhancing)

Applied Chinese - You can learn Taiwanese and local culture through these courses. 

Online Course Information - Schedule of classes for all students. Check here for courses that local students take, as well as for major-specific courses.

Courses Taught in English - It is possible that the teacher's English is not as great as you'd expect.

 

Reviews

Mine!

Modern Chinese and Composition (TSAI, CHU-CHING)

  • Course Syllabus
  • UD elective credit for Chinese minor
  • 3 hours a week. Taught in complete Chinese.
  • Teacher is clear but boring.
  • Course focuses more on reading comprehension and poem analysis; little emphasis on writing.
  • Low course load, but relatively advanced readings. There’s an essay every 2-3 weeks, but I think everyone get’s around an A- as long as they tried. Weekly assignment is to write 4 sentences using Chinese proverbs (lol).
  • Terrible midterm. Multiple choice section is the type that has a different amount of correct answers per question (you get docked off if you don’t select all of them). For the writing portion: the teacher doesn’t tell you, but you should use specific terms mentioned in class to get full credit. Even if you got the information correct, if someone wrote better than you, you’ll probably still get docked off points.
  • I would take this class if I needed Chinese credit, but not for fun.

General Chinese - Advanced (CHIOU, SHEAN-JER PHAROAH)

  • Course Syllabus
  • UD elective credit for Chinese minor
  • 3 hours twice a week. Taught in complete Chinese.
  • Focuses on newspaper reading and comprehension.
  • Teacher is very quirky, knowledgeable and fun. He goes off-topic sometimes and may accidentally cause the pace of the class to be too slow.
  • Very low course load. Basically no homework. You do two short presentations with your group twice the semester, but it’s very casual.
  • Midterm was short and difficult, but it’s also curved. You’ll have take-home writing portion that’d ask you to answer short answer questions and write a short essay. The midterm itself is multiple choice, and there’s only one correct answer (unlike the evil one up there!!!) That doesn’t make the MC much easier because he tests you on VERY similar words. (e.g. know the difference between 質詢,諮詢,質問)

User Experience Design (DENG, YI-SHIN)

  • Course Syllabus
  • I took this class for fun.
  • 3 hours a week.
  • Project-based. You form a 4-5 person team at the beginning and will be doing user research and design to tackle a certain problem. The prompt is based off a design contest.
  • Teacher is very knowledgeable and insightful, but very wordy. He can spend a very long time explaining each concept, and it’s all in very fast Chinese. My Chinese was not good enough to understand him completely.
  • Good for becoming friends with local Taiwanese students (weekly meetings, lunches, etc.)
  • You have to write a 3-page report in English for the midterm. As the exchange student with the best English, I ended up having to write the entire thing for the group (my four members got very lucky).
  • I wished that the teacher would give us more concrete opinions during critiques of our work.

Chinese Films (KAO, YU-PING)

  • Course Syllabus
  • I took this class for fun. It might count for UD elective for Chinese.
  • 2 hours a week.
  • Teacher is talkative and fun.
  • Chinese language concepts are not taught in class. We spent most of our time just watching movies and comparing Asian cultures to others’ in class. You can use the class to practice Chinese hearing and speaking, but there is no formal lecture.
  • Homework is usually to watch a movie. There are essays and worksheets to be written every 2-3 weeks.
  • You can eat and drink in the classroom, especially when watching movies.

Spoiler title

  • Course Syllabus
  • Visual Arts GE credit
  • 3 hour lecture per week. Two museum field trips, so no class on two weeks of the semester.
  • There are readings, but I ended up just giving them all quick scans since the teacher goes over everything during lecture.
  • Teacher is knowledgeable and clear. Tries to have more class interaction, but no one really participates.
  • I had a difficult time deciphering what the important concepts are in this class. Each lecture focuses on a different medium from Asian Art History, so you end up knowing a couple art pieces for every few centuries worth of art.
  • There is no midterm.

Independent Study (CHOU, MU-CHIEN)

  • Course Syllabus
  • Recommended for those that do graphic design and visual communication work.
  • Difficult to remain motivated for this course, since it is an independent study. I ended up prioritizing classes with deadlines, even though I actually spend the most time on work for this course.
  • I did independent study with this professor because I couldn’t get into his Visual Communication class. I can’t comment on that class, but he was very helpful when it came to giving me critiques on my design work.
  • Teacher is very knowledgeable. He’s very clear about telling you what he doesn’t like and where he thinks the design is not working.

Friends

UC Davis: Gary

  • Chinese, enhancing + general (Intermediate Two) — enhancing was great, felt like i learned more in that than general. class was much more structured // general was mediocre, felt like i didnt learn a lot… teaching style was not effective — hoping that they both count toward minor credits, still unknown
  • User Experience Design — teaching was ineffective…content was great but delivered in not the best way, poor group work, vague direction — hoping it will satisfy for major credits. not sure
  • Lighting Tech (I) — by far one of my favorites, though i am intimidated all the time. teacher shows passion for the topic and hopes to instill it in students, can get super technical, overall fun class — can satisfy for major units

 

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