Studying abroad in Taiwan would be one of the best decisions you have made! The entire process may look intimidating, but it isn't actually that bad once you get through the initial hump. Everything is actually spaced out over a series of several months, so there isn't too much that needs to be done at the same time.
Here's the entire process a.k.a. what you should expect when applying for UCEAP NTU for the Fall.
1. Submit UCEAP Online Application
- Know when the deadline is. It's usually in
mid-Februaryto go to Taiwan, regardless of which semester you're planning on going to. Also, don't wait until February to fill out the online portion, because you'll have to submit a paper version, which requires you to do a bunch of other tedious administrative stuff.
- Register for an account on the UCEAP login page and fill out an online application. FYI, Fall quarter requires that you at least have learned a year of Chinese before applying.
2. Submit Paper Application
- Print out the online application.
- Print out an unofficial transcript from myUCLA. (Classes -> Transcript - Student Copy (Unofficial))
- Print out the clearance form and have your department approve it. This might take you a couple trips/days.
3. Waiting for Response = Scholarship time!
- Check the list of UCEAP Scholarships.
- Also check the UCLA study abroad scholarships page. Just as a note, I applied to 100,000 Strong Initiative ($2500) and Global Community Scholarship ($2000). The first one required only a few short answer questions and I assume they award the scholarship to 100,000 people, so I would say it's a good bet! Global Community Scholars is also just really fun, because they want you to blog about your trip. It's a great to document what you did anyways regardless of the scholarship, so why not?!
4. Submit NTU Online Application
In 2015, the deadline for this online application for Fall semester students was March 31. For spring semester, it's around September 30.
Yes, you need to fill out another application for NTU, in addition to your UCEAP application that was due mid-February.
- Register and apply to NTU exchange student application. In the application portion, take note that your major actually matters when you want to enroll in classes later. When choosing dorms, I recommend living in ShuiYuan dorms, either in a double or a single. I chose the double so that I can make friends with a local NTU student and force myself to practice Chinese with them. ShuiYuan is right next to a huge shopping and food street, so it's really convenient for meals.
- Yes, you would like a volunteer. There are unexpected things that you might need help on, and also it's a way to make a local friend!
- There are also a number of things this application asks you to upload, so have them prepared! The list from NTU includes:
- 1. JPG of a passport photo - I took one with my cellphone and edited it.
- 2. PDF of one-page statement of purpose - Honestly, I just wrote one in half an hour for this.
- 3. PDF of OFFICIAL transcript (order for free through myUCLA - takes about 3 days; it's $15 if you go in person)
- 4. PDF of the personal info page of your passport (must be non-Taiwanese).
- 5. PDF of the NTU health exam form.Make an appointment with UCLA Ashe Center for a free checkup. You can actually submit this form when you arrive in Taiwan, though getting checked in US is easier. I recommend doing the exam within 3 months of your arrival in Taiwan. I did mine too early, and my chest x-ray expired... WHICH TOTALLY SUCKED because I had to do another one. They might also ask for something called the Health Form C, which you don't need to submit if you have a valid chest x-ray report and your immunization records.
- 6. PDF of Medical and accident insurance proof - UCEAP will email this file to you.
- The "Application Status" tab from the website will let you know what you are missing and which step you're at in the application process. I found this page really useful because it gives your your student id number. You will need your student id for MANY things, and I couldn't find it anywhere other than on this page and in the paper packet they send out.
4. You got placed at NTU!
5. First Payment to UCEAP and Health Clearance. Withdrawal Deadline.
In April, you will receive an email asking you to pay for the first payment for UCEAP. During my year, it was $950 and was due May 1. Exact wording from email is provided below. However, because I usually get financial aid and get refunded money every quarter, I did not need to do anything. FinAid automatically paid through the system.
Also note that the
After that, you also want to make you have mailed in your UCEAP Health Clearance Form. Simply make an appointment at the Ashe Center. Under "Appointments" -> Schedule an Appointment -> I need a statement of health or health clearance. I don't think you need to print it out, as the Ashe Center have copies. In a couple days, Ashe Center will notify you that the form is ready for pick up. Mail the form to UCEAP Systemwide Office, 6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200, Goleta, CA 93117-5823 (address is listed on the bottom of the health clearance form).
The weird thing is that I haven't gotten an email to mail in the Health Clearance form until July, and that was when they said "it was due over a month ago!!". Don't wait for an email, and simply send the form in by May/June.
6. Get Taiwanese Visa
July - August
To study in Taiwan for one semester, you can apply for a Visitor Visa, which lasts for 180 days. You can extend your visa in Taiwan if you wish to stay for the whole year; else you can apply for the Resident Visa.
The Visa process takes maybe 2-3 days, assuming you had all your materials ready in the first trip. I believe I was doing the Visitor Visa for Studying Chinese; turned materials in Monday/Tuesday and the visa was ready for pickup on Thursday.
Some notes on my experience
- Make sure you fill out the application form online and print it before going to the Visa office. The San Francisco branch did not have printers.
- Bring passport, 2 passport photos, admission letter from NTU (I was mailed the package sometime near end of June), bank account statement (and/or financial aid statement).
- Bring cash amount of $120. I don't remember why, but I was required to pay in cash rather than credit/debit card.
Los Angeles Taiwan Embassy Address: 3731 Wilshire Blvd #700, Los Angeles, CA 90010, United States
San Francisco Taiwan Embassy Address: 555 Montgomery St #501, San Francisco, CA 94111, United States
7. Down Payment for Dorms and Signing up for Classes
Near the end of July, you will get an email asking for a downpayment of however much your dorms cost (see below). It will be the cost of one month's rent, and you will need to send it through your bank.
Just so you know and won't waste time like I did, Western Union does NOT work. You will have to pay through your bank, and the bank will probably charge you a fee. Wells Fargo charged me $45.00 as the wiring fee, and I doubt there's a way to avoid this. You can check how much your bank charges for foreign wiring beforehand. I googled a chart for you.
Around mid-August is also the first time you'll be signing up for classes. Because searching and signing up for classes requires quite a bit of explanation, I suggest you see the Enrolling in Classes post. There are several rounds/stages for you to sign up for classes, and before the next round, you'll find out whether you got the class or not. For deadline purposes, know that the 1st one is in mid-August and the 2nd is near end of August.
8. Packing the Suitcase
After you have finished gone through the first two stages of course enrollment, there is not much for you to do until arrival in Taiwan. So... YAY!!!
For my year, classes started Mid September (around September 15), and NTU/UCEAP wanted me to arrive in Taiwan - Taoyuan Airport either on September 8 or 9. (There are orientation activities prior to the first week of class). If you arrive on the days they give you, there are NTU people there to help you with getting your sim card, cash, and free shuttle to the dorm you're staying at.
9. Classes and Deadlines
First Four Weeks of Class
Please see Enrolling in Classes post for deadlines for classes and myEAP.