This September I am starting my second year or my master’s program at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. I had an amazing first year, but I gotta admit it was quite busy and also challenging at times, especially in the beginning. So I thought I would share some of my experiences and tips with you all, in case there are some prospective students reading this blog who would like some advice for their upcoming years ahead at NCCU.
My first tip me and all my classmated learned quickly in the first few days: the campus map you get at orientation or can pick up from OIC (Office of International Cooperation, located on the 8th floor of the Administration building) is going to be your new best friend. NCCU campus is quite big and even has a downhill and an uphill campus, so getting to your classes and finding the buildings that you need can be quite confusing at first. No worries, you will find you way pretty soon – but in the first two weeks keeping that foldable map with you will be really helpful, and it will be also a nice keepsake after you finished your studies.
Secondly: iNCCU. This is the online system of the school that you will use for a variety of things, so once you receive your login data, log in to the system and try to get familiar with it. The most useful menus that you will use often:
- The Libary’s page – you can serach the catalog throughout all the university libraries and log in to databases with NCCU access to journals
- E-Learning WM5 / Moodle – which the teachers usually use for distributing class material
- Campus Web Info Portal – so many menu points, though unfortunately it is mostly in Chinese. If you live in the dorm, you can check your registered mail here or apply for dormitory for next year, etc.
- The Student Development Info – this is where you can check your dormitory roommate and more importantly your grades at the end of the semester
- NCCU Mail – this is your university e-mail account. We usually get a lot of random mail, all in Chinese and you have to hunt for messages from your professors amonst these. The professors like to message students via the university e-mail and not your regular address, so make sure you check it regularly and don’t miss any tests or cancelled classes!
Thirdly, course selection. Course selection at NCCU happens online, firstly at the First and Second Initial Course Selection period, the dates for which are available in the NCCU calendar on the main website. You can log in with your student ID number and password here and search through courses. It’s important to set the language to English before you log in, otherwise you won’t be able to do that later. Click on ‘Check Course Schedule’ for searching for classes. What is not so self-explainatory is this menu I think, Course Registration. So if you click that you will see:
Let me explain it a little bit. Under the Course List tab you will later see the list of the courses you got into, At the ‘Waiting & Course-selecting list‘ tab you will firstly see the courses you selected that you would like to take, and then later the courses you selected but got placed on the waiting list for, with your place on the list as well as the max. number of students for the course. The Tracking list is where you can put all the courses you are even slightly interested in before adding them to your course selection list. When you are searching for courses there is a button to put them on your tracking list – so I usually put all the ones that seem somewhat suitable for me, then later check my tracking list, and looking at the class times and everything I decide which ones I would like to actually add. Dropping list will later be for those courses you got into but would like to drop.
The first and second initial course selection periods are both before the school year starts and you can freely add and drop courses during these times. Then classes start around the second week of September and the first week of classes is what we call the shopping week. This week you can go into all the classes you got into and to ones you maybe didn’t but you are interested in and check which ones you like. During this week you can still add and drop courses online – and if there is a course you would really like to take but didn’t get into, you can try to talk to the professor, because they can still let you take their course. During the second week of the classes you won’t be able to do anything online, but with a paper form and the permission (signature) of the professor you can still add or drop courses. I hope this will make course selection a little bit easier for you, but if you have any questions feel free to ask me in the comments or in e-mail.
Lastly, about the classes. Obviously, I can only share my experience for my major (I am a student of the International Masters for International Communication Studies or IMICS program) so it might be completely different for majors in other fields. So for my undergrad studies I majored in international relations at ELTE in Budapest and most of my classes were big lectures, with crazy exams at the end of the semester, but not many assignment throughout. We did have presentations and smaller assignments here and there in seminars, but the majority of the classes were the lecture+exam kind. Well, my classes at IMICS were the exact opposite. They are all seminars with a class of maybe 20-25 people maximum, loads of readings, assignments and projects. Here you never have an “I don’t have anything to do” moment because there will always be some kind of coursework you should be doing. Of course, some teachers are more strict about the readings while others aren’t but with all the papers you have to write, the group projects you have to work on there is always a lot of work waiting for you. So I suggest you get a planner and try to plan your days wisely!
This is all I wanted to write for now – but if you have any questions or any topic you would like me to elaborate on, just let me know in the comments below!