Posted in Taiwan

About The Banks In Taiwan

Hi guys!

If you’re going to stay in Taiwan for a while, you may want to open a bank account there, or at least use some banking service. But this comes with some certain questions.

With the help of my Taiwanese friends and the help of google as well haha, I got the pieces of info I need and here they are:

1/ Bank Account Opening Procedure

The general procedure for opening a bank account in Taiwan is stated clearly on the Taiwan Immigration Office’s website:

http://iff.immigration.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=1238562&ctNode=34356&mp=iff_en

I would like to emphasize that you must acquire an ID Number or an ARC before you can properly live in Taiwan. Without them? Okay, then no SIM Card, no bank account, no contract… And after some weeks after you enter Taiwan, living without them means living illegally. So the first thing you should do in Taiwan is go getting them ASAP.

2/ Which bank to choose?

If you want an international bank: HSBC, Citibank and everything else are in Taiwan. They are not really different than their sisters in your own country. However, their branches are limited to big cities only. And it’s hard to find their ATMs.

If you want a local one: Go for Cathay or CTBC. Cathay has their ATMs in all the MRT stations and CTBC has theirs in all the 7-11 stores all over the countries. And you can’t walk in a street of Taiwan without spotting at least one 7-11 store.

In fact you can also withdraw money from these ATMs even when your bank account is in another bank yet you will be charged a handling fee of TWD 5.00 each time. It’s just a very tiny amount of money, but I myself prefer not to pay this so I go with CTBC.

3/ Where to exchange money?

It’s the Bank of Taiwan that offers the best exchange rate with no commision fee. So go there!

http://www.bot.com.tw/English/BankServices/ForeignExchangeServices/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

 

 

Posted in Taiwan

Useful Websites For Foreign Students In Taiwan

I had a short talk several days ago with another student who is also coming to Taipei soon. I recommended him to try to look for his accommodation ASAP because around this time, the good places are more likely to be taken. And he replied with “but I don’t even know where to look”. At that very point, it’s hard for me to keep up the conversation. My feeling is like, “What??? Am I talking with someone who just traveled across the time from the 1980s?”

It’s the era of the Internet and a college student from the US tells me he doesn’t know where to look for information! Okay, this is too hard for me to take in. At least, we always have Google, don’t we?

Anyway, here are my favorite websites about Taiwan, which I find extremely helpful:

  1. Forumosa Forum

A forum for expats in Taiwan. A very abundant source of info about what a foreigner may encounter during his/ her stay in Taiwan.

The forum is in English, entirely ❤

They have just changed the design from PHPBB to Discourse some days ago. I… eh, don’t quite love it. But maybe you will, haha.

  1. Tealit

Everything is here. Language exchange/ tutor ads, apartment for rent ads, entertainment ads etc… You can have a good time browsing this website for a lot of services in any city of Taiwan.

However, the website feels a little bit too crowded for my personal reference X”D Some apartment ads are without photos and that’s it.

  1. Fichet

Information about study in Taiwan: scholarship, competitions, education fairs and so on.

Their other website: Study in Taiwan

  1. Taiwan Immigration Office

Please, just please stop looking up visa information and customs regulation in travel agencies’ websites!!! I have seen too many people making this damn mistake then getting into big trouble and that annoys me to no ends. Just last week, one of my friends was lured by a visa agency to fake paper in order to enter Taiwan and it took me a whole damn hour to talk her out of that trap…

Why, why, why? Why don’t you go to the official website of your destination country’s Immigration Office??? People, why???

  1. Taiwan Railway

Everything about the railway transportation in Taiwan.

For High Speed Railway, you come here.

  1. RentalTW

Apartments for lease. Clear info, good service.

  1. Taipei Metro

If you are coming to Taipei, you’re gonna use the metro.

  1. Contact Taiwan

Want a job in Taiwan? This is the website for you!

 

We are living in 2016. If you speak English, you have access to the Internet and you do not make an effort to equip yourself with info – I will seriously consider the possibility that you are a time traveler. And if you ever find yourself losing some money or getting into some trouble because of a lack of info, well, you can’t blame anyone or anything but yourself then.

FYI, 3 years ago I once lost around 1000 bucks just because I was too lazy to search for information. I never really forgive myself for that, even until this very moment when I’m typing this phrase.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Mental Health

How To Stop Postponing What You Should Do

All of us have gone through this situation one time or another in our lives: there is something we should do, and there is nothing to stop us from doing it but… still, we just don’t do it. We keep on postponing it again and again.

This is called the Akrasia effect. It can be interpreted simply like this: Our brain is tempted by immediate satisfaction (being lazy and not doing anything) than long-term benefits (finishing the task and achieving some result).

The thing is we keep on postponing even when the task is not difficult. Sometimes, it can even be very enjoyable. We postpone not because we don’t want to do it, but because we don’t want to start doing it. The most difficult thing for us is not to actually do the job, but to escaping from the lazy mode.

Yesterday I had a long talk with my friend on this, mostly on how to stop this effect’s influence on his life ’cause it has been causing him too much distress.

The piece of advice that I gave him is to minimize the task that he needs to do. If he has to clean his house, just thinking of it would be too much for him and he will never start. So, scale down the task to, for example, cleaning his room instead. Still, he doesn’t want to start this new task? No problem, scale it down more: cleaning his desk. Still too much? How about just cleaning one corner of the desk? Still? Okay, just put a pen on the desk back to its proper place!

The point is: Minimizing the task will cheat the lazy self inside of us. Just picking up a pen and putting it back into the pen case – doing that feels like doing nothing, doesn’t it? Your lazy inner self will not stop you from doing that. Yet once you finish this very small task, you have crossed the border of “postponing” and “starting doing things”. You will have to very tendency to clean the corner of your desk, then the whole desk, then your room and the whole house after that. As long as you cross the border, there is nothing to hold you back. And, voilà!

I recommend this tip to my friend because it worked for me. There are many times that I find myself finishing 2 hours of household work with the beginning of just lifting up something from the floor or similar small moves.

So, if you are under the heavy influence of the Akrasia effect, give it a try! Good luck!

Posted in Studying

IELTS Tips: How To Draft The IELTS Writing Task 2

I originally write this as a small tutorial for my little sister on how to draft the IELTS Writing Task 2.

1/ Opening & Conclusion 

You will not write drafts for opening and conclusion paragraphs. You will write them like a writing machine. I will have a tutorial on the formula to write them later.

2/ Body paragraphs

These paragraphs are what you need to draft. And this is how you will do it:

  • Draft your big ideas in key words. Each of these ideas will be presented in a paragraph.
  • Each big ideas should be supported by 2 – 3 sub-points. The sub-points need to go with examples (not all of them, but most of them will need). If you have 3 sub-points, 2 examples would be fine enough, 3 are even better.
  • Note ALL the vocabularies (related to the topic) that you can think of on the top of the paper. That way, when you’re writing, you won’t have to stop to find a word. And you will not have to go through this frustration:”Oh I thought of that very suitable word when I was doing the draft but now I forget what it is!”
  • Note the grammar structures that you want to use in another corner of the paper (for example: Simple Past, Past Perfect, Present Perfect Continuous etc…)

So, in the end, your draft paper will look like this:

 

13942605_1631087983848650_117041095_n

 

Posted in Mental Health, TED Talks

Top Talks For Depressed Souls

In my war against depression, I managed to gain control after ten years or so. Yet its remnants remain inside of me, hitting me hard sometimes. Like yesterday, there was nothing going wrong in my life but I suddenly felt like I almost broke down on my feet.

Depression is not being sad when there is something wrong, it’s being sad when there’s nothing wrong., Kevin Breel said something along that line in his TED Talk. That’s so damn true.

It’s hard to say what to do when you’re depressed. Because, like any other depressed person, I know that damn thing: when you are depressed, you do not want to do anything, even just lift a finger.

Mostly, I will spend those times lying on the floor, or a little better – on my bed, doing nothing but feeling bad. Feeling terrible. Feeling like no matter what I do, my life is totally messed up beyond recovery etc… Damn those days of depression.

Anyway, I must think of a way to get better. I recall all the cases of depression that I know and how they end, either terribly or happily. Soon enough, I begin to treat my depression just as another case. Analyze it, try to understand it… or not. Yet that way surely makes me feel better in some ways. Knowing that I’m not battling alone (like what my depression makes me think), knowing that it is quite usual to be this way and there are people getting healed out there… – those pieces of knowledge help me to last through my hardest days.

There are talks that really help me out, therefore I think of sharing them, hoping they can help someone else. So here they are:

Depression, the secret that we share – Andrew Solomon

Confession of a depressed comic – Kevin Breel

 

 

Posted in TED Talks

How To Make Filthy Water Drinkable

Michael Pritchard talks about his invention: the Life Saver bottle which turns dirty water into drinkable one.

Such a big invention. And if this idea is not worth spreading, I don’t know which else is.

By the way, the subtitle of this video is set as “French”. One of my pleasures in learning languages is to watch a video in a foreign language while reading its subtitle in another foreign one. That pleases the language geek inside of me.

Posted in Studying, Travel

Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 2

Okay, so we have gone through “What not to pack” in the part 1 of my Packing Tips For Studying Abroad series. Now it’s time to look at what to pack.

Part 2: What To Pack

1. Medication

If you have any prescribed medication, bring them with you.

Prepare some more for your usual sickness. Ex: I often have fevers so I have some paracetamol in my bag.

Band-aid & several first-aid items.

All of them in your carry-on.

Continue reading “Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 2”

Posted in Studying, Travel

Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 1

For one year of studying abroad, I pack a check baggage of 20 kg and a carry-on of 7kg. That surprises anyone around me. Because it is very usual for people to think of students going abroad with 2 suitcases – 40kg each, one or two back packs, one or two bags and some cartons etc… The hell! Forget that idea. I’m going to tell you how to pack your life in one suitcase of 20kg and 1 carry-on of 7kg without leaving any necessary things behind. Believe me, I’m the one that lived comfortably with just a carry-on in the mid of winter in a foreign country while my co-workers struggled even when they had brought a bulky suitcase with them.

PART 1 – WHAT NOT TO PACK

Continue reading “Packing Tips For Studying Abroad: Part 1”

Posted in Studying, Taiwan, Travel

10 Tips For Foreign Students Coming To Taipei For The First Time

Howdy!

Are you going to Taipei soon for the new schoolyear? If it’s a yes, okay we’re on the same boat XD

It’s not my first time to Taiwan so I kinda have some experiences.

Besides, I have Taiwanese friends so they give me pieces of advice.

Among those, I guess there are things that I should share with anyone who is going to Taipei.

Continue reading “10 Tips For Foreign Students Coming To Taipei For The First Time”

Posted in Studying

French Learning: Find Yourself A Native Pen Pal

Last year I got this piece of advice from my French teacher (who is a miraculous woman, Je vous aime bien Madame :”3). I had 3 hours of French sessions with her every week, yet that was not enough to satisfy my thirst for French language. Then she advised me to get a native pen pal.

So I went to francais facile, created an account and began searching for someone to talk to.

Among numerous talks that led to nowhere [and sometimes I encountered ones that were trying to lure people into some, eh, hard-to-describe activities hahaha =))], I – fortunately – found a very nice pen pal there. We became friends later on and he is definitely one of my most amiable buddies now.

By the way, Francais facile is a good source of materials for learning French, even when you are not interested in finding someone to talk to. It offers French lessons and exercises by topics. The exercises are mostly short and quite effective.

So, if you are a French learner, give it a try.