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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

My Elective Posting at Tzu Chi Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan – Part 1

 My Elective Posting at Tzu chi Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan – Part 2 Reaching Our Hostel

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Minquan Rd 民权路 actually has all the essentials of living that you will need.

1. J-Mart – a 4-storey building to stock up snacks and household stuff, also has skincare, cosmetics etc. So you can find whatever you lack in your hostel here. *Carrefour is too far IMHO since you will need to catch a bus/taxi and lug around so many stuff*

2. Telcos – walk down and you will see THREE telco outlets here. Taiwan Mobile has the best prepaid rates if you only utilise minimal data usage (NTD300/month inclusive of NTD100 talk time and 1G data). I got this since hostel has wifi (not v fast also la), and I only use the data plan during the weekend outings or at the hospital. I finished my NTD100 talk time within 1 week after just a few calls to my mates. From then on I was very very careful and made full use of LINE/whatsapp msgs and voice calls. There is also a NTD600 plan but I forgot what it covers. For prepaid unlimited monthly data plans, Taiwan Mobile and FarEas Tone monthly rates are comparable to each other at about NTD900. We arrived at the airport quite late plus the rates we saw there were crazily expensive so we wouldn’t buy them anyway even if they were open. And even if they are open, Taiwan Mobile airport outlet always has super long lines.

3. Pharmacy/Drugstore – Watsons and Cosmed available right here, no need to travel to city center to shop for drugstore skincare/haircare/cosmetics.

4. Food – Hospital vegetarian food at basement level with mine usually NTD70-ish (compared to my usual RM4.5-5 economy rice in Alor Setar), Taiwanese breakfast joints, ‘kopitiam’ & 7-11 microwaved food at NTD70-ish, Beef noodles at NTD110 upwards, breads/buns NTD30-ish, jap style fast food at NTD200-ish, western food at NTD350-ish. McD and Subway if you walk on further, while nightmarket food are a few MRT stops away.

5. Drinks – never sold at eateries unless they are restaurants. Easily available at 7-11 and family marts. Must try fresh fruit drinks namely the papaya milk and mango drinks (up to NTD100)! The mango juice/slushee is amazing because their 愛文芒果 is the most amazing juiciest sweetest heavenly mango ever I have tasted in my whole life! Must try the actual fruit too.

Too bad it’s only available in summer. Milk teas and the like from NTD35-45. 50嵐 (pronounced 50 Lan) is very famous and the nearest to our hostel. For my 6 weeks of stay there, i have tried and loved Coco, 清玉,ComeBuy, and even had a few sips of the sibeh expensive NTD180-ish milk tea from 春水堂. Wasn’t keen on trying ChaTime since it’s everywhere, here in Malaysia.

Taiwan’s Summer 2013 most popular Tea Drinks

6. DaPingLin MRT Station – The first stop and gateway to your excursions around and out of Taipei. Takes almost 40mins to reach Taipei Main Station.

Of course, you can walk much further and explore the adjacent roads, but these were sufficient enough for me to survive happily already.

Not sure of the road names but there were at least 3 other hospitals, schools, condos, more eateries, more shoplots if you walk and walk and walk………..

*dies from walking exhaustion*

Disclaimer: the above pics were Googled, sorry for any copy right issues if there are any!

Previous Post :

For a general view on Elective applications to Taiwanese hospitals

How to apply to Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital

My Taiwan Elective Budget and Spendings

My Elective Posting at Tzu Chi Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan – Part 1

Next Post:

My Elective Posting at Tzu Chi Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan – Part 3 Getting to know our surroundings

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Disclaimer: Having difficulty keying in Traditional Chinese Characters with this computer, will try changing to a different computer for the next post though =o=

We boarded an Air Asia plane from LCCT and reached Taoyuan Airport at about 1030pm. For the northern regions, actually there are direct flights from Penang to Taoyuan by AirAsia and Eva Air. Eva Air may be even cheaper than AA sometimes so should check it out.

We got our microSIM cards at the telco outlets near our hostel/hospital instead of the airport.

Most tourists get their SIM/microSIM/NanoSIM at the airport but since we arrived really late the counters were all closed, and even if they WERE open, there are usually HUGE lines waiting to purchase them especially Taiwan Mobile (台湾大哥大). This was actually good for us, and will be elaborated upon later.

We are 2 guys and 1 girl and since it was so late, we chose to take the taxi to our hostel and asked him to drop us 台北慈济医院宿舍 with the address 新店区民权路127巷2号. It is actually quite hidden from the road, but if you see a 7-11 or construction work or MRT exit located beside a small lane, just turn in that small lane and you will find a tall, gloomy, grey building that is gated on your right. Other landmarks opposite the small lane will be 75° C, KoChaBi Restaurant.

Other modes of transport for us would be – more troublesome/time constraints. If you’re interested and have less people and luggage with you, you can board a bus to Xindian then take a taxi or MRT (alight at 大坪林 DaPingLin Station) to reach the hostel. They are currently building another new MRT station just outside the hostel so that’s great for future students!

So, we went in through the open gates and upon entering the grey hostel building, there was a counter with a security guard on our right.

This security guard will handle all hostel matters – check you in, give you your keys, bedsheet/pillow case/blanket, and get your signatures for all these stuff. These security uncles are on shift duty and will be there 24 hours so it doesn’t really matter when you arrive. If you can’t find them, I was told that they would be opposite doing their inspection rounds in the hostel compound or opposite the hostel.

All hostel rooms are air conditioned double rooms with single beds, equipped with a small table with overlooking shelf, and a wardrobe for each person. The shared areas include the washing machine/dryer/balcony area, kitchen, sitting room with TV (but no satalite programs). For usage of the washing machine/dryer in your hostel unit is not allowed after 11pm (i think?) and if you really need to you can go to the ground floor/Level 2 (the security guard level) to do your washing.

Rooms are clean, but me being a cleanliness-obsessed freak swept and mopped the room anyway before putting the bedsheets and what not on, then started unpacking my stuff. By the time I fell asleep, it was already 3am.

I loved my ELECTIVE POSTING IN TAIWAN!

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