My Room Abroad
From the Airport
From the Airport
From the Airport
From the Airport
You will normally arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, 43 kilometers southwest of the capital, Taipei and a 2 hour bus ride to Taichung.
From the airport, we recommend you taking city buses (Ubus or Fego) available at the airport.
The closest stop to our university is Chao Ma station. From there, you can take a short taxi ride to our main gate.
The airport's website also has details on fares and where to take these buses.
Getting To Our Office
The Chinese Division is located on the fourth floor of the Second Administration Building. We are the second building on your right, when you enter the campus from the main gate.
Dubbed as the cultural city of Taiwan, Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan. With a blend of modern development and traditional aspects of Taiwanese lifestyle, Taichung offers a laid-back and friendly atmosphere with benefits and conveniences of city life.
Centrally located in Taiwan, your travel destination is never too far away. When you want to experience the mountains, you head for the Central Cross-Island Highway or in half an hour you are hiking in Dakeng, just outside the city limits. If you want to witness traditional culture, the historic village of Lugang is your best bet. Other tourist spots in the area are Sun Moon Lake, the Xitou bamboo forest or the several hot springs in the Central Mountain Range, just to name a few.
Taichung is generally regarded as having one of the most agreeable climates all throughout the year. It's not as muggy and hot as the south in summer and is entirely different from Taipei with its seemingly eternal drizzle, its bone chilling winters and oppressively hot summers. Besides that, Taichung is rarely hit by typhoons and there are comparatively few rainy days.
Annual average temperature:22.8°C (73.04°F)
Annual average rainfall: about 1600 mm
Average humidity: 79%
For weekly forecasts, you can check the Central Weather Bureau's website.
Transportation in Taichung
Unlike other major cities, Taichung does not have any rapid transit systems but rather rely on traditional modes of transportation. Taichung's city bus system has improved over the last couple years with more routes provided and reliable time schedules. Scooters are by far the preferred way to get around in Taichung as it is convenient and efficient when it comes to taking shortcuts and finding parking.
Finding An Apartment
Finding An Apartment
Finding An Apartment
Though a vast majority of our students contact alumni, Taiwanese relatives or friends, or current students of the Language Center to arrange their living accommodation, the Language Center is willing to help all prospective students who arrive on their own.
The services we can provide prior to your arrival is to help you make an appointments with these apartments which we work with.
An alternative accommodation close to the University is the Beacon Hotel. It is located within 100 meters in front of the University next to McDonalds. The rooms and the service are decent. For singles, the Beacon Hotel offers NT$ 2,000 a night.
If you need any assistance booking a room at Beacon Hotel, please don't hesitate to contact the Language Center Office by e-mail or telephone in advance. We will need to know the date and time of arrival into Taipei so we can guestimate your arrival time to Taichung.
If you're looking for cheaper accommodations than Beacon Hotel, then hotels by the train station (20 minute bus ride away) are your best bet. Although it's a bit far, some students choose this cheaper alternative, and then spend the day in the area closer by the univeristy searching for suitable permanent housing.
There's no need to worry too much about finding housing off-campus. The Language Center staff is happy to help you find a suitable place and get settle in. Our first and foremost goal is to make sure you have a place to stay.
There is an abundance of housing options in the vicinity of Feng Chia. Most of the time all housing is partly or fully furnished, the minimum basic outfit for a room being a desk, a chair, a bed, a clothing cabinet and a bathtub or shower and washbasin. The two most suitable solutions seem to be the following:
The drawback may be that you don't know from the start how people will behave as house mates; the advantage on the other hand being that you pay as much as for a studio of your own, but that you get to use a kitchen and if you want to buy appliances such as a TV, a fridge or hook on cable you can split costs, while at the same time you still have the privacy of your own room. Three- to four-bedroom apartments in the area range from NT$ 13,000 to 18,000 a month plus utilities and janitorial services. Remember that some landlords want a deposit of three months, others demand that the rent be paid up front for one semester.
Keep in mind that whatever solution you choose, you will probably have to provide the following of your own: bedding, towels and a fan (in case there is no aircon and even with aircon it is advised to get a fan). Extras are a TV, a telephone and a fridge and in case of an apartment: pots and pans, kitchen utensils and a stove or hot plate.
The area around Feng Chia teems with appliance stores and the like, so picking up what you need should not pose too many problems and prices are often lower than downtown.
All utilities have to be paid for by the tenants, i.e. electricity, water, gas, cable and phone, with for newer buildings a nominal janitorial service fee for cleaning, maintenance and security. In some more recent buildings a flat rate will be charged for these services, except for the cable TV and gas, the latter often being in canisters.
Another advantage of arriving a few days ahead of registration in Taiwan is that you will have more time to find a studio or an apartment and also will have a wider choice.
Finding a room on your own should not be too much of a problem in the Feng Chia area and prices are definitely much, much lower than those in Taipei. There are quite a few public bulletin boards close to the main gate of the university, on which rental information can be found, usually written on red paper. Room rates off campus usually range from NT$ 5,000 to 8,000 per month; however, rooms are often rented out only on a 6-month term basis following the University semesters (September-January and February-June).
If you want to find your own housing accommodation, things depend on what kind of building you want to live in and what the contract with your landlord says, but whether you are living in a room, a studio or an apartment, you will have to take care of a number of things yourself.
Most things in Taiwan will not cost too much until you begin purchasing specialty items. Here is what you can expect to spend in Taichung for the following (all estimates in NT$):
In a study conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Taipei is ranked 48th in highest cost of living. In comparison to Beijing (20) and Shanghai (27), Taiwan itself is well below the expenses of major cities. Comparing costs in Taipei and Taichung, Taichung is considerably cheaper. For example, road-side meals and drinks are approximately 30% cheaper in Taichung, and shared apartments, or single-room apartments (with a bathroom but no kitchen), are 2/3rd's the price or less as well (of course actual location plays a factor in price of accommodation for both cities).
Apart from the financial aspect, there's another, maybe even more important but less definable in figures and that is the environment. Taipei is a giant metropolis with millions of people vying for available space, trying to prove to the world how modern it can be, thereby losing some of its uniquely Chinese aspects. Apart from being dramatically cheaper, life in Taichung is also much more laid back, much more traditional and less westernized.
Around the Corner
Places to Shop
Around the Corner
Places to Shop
Around the Corner
Places to Shop
When you walk down Wenhua Road for the first time, you may find it hard to resist the temptation to buy clothes, knickknacks and jewelry from millions of vendors who set up a shop and overflow the narrow street as soon as the sun is about to set.
After 7-8 p.m., unbearable crowds of shoppers transform this road into a hectic market. Here, you can find anything you need to survive at Feng Chia University without ever having to go downtown! Most of the clothes are cheap — in price and quality — but with a little bit of browsing, good bargains surely can be found. You'll see lots of replicated designer items such as Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Versace and Calvin Klein.
There is no need to pack your whole wardrobe and bring every type of toiletry item you can get your hands on. You can find just about every necessity in Taichung for a reasonable price. We recommnend saving some space in your suitcase to bring back some sovenirs or for things you bought here.
Below are some items you should definitely bring:
Aside from the items above, you can find everything you need in Taichung. Again, pack light, perhaps enough clothes to last you a 2 weeks. On your first night, you will probably make a trip to Carrefour, a hypermarket 15 minutes away, to buy what you need for the first month.
A trip downtown or to one of the big department stores is necessary if you want higher quality clothes, shoes, etc. The prices are sometimes even higher than those in Europe or the States, but seasonal sales offer great discounts (January and July). And even if you don't need anything, browsing around these classy stores can be an entertaining pastime.
Don't forget to check out the department stores, especially Shin Kong Mitsukoshiabout which is not too far from Feng Chia University, on Zhonggang Road and Zhong You, down the street from the Taichung Institute of Technology, at #161, Section 3, Sanmin Road. It's supposedly the biggest department store in Taiwan, some even boast it's the biggest in South-east Asia. You can walk (20 minutes) or take a taxi to Zhong You from downtown. The lone Taichung Sogo is at the intersection of Zhonggang Road and Meicun Road. Our neck of the woods continues to put up department stores, with the addition of Tiger City, one intersection after Zhonggang Road when heading south on He'nan Road.
For your daily necessities, the convenience stores around Feng Chia University will do. Remember that as of 1 October 2002, convenience stores and supermarkets won't distribute free plastic bags anymore. The government is systematically trying to curb the really bad habit of wrapping every single item in a plastic bag that then is thrown away. Get yourself a sturdy shopping bag and make your small contribution to a cleaner and healthier environment. Be sure to remember that the FCU campus has officially banned all disposable bags; a sign at the main gate admonishes you not to carry any such bags on campus.
The closest supermarket is Matsusei which is a 5 minute walk away from the University on Feng Chia Road. Sounds Japanese? Yup, Matsusei carries several Japanese products and goods are reasonably priced. If you're in the mood for cooking your own western food, you can take the bus to an import store and check their stock. Refried beans and tortillas, Campbell's Soup, cheeses, cereals, spaghetti sauce, etc. should be available. The most popular import store is Mei Chen Hsiang Bakery and Grocery at No. 116, Section 1, Meicun Road, with a branch downtown at No. 87, Zhongshan Road. You may find a smaller selection of imported goods at Finga's Base Camp, (No. 61, Zhongming South Road, 2327-7750). Ming Feng Bakery Supply is also a popular shop for buying Western food products. They are at No. 151-25, Zhongqing Road (near the Taichung domestic airport). Closed on Mondays, open from 08:30 to 19:00. Not that many imported products as one would hope, but for sure the best prices for whatever you can think of can be found at one of the three Carrefours No. 625, Sec.1, Cungde Road (next door to Church's Fried Chicken), on Zhongqing Road, a little past the exit ramp, and No. 533 Datun Road, (2310-8467). A very large assortment of fruits, vegetables and meat and a decent choice of cheaper French wine. The purchase of a fresh baguette, a bottle of wine and a Camembert could make for a nice French evening at a reasonable price.
For imported food items you may also want to check out the Japanese Yumaowu supermarkets or the food departments in the basements of Mitsukoshi, Sogo and Zhong You. In particular, the basement supermarket in Mitsukoshi has an excellent variety of imported Italian, Thai and of course Japanese food products. The Frog branch in this supermarket has a wide variety of French cheese, but their stuff tends to be pretty pricy. A branch of Carrefour opened in 2004, just down the way from us at No. 207-18, Section 2, Qinghai Rd.
Costco, America's largest wholesale retailer, also opened its Taichung branch in 2008. You'll find a lot of goods from the United States plus good quality meat and produce. If you can store bulks of food in your apartment or dorm, Costco isyour choice of grocery. Like every costco chain, you will need a membership card to enter. And of course, a car. The Taichung Branch is located on No.289 Wenxin South 3rd Rd. Nantun District
Taichung offers about 80 movie screens and it should be no wonder since Chinese see more pictures each year than Americans, averaging about 40 films annually! Only the Indians beat them in attendance. Nearly every weekend at least one new Western picture opens so you'll have no trouble in finding a show. The problem comes with many of the theaters: their audio often is muddy (because Chinese people read the words, not listen to them), and the government censors often mercilessly chop up the steamy scenes. Some movies are butchered so terribly that they are hard to follow in Taiwan, so consider yourself warned. On the other end of the spectrum, there are new movie complexes in Sin Kong Mitsukoshi and Tiger City, the latter additionally offering private luxury rooms.
Most first-run films start at NT$ 190 and can go as high as NT$ 260. Your student ID from Feng Chia can qualify you for a student discount at quite a few theaters, so take it with you! Or another solution is to go to either Da Zhong or New Student Sound CD store or the Kingstone bookstore and buy a movie coupon at NT$ 190 that you exchange for the movie ticket of your choice at the theater.
You don't necessarily have to go up to Taipei to find some interesting cultural performances, though the big stars (Madonna, Michael Jackson, Sting, Phil Collins, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Wynton Marsalis, the Cranberries, Pat Metheny, Beastie Boys…) naturally only visit the capital. If you keep your eyes and ears open, tell your local friends to inform you about cultural performances or regularly drop by at the Cultural Center or the Main Library (behind Taichung Park, at the corner of Shuangshi Road and Qingwu Road) to pick up some information, you will undoubtedly be able to sample quite a variety of spectacles. They may range from Taiwanese puppet shows to Chinese opera, or classical concerts in both Chinese and Western, to theatrical productions or modern dance performances of international level. Most of the time these events are held in either the Zhong Shan Hall (Xueshi Road, next to the Zhong Zheng Park) or the Zhong Xing Hall (next to the Main Library, behind Taichung Park). Especially the Zhong Shan Hall is worth being mentioned because it has a very comfortable 2000-seat auditorium with nearly perfect acoustics. Tickets for most events are available at local bookstores that have a computer hookup, such as Caves and Senseio.
Kala Ok or KTV (Karaoke)
Karaoke clubs, aka Ka La O.K. in Chinese, aka KTVs (a karaoke in your own private room) are Asia's claim to fame. Seemingly shy people stand up with a microphone in hand and croon into a speaker with the words and background music of their favorite songs. The first time you go, you'll laugh at the sudden transformation of your Chinese friends, but soon after, it gets old real quick. Quite a few people like to spend hours there, so expect to sing several old songs you have already long forgotten if you go. Anyway, it's harmless fun unless you walk into an MTV or KTV that is run by the Chinese Mafia or a place where semi-naked hostesses toast with you for a fee and eulogize your Chinese as soon as you say a simple, badly pronounced Ni hao. So choose a nice, clean and well-lit establishment. Besides, it is a perfect occasion to practice your reading ability of Chinese characters once you're in a higher level and an ideal way to become accepted by the locals if you are ready to sing some songs in Mandarin or even Taiwanese. With some drinks beforehand (or you buy some before and smuggle them in, because some places can be really expensive) and a blend of Chinese and Western friends, this may become an evening you will remember forever! Kala OKs are going out of business or havr turned into membership clubs, because the privacy of a KTV allows for more fun and less initial embarrassment. Of course there's the endless variation on this theme in places such as an RTV (restaurant Karaoke), DTV (disco) or PDK(piano bar-disco-karaoke). There are so many places that it won't be a problem to find one on your own. Actually quite a few touring buses have complete libraries of prerecorded Kala OK tapes for their eager passengers and often a real hostess will start the warm-up singing. Get ready for our cultural trips, because most of the time, the coaches that we use also provide that service.
Pubs and Nightclubs
Around Feng Chia there aren'tt any real pubs or bars (any more). Pub crawling is seemingly not a Taiwanese invention. Most students seem to be happy with the offer they get from the tea shops, video game arcades, internet cafes, KTVs, bowling alleys and snooker palaces. So, for the real action you will have to go downtown.
Downtown Taichung and the newly developed area south of TaichungGang Road and West of Wenxin Road has a very busy nightlife, some say the best in Taiwan. The local nightlife is fueled by hundreds of pubs, discos, clubs, bars and the like turning the otherwise relaxed city into one big hectic party venue. It is quite impossible to keep an extensive list of all the popular hangouts updated, since they come and they go so fast. As for restaurants and teashops, your best bet is to pick up the latest copy of the Compass magazine or to log on to their website and check out the Nightlife link. Also check Taiwannights.com , a website exclusive to all nightclub events and parties in Taiwan. Most of the listings will be events in Taipei, but you'll find a couple big promotions for Taichung here and then.
Suffice it to say that The Frogs, Ala's Saxophone Pub, 19th Hole, JD's and Cocona have been around for quite some years, though it's no guarantee that they will still be there today… You just go out there and explore!
Depending how you look at it, the May '92 opening of McDonald's on the corner of FengChia Road and Fuxing Road is either a blessing or an evil enticement. But admit it, it would be a tremendous shame to limit your eating experiences to this and other Western-oriented establishments. Taiwan is renowned for its outstanding Chinese cuisine, both local and imported from the Mainland mainly after 1949. If you start sampling here in Taichung, you can find excellent food from all over China — Sichuan, Yunnan, Hakka, Shanxi, Beijing, Guangdong, even Mongolia (we won’t start a historico-political discussion here) — and most for very reasonable prices.
If you’re in for something special, try the duck noodles (dry or with soup) on the first alley to the right of Wenhua Road, past Fuxing Road (right side, third shop). It opens around 17:00. And if you fall for it, take a side dish of duck liver to go with the noodles!
It's not easy to avoid meat in Taiwanese/Chinese foods, but it may be possible for those with firm determination and diligence. Everybody has his own ideas about what he will and will not eat (meat, meat products, dairy, whatever). Meat is considered a delicious part of Chinese food, so even vegetable dishes often contain meat for flavoring. For vegans, there is, however, a whole variety of soy milks and other supplements. Compared to the West, there is actually more opportunity for a creative, cheap and well-balanced vegetarian diet. The main problem is that the language keeps most people who have just arrived from discerning what food is safe.
The safest bets are Buddhist restaurants; although some of the food may look like meat, it's all made from beans and vegetables. These shops or stands are often marked with a reversed swastika (this symbol may also be found on safe, \"Buddhist' packaged food in grocery stores). The drawback is that these places may use MSG or sweeteners to enhance flavor.
Authentic Taiwanese Cuisine
With the growing awareness of Taiwan's identity as being different from Mainland China's, there is also a true renaissance of traditional Taiwanese cuisine. Two establishments have an extremely typical atmosphere and are certainly worth a visit, though you’d better go with a minimum of four people to split the bill and sample the food.
International cuisine may be one of Taichung’s fastest expanding businesses; more and more places cater for a Taiwanese and foreign clientele that wants to try different ethnic food. So far Taichung has Caribbean, French, German, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mexican, Pakistani, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Swiss and Vietnamese restaurants. Giving details about all the restaurants in town, would be a full-time job, since the scene changes so fast. For a fairly complete listing of the latest in ethnic food, log on to the Compass website and check out their restaurant reviews. The site lists all the restaurants and eateries that have been reviewed since January 1999. For a thematic listing of restaurants according to their ethnicity, browse through the Dining Listings of the Compass Magazine.
For our Korean students who want to cook their own Korean food, ingredients can be bought at the Da Han Restaurant, #296, Dadun 12th Street (2319.1852), behind the Dadun Carrefour outlet.
For Thai food ingredients your best bet is Kon Thai, the Thai goods supermarket in the First Square Complex, 3rd floor, unit 258 (2292.6484). Another option is the Thai Restaurant at #139, Section 3, Zhongshan Road in Tanzi, Taichung County (2532.3331).
Students holding a visa sponsored by Feng Chia University Chinese Language Division are NOT permitted to work in their first year of study. When they are found to be working illegally, they will be deported.
In recent years the government has taken steps to crack down on foreign nationals working without a work permit. This has affected students working as English teachers while pursuing their Chinese studies.
Students who have studied at the FCU Language Center for a minimum of twelve months continuously and have shown excellent academic progress may apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Education. They may then work up to a maximum of twelve hours per week.
Students without a work permit are forbidden to work at any job, including language teaching or part-time jobs. For more information, please download the full text of the Regulations Governing Foreign Student Work Permits and Employment.
Students holding Working Holiday visa are allowed to work in Taiwan.
For more detailed information about Taiwan Working Holiday Program, please visit Taiwan Working Holiday Website