CET Taiwan was my very first experience traveling abroad. I've never really been away from home for an extended period of time; even at university, I visit home quite often, and my summer work also allows me to work at home. But for the duration of my time in the CET Taiwan program, I never had even one homesick day. Actually, for me, the saddest thing about this program is that it ended and that I had to go home.
I would recommend this program to the following...
...students who have never traveled abroad or to Asia. Taiwan is a friendly and beautiful city. If you think Taiwan's too "westernized", you need to do some self introspection regarding why you think that (hint: you have some existing prejudices that should be addressed with lots of research). Taiwan is a beautiful island with a diverse history. The city you live in--Taipei--is large, eventful, and incredibly convenient with regards to shopping and transportation. The metro system is clean and punctual. The convenience stores are always stocked with cheap food, snacks, and daily necessities. A good restaurant is always within walking distance of a short ride on the metro or the bus. No matter how late it is, you can walk home in the streets without any fear. It is the best city for any first time traveler simply based on its convenience and safety.
Not only this, but our resident and internship directors were the most amazing and receptive people to ever oversee our program. Anytime we had an issue, they were always there to help us resolve it. They also organize amazing extracurricular activities and trips! The two of them really made our program worth every minute.
...students who are double majoring in Chinese and something else. CET Taiwan has a mandatory internship component. The internship component allowed me to keep up with my Computer Science major (I worked as a junior Rails developer for a marketing company), so when I returned to my home university, I wasn't any step behind my CS peers as far as coding experience was concerned. I not only improved my Chinese, but my coding abilities just as well. However, because CET Taiwan is a new program, some internship opportunities are hit or miss; some, like mine, were a wonderful addition to my Chinese learning, but I had some classmates who didn't have the same experience. If you have a second major or a strong extracurricular interest and express this clearly to the internship director, then you may improve your chances of landing an incredible internship.
...students who want to improve their Chinese as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. Students in CET Taiwan are enrolled in the ICLP at National Taiwan University. This translates to the first (and the best) International Chinese Language Program at the top university in Taiwan. ICLP was the first of its kind before any program in the mainland, and every teacher at ICLP is incredibly esteemed, usually having taught at top Chinese language programs in America. Class sizes are between one to four (five is usually considered too much), so individual attention is a given. There are many students at ICLP and many courses, ranging from introductory to intermediate and high-level culture (contemporary Taiwanese culture and society, studying radio plays, newspaper reading, ancient Chinese fables, short stories). There are one-on-one classes as well, where you spend a whole hour every single day with just yourself and your teacher! The classes are rigorous and have a strong emphasis on speaking over writing. Leaving CET Taiwan, your Chinese abilities will definitely be much stronger than when you came in.
It goes without saying, however, that CET Taiwan is incredibly rigorous! You take three hours of courses that may begin at around 8 AM and end at 12 with a break somewhere in between, then attend your internship, and then have to do a large amount of homework and preparation when you get home. Excelling in this program is definitely all about time management!