:::

Getting Settled

When you move to a new country, it takes a little while to get used to the local lifestyle. At first, you’ll have many questions, like “Where will I live?”, “How will I get around?” and “Can I work while I study?” In this chapter, we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we guide you through each aspect of daily life in Tamsui!

Accommodation

While studying at TKU, you can choose from a variety of student housing options, both on and off campus. Alternatively, you may want to rent or share an apartment off campus.

Student Housing

  1. Sung-tao Hall
    Sung-tao Hall is an on-campus female dormitory that accommodates close to 2000 students, with four students to a room. The rooms are air-conditioned, and come with bed frames (without mattress), desks, chairs, bookshelves, lights, wardrobes, and telephone and internet. Shared amenities include pay phones, a common lounge, a study room, a coin-operated laundry, simple cooking equipment, and refrigerators. Downstairs from the dorm is a food court, which boasts a variety of restaurants, a convenience store, a hairdresser, and a beauty salon. The rent per semester is NT $8,800, which is much cheaper than the average rent for nearby apartments.
  2. Dan Jiang Hall
    The Dan Jiang Hall is an off-campus, co-ed student dormitory located about five to ten minutes (on foot) from the TKU Tamsui Campus. It is a new, 14-story building that comprises a wide range of amenities, including a gym and the latest entertainment facilities. For this reason, it is more expensive than Sung-tao Hall. The rent is NT $19,250 per semester, with an additional semesterly maintenance fee of NT $3,000. Although you are allowed to pay per semester, students who stay at Dan Jiang Hall must do so for an entire academic year, from the beginning of September to mid-July the following year. At Dan Jiang Hall, there are 3 to 4 students to each room. Rooms are air-conditioned, and include bed frames (without mattress), desks, chairs, bookshelves, lights, wardrobes, a sink, a simple bath room (with shower and toilet), and internet and telephone. The dorm is located in a bustling area with plenty of restaurants. And although more pricey than Sung-tao Hall, the rent at Dan Jiang Hall is still cheaper than the average studio apartment in Tamsui.
  3. Reitaku International House
    Reitaku International House is a modern on-campus dormitory built for international students from Reitaku University (Japan) and exchange students from Tamkang’s sister universities worldwide. It also houses local Taiwanese students. Student distribution is approximately one-third Japanese students, one-third (non-Japanese) exchange students, and one third local students. Recently refurbished, the Reitaku International House features spacious rooms equipped with the latest amenities. The cost of accommodation for one semester is NT $11,400, plus an additional maintenance fee of NT $2,000.

Renting or Sharing an Apartment

Given that over half of Tamsui’s population is made up of students, it goes without saying that there’s plenty of student style accommodation all around Tamsui. This includes both studio apartments for one person and larger apartments to be shared. The amount of rent you’ll pay will vary based on: how close you are to the Tamsui Campus or Tamsui MRT Station, the size of your apartment, how modern your apartment complex is or how recently is was renovated, the number of amenities, convenience of public transportation, the floor you live on, and whether or not it is a security building, to name just a few.

  1. Things you should know before renting:
    • In Taiwan, rent is generally paid monthly
    • Landlords require you to sign a six month or year-long rental contract, and it is important that you do so, as the contract also protects your rights as a tenant
    • Always make sure that when you sign the contract, you ask to see the landlord’s National ID Card. Check that the details on the card match those on the contract
    • Before moving in, you’ll be asked to pay the first month’s rent plus a deposit, which is usually the equivalent of two month’s rent (so, 3 months’ rent in total)
    • Some landlords will ask you to pay rent per semester, not per month
    • The price of studio apartments around Tamsui ranges from around NT $4,000 to NT $10,000 per month
    • If you live in a large apartment complex, you will most likely have to pay a monthly maintenance fee of around NT $1,000
    • In many studio apartments near the university, internet and cable TV are included in the monthly rent
  2. Resources for finding accommodation:
    If you can read Chinese, refer to the following websites
    • This is a website designed for TKU students who are looking for accommodation around the university. Please click here.
    • This website displays housing options for areas all around Taiwan. You can search for apartments in Tamsui by using the drop box options. Please click here.
    • This website allows you to search for accommodation in Tamsui by selecting the appropriate options on the left hand menu panel. Please click here.
    • Use the drop box options at the top to search for apartments in Tamsui. As with each of these websites, you can make a search based on your desired price range. Please click here.
    If you can’t read Chinese, refer to the following websites
    • This is a website for foreigners living in Taiwan. It allows you to search for apartments, scooters, teaching opportunities, and many others. However, it does not contain many listings for apartments in Tamsui. Please click here.
    • This website lists apartments for rent around Taiwan, but focuses mainly on Taipei City. As with most English-based housing websites in Taiwan, there are very few listings for apartments in Tamsui. Please click here.

Remember that finding the perfect apartment can take a bit of time. So if you’re considering renting your own apartment or sharing with friends, try to do so as early as possible so that it does not affect your studies.

Transportation

Thanks to the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system, any location around Taipei is just a swipe of a card away! In Tamsui, things are just as convenient, with various buses ready to take you wherever you need to go. This section will show you how to get from A to B while studying in Taiwan. But first things first. Here’s how to get from Taoyuan International Airport to the Tamsui Campus:

Getting from the Airport to the Tamsui Campus

By Taxi

Taxis are available at the Taoyuan International Airport 24 hours a day, and there are taxi queues outside the arrival halls of both terminals. Make sure you get a taxi from the taxi stand outside, and not with a hawker standing inside the arrival hall. A typical taxi fare from Taoyuan International Airport to Tamsui is around NT $1,000 - 1,500. It takes about one hour to reach the Tamsui Campus from the airport (recommended if you are carrying heavy luggage).

By MRT

First, find the ticketing stand inside the arrival hall, and by a bus ticket to Taipei Main Station (in Chinese, this station is pronounced “Taibei Chezhan”). This should cost about NT $120 - $160 and take about 45 minutes to an hour. Once you arrive at Main Station, go downstairs and enter the ‘Taipei Main Station’ MRT station. Take the MRT to Tamsui, which is the final stop on the Red Line (18 stations in total). This should take about 35 minutes. Then, take an R27 or R28 bus (about 10 minutes, NT $15) or a taxi (about 5 minutes, NT $100) from the Tamsui MRT station to the TKU Tamsui Campus.

For enquiries related to the Taoyuan International Airport, Please click here.

Getting Around Taipei

The Taipei MRT is like a vast arterial system that pumps people in all directions across the sprawling city of Taipei. It allows you to easily access all the major sights and main business and residential areas around Taipei, including the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall.

To use the MRT, first locate the ticket pricing diagram near the entry gates to the MRT, and check how much it costs for your desired destination. Underneath the diagram, there should be a ticketing machine. Insert the appropriate amount of money, using either coins or an NT $100 note. You will receive a blue coin-shaped token. Place this over the sensor area of the MRT entry gates to enter. For more details, please click here.

Alternatively, you can purchase an MRT Easy Card, which you can use at MRT stations and on buses, ferries, trains, and even some taxis. You can add value to your card balance at any MRT station or convenience store in Taipei. Easy Cards cost NT $500 for students, which includes NT $400 worth of credit and a refundable NT $100 deposit. For more details, please click here.

For the most up-to-date version of the MRT Route Map, please click here.

Getting Around Tamsui

The easiest way to get around Tamsui is by catching buses. In Tamsui, there are a plethora of different shaped and numbered buses that will transport you wherever you want to go. The R27 and R28 will take you to the side entrance and back entrance of the TKU Tamsui Campus. The R26 will take you to the popular tourist destination known as Fisherman’s Wharf.

To take the bus, you can either swipe your MRT Easy Card as you get on or off (this varies depending on which bus you take) or insert coins into the coin machine on the bus. If you have a student Easy Card, the bus trips generally cost NT $12. However, if you choose to insert coins, you must pay the full NT $15 bus fare. The buses operate all day, from about 6 am to midnight.

Riding a scooter is another option. However, scooters are costly to buy and maintain, and are considerably more dangerous. For this reason, we recommend the safer option of catching public transport. If you are considering purchasing a scooter, remember to always take a local Taiwanese friend with you to ensure that you are not being overcharged. Generally speaking, prices for second hand scooters range from NT $5,000 to $40,000. For information about obtaining a local driver’s license, please click here.

Making Phone Calls

When you first arrive in Taiwan, it is natural to want to get in touch with family and friends overseas, or to contact new friends who you’ve just met since arriving. For this, you’ll need a cell phone. To make and receive calls, you can opt for either a prepaid phone card or an ongoing contract with a local telecommunications provider.

Prepaid Phone Card

Go to any local phone retailer and ask for a prepaid card. In Chinese, the word for prepaid card is “Yufuka”. The sales assistant may then ask you which brand of prepaid card you want. The main telecom provider in Taiwan is Chunghwa Telecom (“Zhonghua Dianxin”). It offers superior reception, but is relatively expensive. Its prepaid services come under the brand name Emome. The other telecom providers include FarEasTone (“Yuanchuan”) and Taiwan Mobile (“Taiwan DaGeDa”). Prepaid cards generally come in NT $300 or $500 increments. When purchasing a prepaid card, you’ll need to produce two forms of ID (one from both Type 1 and Type 2):

Type 1:

Passport, ARC, Diplomatic Visa, Work Visa, Resident Visa, Exit and Entry Permit (Republic of China)

Type 2:

Passport, ARC, Diplomatic Visa, Work Visa, Resident Visa, Exit and Entry Permit (Republic of China), other visas, an official driver’s license issued by the ROC Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The sales assistant will then ask you to choose from a selection of prepaid cards with different phone numbers on them. After you choose the card you want, the sales assistant will register your new phone number. Your prepaid card should be activated and ready for use within a few hours of its purchase.

To recharge your prepaid card, go to any convenience store and purchase a recharge card (“Buchongka”). Dial the three digit service number displayed on the card and follow the voice prompts in English.

For information on call rates, refer to the following websites:
Chunghwa Telecom (Emome)
Taiwan Mob

Cell Phone Plans

Calls made under cell phone plans are generally much cheaper than those made using prepaid cards. To sign up for a cell phone plan, head to a cell phone retailer or (ideally) a local telecom branch (E.g. Chunghwa Telecom, FarEasTone etc.). Enquire about the different plans, compare call rates, and look to see if there are any discount offers available.

When signing up for a cell phone plan, apart from the two forms of ID outlined above, you will also need to bring a local Taiwanese friend or classmate (over the age of 20) to serve as a guarantor.

International Phone Calls

International phone cards (“Guoji Dianhuaka”) can be purchased from convenience stores around Taiwan. Tell the store clerk the country you wish to call so that he / she can find the most suitable card for you. The card will come with a small pamphlet outlining call rates to various countries around the world. Call the local number displayed on the card and follow the English voice prompts.

To call overseas:

  1. Dial the international long distance code, either 009 or 002
  2. Dial the destination country code (+1 for the US, +86 for China, +61 for Aus, etc.)
  3. Enter the area code, omitting the “0” (E.g. “2” instead of “02” for Sydney, Aus)

Home Phone and Internet

In Taiwan, installing a home phone is expensive. It costs about NT $3,000 (approx. US $100). On the other hand, internet connection is relatively cheap and often comes inclusive when renting apartments near the university. Internet in Taiwan is fast and there is generally no upper limit on the amount of downloads you can make. For this reason, if you want to speak to family and friends overseas, you may want to consider downloading and using free online video call software, such as Skype.

Food

Food in Taiwan, and especially Tamsui, is diverse and plentiful. Off-campus eating options can be found in three main areas around the TKU Tamsui Campus: Da Xue Cheng (‘University City’), Da Tian Liao, and Shui Yuan St. These areas border the Tamsui Campus, and consist of numerous Taiwanese style drink shops, restaurants and stalls, where you’ll find both Eastern and Western style cuisine.

There are also a variety of on-campus food shops and restaurants, the majority of which are located in the food court beneath the Sung-tao Hall. There, you’ll find a vegetarian buffet, a shop selling Taiwanese style glutinous rice balls, and other local delicacies.

For more information about dining in Tamsui, please refer to the Tamsui Culinary Compass on the TKU English website.

Opening a Bank Account

To open a bank account in Taiwan, simply take your passport and ARC to the bank at which you wish to open an account. Don’t have an ARC yet? That’s okay. Head to the National Immigration Office in your local area (see Chapter 1, Visa for details) and ask for a Universal ID Number.

If, while opening a bank account, you want to apply for a bank card too – one which you can use to withdraw money at ATMs around Taiwan or overseas – you’ll need to take a personal seal or ‘stamp’ with your name on it. You can get these custom made at any local ‘stamp’ shop around Tamsui. To open your account, you’ll generally be required to make an initial deposit of NT $1,000.

For more information on opening bank accounts in Taiwan, refer to the following websites:
Tealit.com
esljobproject.com

Using Electrical Appliances

Voltage for electrical plugs and outlets in Taiwan is 110 V / 60 Hz. This is compatible with the system of wattage used in Japan, America, and Canada. If you come from other countries where the electrical voltage is 220 V and you plan on bringing and using a laptop computer or other electrical appliances, you may have to purchase a voltage converter from an electrical retailer in Tamsui. The word for this in Chinese is “Dian Ya Zhuan Huan Qi”.

You may also need to purchase a plug adaptor (“Cha Tou Zhuan Huan Qi”), depending on the type of plugs used in your home country. In Taiwan, the most common form of electrical plug is the type with two flat metal teeth sticking out. There are also plugs with two flat metal teeth above a cylindrical metal prong.

       plugs

Learning Chinese

Still staying ‘horse’ (“Ma”, third tone) instead of ‘mother’ (“Ma”, first tone)? Still asking for sleep (“Shuijiao”, two first tones) instead of dumplings (“Shuijiao”, two third tones)? Not to worry. Tamkang will provide you with a scholarship to study Chinese and have you saying ‘dumplings’ in no time. You’ll not only learn basic conversation, but also learn to read and write – essential for your regular university courses.

The Chinese language program at the Tamsui Campus offers courses for all levels of learners, as well as thematic courses such as Chinese Art and Cross-cultural Learning. For more details, ask the staff at the TKU Office of International and Cross-Strait Affairs.