Before moving on you might want to read my previous posts:

For a general view on Elective applications to Taiwanese hospitals

How to apply to Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital

My Taiwan Elective Budget and Spendings

Must know before even considering applying for an elective at Taiwan:

1. Language – All discussions with hospital personnel will largely be in Mandarin or very broken English, Patient interviews maybe in Mandarin (Taipei area, younger generation) or Taiwanese (Hualien area, older generation).

2. Which hospital to apply to – Being Malaysian, we may not be accredited by Taiwan’s health ministry, so the hospitals have the liberty to choose and may or may not accept your application (Yes I’m talking about 台大). For the ones that DO accept, teaching hospitals are pretty busy, for example, the surgical department in Hualien’s Tzu Chi Hospital is vvv busy and I heard from the students that scoldings can be common whereas Taipei’s Tzu Chi Hospital although being quite busy has less medical students, hence you get more attention, love and care from the specialists. Not too sure about other hospitals like Veterans or NTU or TMU

3. Application fee/enrolment fee – please refer to the respective posts above or official websites of the hospitals. As I know, all hospitals in Taipei charges for electives except for Tzu Chi Hospitals. Do update me if i’m wrong.

4. Cost of food is definitely higher than Malaysia, and you might get addicted to their milk teas and other beverages because they are amazing and so easily available.

5. A shoe string budget surviving on the bare minimum for 6 weeks will be about RM3000 worth of NTD. If you travel extensively during the weekend/eat good stuff every weekend/shop, even RM6000 may not be enough

6. Taiwanese in general are very hospitable and welcomes foreigners gladly

Must know before considering applying for an elective at Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital:

1. Google Tzu Chi Foundation and Master Cheng Yan if you don’t already have an idea about what it is. Have some respect for religious differences if you’re not a part of Tzu Chi/Buddhist (like me, hehe)

2. All food sold in the hospital/allowed in hostel is Vegetarian. But then again, some ppl might sneak in non-vege food, you never know. Otherwise, if you need your meat, a short walk away are various and numerous non-vege outlets to satisfy your cravings. Anyway, there are always 7-11 or Family Marts.

3. Very near to MRT – 10 mins walk from hostel/hospital which gives you access to anywhere in Taipei, including tourist sights and nightmarkets

4. Very near hostel – 7 minutes of brisk walking or 13 minutes of strolling leisurely (yes, i timed myself hehe)

5. Various shops nearby including 7-11/Family Mart, mom and pop eateries, fast food, restaurants, telco companies (no need to buy sim card at the airport, and queue like crazy), pharmacies (think cosmed or watsons), a supermarket

6. Spoken language as above. Case notes in English. Hospital’s information system in Traditional Chinese, although case notes and drug names are in English.

Follow up Posts:

Part 2 Reaching Our Hostel