Studying in Taiwan

Study in Taiwan
Updated 2023-05-20 20:06

Taiwan has numerous universities that offer programs for students from a wide range of disciplines. There are courses that are taught in English to attract more international students, but most students come to Taiwan to study Mandarin.

While there are programs through your home university to send you for a semester or a whole year to study in Taiwan, it is also possible to sign up for courses on your own.

Universities in Taiwan operate on a similar schedule to schools in the US, with Fall and Spring terms. However, the fall term ends in early January, and the spring term begins after the Lunar New Year and runs until July.

Student visa for Taiwan

For students enrolled in university programs, student visas are required even if the duration of the program is less than 90 days. Student visas forbid the bearer from working in Taiwan unless approved by the school. The Employment Services Act states that if employment is approved by the school, said employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week. That amount can be increased, though, during the summer and winter breaks.

Student visas offered for the purpose of studying Mandarin in Taiwan are valid for up to 180 days, are renewable, and can be transferred to a resident visa in some cases. For students earning a degree in Taiwan, the university will provide assistance in applying for a resident permit.

The application form for a student visa is available online via the Bureau of Consular Affairs website. There, applicants will find a full list of requirements, including but not limited to two passport-sized photos, a health certificate obtained from the Center for Disease Control of the Ministry of Health (obtained after landing), originals and copies of one's enrollment record, and so on.

These applications can be filed either before moving to Taiwan at one of Taiwan's de facto embassies, known as TECO if there is one near you. Or, one can arrive on a landing visa and apply to change to a student visa while in Taiwan. The student visa costs NT$1,000 per year of enrollment,

For more information about student visas in Taiwan and the complete list of required supporting documents, check out the Ministry of Education website and the section of the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs pertaining to student visas.

Are international students allowed to work in Taiwan?

As mentioned above, international students in Taiwan are only allowed to work if their schools allow it.

Before starting any employment, international students in Taiwan are required to apply to the Workforce Development Agency of the Ministry of Labor for a work permit. The Ministry of Education, however, generally encourages students to focus on their studies rather than work and study at the same time.

It is technically possible to pick up private tutoring work that pays in cash to supplement income.

Good to know:

If an international student is caught working while on a student visa, even doing private tutoring, it is possible that their student visa will be revoked, and they could be deported from the country and subsequently banned for a period of time (usually one year).

What are the best universities in Taiwan?

The highest-ranked university in Taiwan is the National Taiwan University, which has its main campus in the capital city of Taipei. The school is currently ranked 187th in the world and is also the largest university in Taiwan in terms of faculty and student population. There are 2,000 faculty members at National Taiwan University and approximately 32,000 students.

The school was founded in 1928, during the Japanese Colonial Era in Taiwan, and the campus architecture reflects the Baroque style of the time. Programs of study at the university extend to liberal arts, science, social sciences, medicine, engineering, agriculture management, public health, law, computer science, and education.

National Taiwan University is also amongst the most culturally diverse schools in Taiwan, welcoming around 5,000 international students each year from around the world. The university boasts the largest library in Taiwan, has top indoor sports and athletic facilities, and has around 400 student clubs covering a wide variety of extracurricular interests. The various campuses of National Taiwan University are sprawling, with statistics showing that they cover about one percent of Taiwan's total land mass.

Aside from NTU, there are several other universities in Taiwan that are ranked amongst the top 300 universities worldwide. National Tsing Hua University, National Cheng Kung University, National Chiao Tung University and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology are all prominent schools in both the global and Asian overall rankings, between them having programs offered either wholly or at least partially in English for virtually any field of study one might wish to pursue. Another school popular with international students is Tamkang University in New Taipei City's Tamsui District, which offers many programs of study in English.

Scholarships in Taiwan

International students who want to earn a degree in Taiwan may apply directly to the universities. The federal government offers scholarships to international students. The scholarships cover the costs of tuition and books, as well as a modest living stipend. These scholarships are available for undergrad and graduate degrees.

Scholarships available specifically to study Mandarin are called the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. It provides a monthly stipend of NT$25,000. The application period is from February 1 to March 31. For more information, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Other scholarships offered through the government provide a monthly stipend of NT$25,000 for Mandarin language studies and NT$30,000 for academic degree studies. Information about other academic scholarships and research fellowships offered in Taiwan can also be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Individual universities also offer scholarships to international students. Each school will have its own requirements. Refer to individual university websites for more information.

Even without a scholarship, universities in Taiwan are more affordable than in the US and other countries such as Australia and the UK, with some programs costing less than $2000 per semester.

Private language schools offer a variety of courses for students who want to study Mandarin. However, these schools cannot assist in obtaining a visa, which is why most students sign up for short-term courses and then leave Taiwan for a short trip before returning for another course. Still, it is possible to find a short-term or full-year program through a language school and apply for a student visa on your own. You can only get a student visa if it is a government-approved Mandarin language program.

What is the cost of studying in Taiwan?

Tuition and other fees

Tuition fees in Taiwan vary widely, from relatively affordable to somewhat expensive. As is the case most everywhere in the world, public universities are cheaper to attend than private universities. International students are usually charged higher tuition fees than their local counterparts.

Tuition fees are charged per semester and run from US$900 to US$1,000 on average. At the high end of the scale, in graduate programs, tuition fees can rise to more than US$7,500 per semester.

After a certain number of completed semesters, universities may also require international students to pay what is called a “credit fee” in addition to their tuition fees. The credit fee is dependent upon how many credits the student may take in that semester. However, it is worth noting that the credit fee coupled with the basic tuition fee cannot exceed the amount indicated as the full tuition fee by the institution.

Student accommodation

A room in an on-campus or off-campus dormitory in Taiwan generally costs around NT$5,500 per month, or around US$150. Renting a single room in a shared accommodation, depending on where one lives and studies in Taiwan, can range from NT$6,000 to approximately NT$15,000. Rent is at its most expensive in Taipei and, as a general rule, becomes cheaper the further south one goes in the country.


The best way to save money on food expenditures during your stay in Taiwan is to cook at home, buying meat, fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients either at supermarkets or at morning wet markets. Prices at the wet markets are cheaper than those at the supermarkets, but dealing with wet market vendors may require at least some proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. Eating at small, local hole-in-the-wall eateries is the thriftiest way of living, with a bowl of beef noodles, for example, costing between NT$100 and NT$180. Grabbing breakfast at a neighborhood diner, places serving items such as egg crepe pancakes, coffee, soy milk, turnip cake, and other local favorites, is also a good way to keep food spending to a minimum, with the bill at these places for a full meal rarely exceeding NT$150.


Many bars and clubs in Taiwan have student nights or international nights, where those holding a student ID or international passport are admitted for a reduced price or even free. A unique feature of Taiwan is its all-you-can-drink bars, where punters pay a one-time fee at the door and can then imbibe to their heart's content—a student favorite.

As for other forms of entertainment, movie tickets range from NT$250 to NT$320, depending on where one resides in Taiwan. Again, the cost of entertainment runs highest in Taipei and is cheaper the further afield from the capital one goes. KTV, or karaoke, is popular among locals, and the cost of renting a room is about NT$500 per hour, not including the price of any food and/or drink one might order whilst singing the night away.

How is Taiwan for international students?

Taiwan is trying to attract more international students to increase numbers at local universities. This is in response to a declining and rapidly aging population, which is resulting in some private universities being forced to shut their doors due to an unsustainable number of incoming students. As such, international students in Taiwan are generally treated quite well. However, Taiwan is not without its share of controversy in this area, as there have been reports of Ugandan and Sri Lankan students being exploited for cheap labor.

Internships in Taiwan

Internships for overseas students in Taiwan are available, but certain criteria must be met for internships to be obtained. Firstly, students wishing to undertake an internship, paid or unpaid, must have obtained a bachelor's degree with an academic average of no less than 70 percent. Or, they can show that they have obtained a master's degree or higher or have received some sort of award or commendation at a skills competition or technology exhibition. Internship applications are filed through one's academic institution, and internships are not to exceed one year following the date of one's matriculation.

Employment after studying in Taiwan

Following graduation from an academic institution in Taiwan, international students in Taiwan may apply to the Labor Development Agency of the Ministry of Labor via their intended employer for a work permit, which would enable them to stay in Taiwan with a resident visa for the reason of employment rather than on a student visa. Applications are judged on a points-based quota system, which takes into account such factors as the applicant's academic standing, the proposed salary the applicant would receive, previous work experience, overall qualifications for the work to be undertaken, proficiency in Mandarin Chinese or other languages, and more. For a complete list of all things considered in a student's work permit application, please consult the official website of the Ministry of Education.

How many international students are in Taiwan?

Prior to the pandemic, international students comprised a sizeable percentage of the overall student population in Taiwan. In 2018, roughly one in ten students in Taiwan were from overseas, with the total number nearing 127,000—up 5,000 from the previous year. Of that number, the highest represented nation was China, with nearly one-fifth of all foreign students hailing from that country, followed by Malaysia, which had over 16,000 students in Taiwan. In 2019, the number of international students in Taiwan reached 130,000 for the first time.

The pandemic, however, brought these numbers crashing down. In 2021, there were just 93,000 international students in Taiwan. As of 2023, those numbers are still recovering. It is worth noting, however, that prior to the pandemic, the number of overseas students in Taiwan was steadily rising year on year. There is little reason to believe that, as the world recovers from the effects of the pandemic and freedom of travel returns, foreign student numbers in Taiwan won't similarly return to their pre-pandemic levels and beyond.

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