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With its unique fusion of cultures, breathtaking scenery, diverse cuisine, exciting city life and well-developed hospitality industry, Taiwan is an ideal destination for many types of travelers. 

In addition to about 1,100 kilometers of conventional railway lines, Taiwan has a 350-km high-speed rail system along its west coast. The high-speed trains allow travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung in 94 minutes. These two cities and the northern metropolis of Taoyuan are also equipped with state-of-the-art mass rapid transit systems.


Hualien County

Hualien is the meeting point of the Central Cross-Island Highway, Suao-Hualien Highway, and highways leading south to Taitung.

Hualien County is home to several world-class scenic attractions. In 1590, Portuguese sailors passed by the eastern coast of Taiwan and were so moved by the grandeur of what they saw that they named this land "Formosa," the beautiful island. Since that time, the majestic views of Hualien have come to represent Taiwan.

Formerly known as Qilai, Hualien's current name derives from the phrase "huilan" (eddying water), a reference to the swirling currents of the Hualien River where it meets the sea.

Hualien is Taiwan's biggest county, with an area of about 4,628 square kilometers and a population of 350,000. The county borders the Pacific Ocean to the east and is hemmed in by the Central Range to the west. With its towering peaks, azure skies, vast seas, scenic valleys, cultural diversity, and friendly kindhearted people, Hualien has become one of Taiwan's first-choice travel destinations for local and international visitors alike.

With all of its natural beauty, most of Hualien is a national scenic area. Visitors to the county can enjoy the impressive gorges at Taroko National Park, the magnificence of Yushan National Park, the stunning natural landscapes of the East Coast National Scenic Area, and the rustic charms of the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area. Wherever you go in Hualien, nature is there to greet you.

Life Sciences in Taiwan


  • Please know this program is tentatively planned to next be offered in Summer 2024.



Life Sciences in Taiwan

This CSI faculty-led course will explore biology and life sciences in the Taiwan setting.  Taiwan, 180km east of China, is the known for modern cities, traditional Chinese temples, hot springs resorts and dramatic mountainous terrain. Hualien, is a city in a mountainous region on Taiwan’s east central cost, nestled between the Coastal Mountain Range and the Central Mountain Range in the verdant and pristine Papaya Creek Delta.  This biology program will be based for 15 of the 21 days in Hualien, at National Dong Hwa University (NDHU) and at Yu-Shan Theological College & Seminary, situated in this spectacular and beautiful natural environment.  Hualien County is the largest county by area in Taiwan, and yet, due to its mountainous terrain, it has one of the lowest populations in the country.  This program is planned to run in Summer 2024.  Students will also stay 5 nights in other locations in Taiwan on a study tour around the island from approximately July 22 – August 12, 2024.   

NOTE - Please know that the dates, costs, and program for Summer 2024 will be very similar to what is now posted.  We will update this info as it becomes available.

Most people come to Hualien to visit the Taroko Gorge and Taroko National Park.  And with good reason - it's simply beautiful.  With rope bridges over rivers, hiking trails with astounding views, and temples cut into the mountainsides, it's an unforgettable place. Students will feel the full power of the ocean at Shihtiping, nearby Hualien, where dramatic seaside cliffs meet the waves crashing into the rocky shore.  Scenic places to visit include nearby Qingshui Cliff and Qixingtan Beach.  The instructor will take participants on guided excursions to Liyu Lake, Lintien Mountain, Taroko National Park, Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute, NDHU Marine Research Center and Hualien Agriculture Research Center.
Students will eat very well - and very cheaply - in Taiwan. The restaurants may not look posh, but the quality of the food is superlative. And there’s a huge variety of restaurants – which include great Indian, Japanese and even Italian options - and a tradition of great outdoor food markets and night markets which have local Taiwanese specialties and regional cuisines from all over China.  Just make sure to leave some room for snacks -street-vendor food here is addictive.  The food street in Hualien that goes from the railway station to main gate of the university, boasts lots of inexpensive food eateries frequented by students.

Information sheet
Faculty Leader Changhui Shen
Faculty Leader Email
Advisor Russell Davis
Advisor Email
Minimum GPA 2.5
Class Standing 2 Sophomore, 3 Junior, 4 Senior, 5 Graduate, 6 Non-Matriculated
Min Required Number of College Credits Completed in Order to Apply 12
Language of Instruction English
Areas of Study Biology, Botany, Sciences
Housing Option Dorm, Hotel
Program Open to CSI Students, Non-CUNY Students, Other CUNY Students


BIO 524 - Life Sciences in Taiwan, is a 4 credit Special Topics biology course that introduces students to biology and life sciences in Taiwan.  In this intensive 3-week program, students will study basic principles of biology through examples that are found in the local setting.  Students will learn about living life sciences in Taiwan, including the rich ecological diversity, marine biology, tropical plant biology and animal science examples that are found in Taiwan.  Dr. Chang-Hui Shen, (, Chair of the Biology Department at the College of Staten Island, will teach this course and 3-4 NDHU faculty members will give guest lectures. 

Students will demonstrate the ability to use information technology to communicate and access life sciences information.  Students study how to apply the scientific method to form hypotheses, predict outcomes, analyze results and refine conclusions, how to correlate structure, organization and function of cells, study how to integrate the knowledge of structure and function to explain the adaptation and evolution of diverse organisms, study the ecosystem and marine biology and unique life sciences in Taiwan.  The program will be both classroom and on-site based and will include local and national study trips as well as educational and cultural activities. The tentative syllabus is:  BIO_2019_Syllabus_Taiwan




Participants will be staying at the NDHU Guest House and at the Yu-Shan Theological College & Seminary Guest House for 16 nights (2 persons/room, breakfast included) and at guest houses and hotels for 5 nights on during the round the Taiwan Island study tour.  Students will eat meals in local cafes and outdoor food markets when not eating in the school cafeteria.


Many field trips, tours, and excursions, in addition to optional cultural and outdoor activities, will give students a great first hand view of the local ecology and life sciences in Taiwan and include:

  1. Tour of Taipei             
  2. Tour of NDHU and Hualien City
  3. Ecology Field Trip – Liyu Lake and Tea Plantation
  4. Field Trip to Lintian Mountain Forestry Center/Hakka Cultural Center
  5. Museum and Hualien Sugar Factory         
  6. Field Trip to Taroko National Park
  7. Stem Cell Lecture
  8. Field Trip to GTaiwan Endemic Species Research Institute
  9. Tour of Stem Cell Research Lab
  10. Field Trip to Hualien Agriculture Research Station
  11. Field trip to Tzu-Chi Medical School
  12. Field Trip to Hualien Agriculture Research Station               

Round Taiwan Island Study Tour:

  1. East coastline trip to Taitung
  2. Trip from Taitung to Pingtung
  3. NDHU Marine Biology Station
  4. Maritime Ecological Tours
  5. Trip from Pingtung to Kaohsiung and Taichung

Optional field trips and activities include:

  1. Xiuguluan River Rafting Trip and Whale Watching (including round trip bus, lunch and insurance for $70) 
  2. Taiwanese indigenous culture field trip to museum (no fee)
  3. Scuba diving option ($100)

In addition, students will have the opportunity to explore Hualien in small groups.

Here is a video from the Summer 2019 program:

Here are a couple of tourism videos you may be interested in seeing:

East of Taiwan
Taiwan - The Heart Of Asia


Open to CUNY students only.  Minimum 2.5 GPA required.  Minimum 12 completed credits at the time of application. 



Dates & Costs

Please note all dates and costs are subject to change.


  • Please know this program is tentatively planned to next be offered in Summer 2024.

          Summer 2024 dates and costs will be similar to those below.


   Summer 2024    APPROX. July 21 depart, July 22 arrive - APPROX. August 12 depart    APPROX. Program Cost $2,400


A $500 nonrefundable program deposit is due two weeks after acceptance.  This deposit will be applied ot the program cost paid to CSI.

Program Cost includes:
On-site program instruction and activities, housing, all breakfasts and one dinner, local and domestic administration, international medical and accident insurance, and orientations. 

Program Cost does NOT include:
CUNY tuition 4 credits $1220 (based on NY State Resident senior college tuition), Airfare $1,400, meals (lunch and dinner) $300, Personal Expenses $100-$200, passport (US passport is $145). 

Application Deadlines:
Summer: March 15