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2017 SPRING CBPE STUDENT NEWSLETTER VOL.2

Mid-Terms are around the corner but CIEE students are still living it up in this Spring Semester Update!

 

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Abigail

This month, my classmates and I participated in a scavenger hunt around Taipei. While the activity’s main purpose was to ensure that CIEE students knew how to navigate Taipei’s transportation (which, admittedly, can be daunting at first), I found more pleasure in getting to know my classmates and cultural ambassadors and learning more about familiar places in Taiwan.

On a sunny spring day in the middle of March, my roommate and I walked to the McDonald’s Gate (so-called because of the McDonald’s restaurant facing the gate) at about 10 a.m. The cultural ambassadors were already there at 9:30 a.m. and were talking amongst themselves about the activity’s logistics. After quickly greeting me, the ambassadors turned back to their conversation about the day’s plans. I chatted with a few of my classmates for about five minutes before one cultural ambassador welcomed everyone and asked us all to separate into teams of four CIEE students, with 2-3 cultural ambassadors as leaders.

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After gathering with my team, Ana*, a friendly first-year Slavic language major, handed me our first “mission” in a letter-sized brown envelope. The “mission” was a riddle that my classmates and I had to solve. We eventually determined that we needed to board the Brown 18 bus in order to arrive at our next site: the Blue 18 line.

On our way to the Blue 18 line, my classmates and I chatted with the cultural ambassadors. We used a mix of English and Chinese, depending on our Chinese language ability, to chat about cultural ambassadors’ weeks, plans for the summer, and scavenger hunt logistics. Once we reached the Blue 18 line, we opened the next “mission” envelope, which said to take a group photo at the Taipei 101 shopping area (AKA ATT) and “have fun”. My group and I walked around, went window-shopping, ate churros and French fries, and took pictures.

Someone then opened the second “mission” envelope, which contained another riddle that said that we had to go to Exit 1 of East Door (東門) station. Upon arriving there, we opened an accompanying envelope that said that we had to take a picture of ourselves pointing to Taipei 101, eat Mango Ice (芒果冰) and Fried Scallion Pancakes (蔥抓餅), and record ourselves ordering in Chinese. We split into two groups, and my group went to eat Mango Ice. One of the cultural ambassadors mentioned that we should go to a Mango Ice place that the locals like instead of the one that many tourists visit.

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Finally, our third “mission“ envelope guided us to National Taiwan University, where we finished our traditional Taiwanese snacks and walked around the outdoor festival. Small children (小朋友, or “little friends” in Mandarin Chinese) and their families rode bikes and played as we looked for a comfortable place to sit down. Although we were all tired from walking around all day, I feel like we all enjoyed that day’s activities. For me, I found new places that I might not have traveled to otherwise.

I can’t wait for our next activity!

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Martine

After coming to Taipei, Taiwan, I have encountered a wonderful culture in terms of how to maintain a life-work balance. The Taiwanese are the best people I have seen, when it comes to balance their lives, work, and even diets. They are so balanced, that they drink warm water, instead of cold, in order to maintain the balanced temperature within their bodies. Before coming to Taiwan, an island with 23 million people, I expected it to have a quite stressful, rushed, and "speedy" environment. It is the total opposite, people are so calm, and even the Metro station is a place to relax. The train/Metro-station is surrounded by healing music, in order for the citizens to have their attention down to their feet before/after a long work-day.

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Family Visit & Spring Break

My dad Erik and his girlfriend Maria came to visit Taiwan for 1.5 weeks, thus staying in Taipei for the two weekends, and bicycling in Taiwan the weekdays between. The feeling of having family visit from the other side of the globe is unbelievable and surreal. Over the two last years I have seen family and friends probably less than the average 20 year old, but then it feels even more special when re-united. Also, I am not planning to live on the other side of the globe forever. Down below are some of the places we went during our Spring Break.

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Matsu Festival & Pilgrimage

This is definitely my biggest culture shock so far. Amongst of the places we went, but that there is no pictures of in this post, is the Matsu Festival. In Taiwan people volunteer to walk a 9-days long pilgrimage, where they are following their God Matsu. This experience had me face the biggest cultural shock in Taiwan so far, because the spirituality was at a whole other level. There was fire-crackers, people dressing up after their God, and families leaving food outside their homes, locals that wandered with the Matsu figure, in order to get blessings for life.

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Rhys

Oops. It's been a couple weeks since I wrote on here. I have plenty of good reasons haha. Unfortunately, it is getting to that point in the semester where I have work to do for my classes (boo). I've also been preoccupied with various adventures and shenanigans with my CIEE group. To make it up to everyone, I'll talk a little about what I have been up to. 

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Did you know they have a Texas Roadhouse here in Taipei? Honestly, it was the last thing I was expecting to see here. I discovered the Texas Roadhouse a few weeks ago while I was on a CIEE scavenger hunt. We were all split into 4 groups; each group had a few of our cultural ambassadors to ensure we wouldn't get lost. We visited three different areas of Taipei on a sunny (oh yeah the sun has finally come back after a couple weeks) Saturday afternoon. First we visited Gongguan, a popular shopping area with lots of restaurants, where someone in my group ate stinky tofu (臭豆腐. I did not try it cause I am still way too picky.  Next, we visited Dongmen, another shopping area. We went there to get scallion pancakes as part of the scavenger hunt, but the line was way too long. Our scavenger hunt ended near the Taipei 101. There is this outdoor area next to the 101 where they have a variety of food trucks and smaller restaurants. It was here that I found a pizza truck. For the first time in over a month, I had pizza. It may have been the best pizza I ever had (not something I would've expected to have eaten in Taiwan).

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When we were walking around the 101 after eating, my group discovered the Texas Roadhouse. Needless to say, my group freaked out a little. Of all the restaurants to find in Taiwan, it had to be a Texas Roadhouse. We were determined to go there, just to see what it was like.
This past Friday, I finally had the chance to go to the Texas Roadhouse. I was planning on buying a steak until I saw the menu. I couldn't find a steak cheaper than $60 USD (around $1800 NTD). I was crushed. I settled for a cheeseburger, hoping that would help. It definitely did, but it was still pretty pricy. Since most of the food I have had here has been around $3-6 USD, Texas Roadhouse was much more than that. I don't think I will go back there. 

Located only 10 minutes or so away from Zheng Da is a mountain called Maokong. They have gondolas here that you can take to the very top; some even have clear glass floors. Despite my fear of heights, I have taken the gondola to the top of Maokong twice since the last time I wrote on here. I haven't enjoyed it in the slightest. The first time I went was on a field trip with my Chinese class. I had such a bad time on the gondola I spent most of the day pretty nauseous. Despite the nausea, I still had plenty of fun at the top. Once you get off the gondola, there are plenty of restaurants and food stands to visit. We went on a pretty cloudy day so the pictures I took don't really do the view justice. 
Last week, I went to Maokong again with more of my CIEE friends. This time, they wanted to take the gondola with the clear- glass floor. I don't know why I said yes to that but I did. I spent the whole gondola ride (about 20-30 minutes) staring straight ahead. I never looked down. The gondola sometimes was 1000 feet off of the ground (my friends said it was pretty cool). Thankfully, I made it to the top without any nausea. I guess I just need to avoid looking down. Our group went to a different restaurant, one with an absolutely stunning view of Taipei . Unfortunately, it was dark by the time we sat down to eat so I couldn't get a good picture. The one good picture I did take during that time was taken on the gondola ride. We had a great view of the sunrise during our ride up the mountain. 

Besides the adventures, my time has been spent in class and volunteering at a company called Alchemy Tech. We are already approaching the middle of the semester (time is flying) so my classes have started assigning more work. I volunteer at Alchemy Tech every Wednesday for a few hours. Going there and back has really helped me become more comfortable with Taiwan's public transport. I feel semi-confident in my ability to navigate it all now!

I am writing this on the first day of my spring break! (I have no class from Friday to Wednesday). 8 of us in my CIEE group will be spending the break in Hong Kong! At the time of writing, I have not left yet. We have planned out a very busy weekend; there is only so much time to see what's around Hong Kong. I will do my best to take a lot of pictures. I plan on writing about it when I return on Tuesday! I promise it won't be 25 days until my next post.

And to everyone back home in New England, enjoy the snow haha

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In addition to the scavenger hunt, CIEE students have also taken the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of activities ranging from Tai Chi to a dance workshop led by one of our own Cultural Ambassadors. Enjoy the pictures below.

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No pain no gain!”

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"Be like water?"

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Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot...”

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This is not what I ordered at all.”

With much more still in store, be sure to check back for the next update of our newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

04/01/2018

2018 SPRING CBPE STUDENT NEWSLETTER VOL. 1

Welcome Back to CIEE Taipei!

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As everyone can see, the students are digging into the newly arrived Spring spirit. 

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Here are words from one of our ambassadors on the newly arrived students:

"  It had been weeks since all of the students started receiving emails and getting in touch with their buddies. It was finally time that they actually came all the way to Taiwan and met with new friends.

  All the activities seemed like merely procedures yet new experiences with the new faces and places around. With the friends and the cultural ambassadors around to start the semester, everyone was well taken care of. After having settled down in the dorm with nice mattresses and the internet connected, it was also time to get some insights into the city. One of the highlights of the orientation week for everyone must have been the part of Tonghua night market.

Setting sail for the night market means more than just satisfying the stomach, it’s also the first opportunity for the students to try those legendary Taiwanese street foods. Those started with stinky tofu had tasted something far more different than what they had imagined. Stinky tofu received different reviews which included “I can’t handle the smell and the taste at the same time”, ”It is ‘meh’” and “it’s really good, I like it ” with that satisfying smile. Another authentic street food for them was oyster omelette, which was another awe for every student who tried. This time the scores got a lot better, for them rating it either good or really good.

It was at that time when they made their first attempt on getting to know the country; however, it doesn’t mean that those who didn’t try are not willing to know the country. It’s apparently that food is only a very small part of the country and they put focus on other aspects for the adventure which is about to be discovered soon."

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More words from an ambassador about student activities:

"三天兩夜旅行的第一個晚上,我們在宜蘭舉辦了歡迎會,用台灣人常玩的遊戲來歡迎遠道而來的美國學生們。在開始歡迎會之前,我們圍坐在一起,品嚐了充滿宜蘭當地特色的風味菜,除了有各式各樣的鴨肉料理、好喝的鮮雞湯,還有美味的甜點-- 炸冰淇淋。大快朵頤之後,每個人都在歡迎會上的遊戲卯足了全力:撿小石頭、摘花朵、拔眼鏡、找零錢,甚至還脫掉了衣服...還記得我們閉上眼睛,用特殊的聲音找尋著彼此,那些叫聲就像是我們的小小約定,也讓我們很快打成一片。歡迎會的尾聲,我們在小天使小主人的遊戲中得知這整個學期要秘密照顧的小主人,心中開始計畫能為小主人做些什麼,同時也期待收到小天使的關心。       

On the first night of excursion trip, we had a welcome party with some Taiwanese games to welcome students and celebrate the beginning of this semester. But first, we enjoyed our first meal together. We had different types of duck dishes, delicious soup, amazing fired buns with ice cream and so on. It’s really impressive.

        On the party, we were all exhausted because we enjoyed games a lot. We had done so many crazy things like searching stones, picking flowers, collecting glasses, taking off T-shirt, and so on. That’s really funny and unforgettable. Besides, I still remembered vividly that we used special sounds to find each other. The sounds we chose were like promise, and this game made us know each other more soon.

        At the end of the party, we knew our own masters of whom we needed to take care. We had some plans in our mind and looked forward to receiving our angels’ attention."

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Here are more thoughts on the trip taken to Yehliu, Pingxi, and Jiufen:

"風光明媚的早晨我們前往台灣的北岸,在野柳我們去了地質公園,飽覽各種長相特異的石頭,獨特的地質景觀是因為風化、海浪的侵蝕以及時光的催化下所形成的。接著我們到了九份的老街大啖芋園、魚丸、牛肉麵等的台灣古早味,填飽肚子的同時也被美麗的廟宇及海景所深深吸引。最後我們前往平溪,在鐵道旁伴隨著火車駛過的聲音,我們放開手目送著天燈緩緩的飄向天際,載著我們寫下的祝福與企盼升空,也為一日遊畫下美好的句點。

Today, we headed to the east coast of Taiwan and visited the Yeliu Geopark. At the geopark, there were many special shapes of rocks like the Queen’s head rock and the Tofu rock. The unique landscape was a result of the combination of winds, wave and also time. Then we went to Jiufen’s Old Street and had some taro balls, beef noodles, fish ball soup and other traditional Taiwanese foods. We also saw some beautiful temples and viewed the coast. By the time we went to Pingxi, it was almost evening. We wrote down our wishes on the sky lanterns and lit the flame below them. We released the lanterns with our wishes and watched them fly into the sky."

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Some final words about the Excursion Trip mentioned earlier:

"每當想遠離都市生活時...蠻多台北人都會選擇來到宜蘭。不只是因為距離近,融合了山與海風情的宜蘭,還擁有讓人心曠神怡的田園自然景觀。旅行的第一天下午,我們坐車前往宜蘭山裡的民宿,清幽、獨立的環境讓我們從歡迎會開始一路玩到了深夜,不用害怕打擾到附近的鄰居,而關於那天深夜的探險,我想我們一輩子都會記得。

        第二天早晨,我們到星源茶園做美味的綠茶冰淇淋,步驟不難,難的是把材料搖成冰的過程,短短10分鐘內要不停地上下搖動冰淇淋罐,才能順利結冰,雖然很累,但自己動手做的冰淇淋果然是最美味的。中午我們在茶園享用午餐,帶有茶味的麵條、細嫩的鴨肉、清爽的果凍,真的令人好想再嚐一次!

       吃完午餐後,我們踩著腳踏車一路向山裡的瀑布騎去,儘管太陽當頭天氣炎熱,但最後我們都還是成功登頂。看到壯觀的瀑布那一刻,覺得一路上的辛苦都值得了!能和大家一起堅持到最後真是太好了。下午,我們在過去的冬山河舊河道搭船欣賞沿岸風景,偶爾有火車經過高聳的鐵橋,轟隆轟隆,在寧靜的河面上特別好聽。

        緊接著,在前往知名的羅東夜市之前,我們先到傳統藝術中心參觀,古色古香的街道不僅漂亮,還有各式各樣的商家,商家販賣著結合傳統的各色文化創新商品,三三兩兩悠閒地散步在紅燈籠高掛、充滿古老氛圍的街道,同時也讓我們大開了眼界。第二天的最後,是大家最喜歡的夜市觀光行程,我們在人山人海的羅東夜市找尋心裡美食名單上的項目:珍珠奶茶、三星蔥肉串、蔥抓餅、包心粉圓、章魚燒、炒麵等等,吃飽後,大家臉上都掛著滿足的笑臉!

         旅行的第三天,我們在入住的佛寺起床、整理、吃齋飯、參觀佛寺與體驗打坐,能有這樣的機會深入體驗佛教的文化,對我們來說都是相當難忘的經驗,午後我們到基隆和平島戲水,雖然沙灘不大、海水太冰,許多想像和原定計畫的福隆海水浴場有些落差,但在天空作美沒下大雨的情況下,能夠戲戲水、爬爬山都為我們的旅程畫下了美好句點。

 

When people in Taipei want to escape from the urban life for a while, most of them will choose to stay in Yilan. Yilan is a place combining the view of mountains and sea. On the first afternoon, we drove to the hostel located in mountains in Yilan. It was isolated and surrounded by the mountains so we did not have to worry about bothering our neighbors when we were out of control. The most impressive thing on the first day, I would say, was the adventure at midnight which we will never forget.

On the morning of the second day, we went to the tea garden to make tea ice cream. It’s not difficult but it’s really tiring because we needed to shake our ice cream cans for ten minutes without any stopping. Though it’s hard work, I must say that handmade ice cream was the best. We had lunch in the tea garden, the manager was hospitable and he provided rich dishes for us, including soft duck meat, noodles, and jelly with tea flavor. We will definitely miss this flavor in the future.

After lunch time, we rode bikes to visit an amazing waterfall in the mountain. It was too hot to bear riding under the sunshine, but finally we arrived at our destination together. It’s really worthy to persist in fulfilling our goals. In the afternoon, we took boats on the old river route of Dong Shan River. Sometimes trains rumbled across the iron bridge, and I felt like trains rumbled across my mind as well.

Before bounding for Luo Dong night market, we went to the National Center for Traditional Arts to experience the beauty of tradition. There were lots of shops selling kinds of products combining the modern and traditional. We took pictures on the old street with red bricks and lanterns. What a wonderful experience.

It’s time for dinner. The first impression of Luo Dong night market was that it was too crowded to walk. But that’s the true night market scene in Taiwan. Everyone had a list of must-eats in mind and started to look for them, bubble milk tea, meat skewer with shallot, flaky scallion pancake, Red Bean Boba, fried chicken, takoyaki, stir-fried noodles and so on. Everyone was satisfied with amazing food in Luo Dong night market.

On the morning of the third day, we woke up, cleaned our beds, and experienced Buddhist life, including meditation. We were so lucky to have this chance to experience Buddhist life deeply, and that gave us a much broader horizon. In the afternoon, we went to Heping Island in Keelung to have fun in the beach. Though the water was a little bit cold and it rained for a while in the beginning, we were so lucky that it didn’t rain a lot. Thus, we still could have fun in the water and climb the mountain near the beach. Because Fulong Beach was dangerous recently, we chose Heping Island instead. Though our great expectations for Fulong Beach couldn’t match with Heping Island, having sunshine while swimming and hiking still led to a happy end for our trip."

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Clearly, much has already been accomplished by the group. We're all looking forward to more adventures in the rest of this Spring semester!

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再見!

10/25/2017

2017 FALL CBPE STUDENT NEWSLETTER VOL.1

The Fall semester in Taipei is almost halfway through and our students have already done so much! Enjoy words from the students themselves, and pictures from our various travels and activities.

 

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Bonnie

So far, what has been the toughest thing about NCCU classes? The three hour long lectures.

After I got accustomed to the flow of two hour classes in high school, 50 minute lectures in college felt like rapid waters. Before I had even warmed up the seat, classes were over and we were dismissed. Yet, after splashing around there and finally finding the confidence to stay afloat, I was faced with a greater challenge. Neither high school nor college would have prepared me for the three hour long classes here.

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Luckily, my semester consists of courses of which the topics are intriguing to me. That means that, for the most part, I have no problem sitting through lengthy classes. However, it does not mean that I am completely immune to the tempting naps...in class. While the obvious drawback of stretched out classes is having to muster up the energy and attention required for each class, the benefit is meeting once a week. Instead of having homework due every other day, assignment procrastination can be extended for a week before panic sets in. Super ideal, right?  After getting used to series of long classes this semester, who knows how long it will take to familiarize myself with college classes that are, on average, 67% shorter? Before I should worry about that, though, I need to devise a solution for snoozing in class.

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We're on a bus.”

This semester, our students enjoyed a double decker bus tour through Taipei.

Brooke

Upon arriving in Taipei there were so many things to do; moving in, meeting new people, buying necessities, getting over jet lag, going through orientation, and starting to explore the vibrant new city. Considering all this, it was no surprise that the first week seemed to fly by. As classes started, there were schedules to arrange and clubs to join, and just as I figured that I was starting to settle into my new routine, I realized it was already the end of September! I knew that this would be one of the most exciting semesters of my college career, but I was shocked to realize that the first third of it was already at an end. Two more months and I will be returning to the states with all my experiences and new friends packed up in my memories. I have already learned so much, and my Chinese has seen some major improvements, but I know that that flight home is going to come way too soon. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of my time in Taipei, and from now on I’m going to remind myself to stop and take in all the present wonderful moments before they are behind me.

 

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One of our lovely CIEE staff showing their skills.”

Mckenna

My time in Taiwan has opened my eyes to new experiences and adventures. Before coming to Taiwan I did not think that a simple 7/11 could be so intriguing. However, I soon realized that this small convenience store held wonders beyond my imagination. What? You can purchase tea eggs at anytime, day or night? I was amazed. I found out that these small stores also had ATMs and printers; in America there is no such piece.

I remember the first time that I added money to my MRT card. I was with my Taiwanese friends and simply gave the nice cashier money and vwola, there was now money on my card. Thinking back to a time when I ran out of data in Tainan makes me laugh because this too was an adventure in itself. Eventually, with the help of others the task was complete. From wifi to tea eggs, a simple 7/11 store in Taiwan has options galore.

Thus, I have come to the conclusion that the small island of Taiwan is just like its’ 7/11. To an outsider Taiwan may seem small, however this country carries treasures untold.

小西

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Night Market Delicacy.”

Bonnie Part II

Right now, I am on my way back to Taipei, after spending a weekend with family in Tainan. If you are unfamiliar with Taiwan’s geography, it is about a four hour drive (three, if there is no traffic). It is 23:09, and I have about an hour before arriving at the Taipei Bus Station (台北轉聯站). Unfortunately, that means that I am most likely going to miss the last MRT and the last bus services. Instead of anxiously sitting in my dimly lit bus seat, willing the driver to hit the accelerator pedal a bit harder without compromising our safety, I decided to occupy my time with writing out some  thoughts.

 

Sorry, dear reader. I really tried to think up another writing topic, other than transportation. However, since my window’s view of zooming past places isn't helping me stop obsessing over my situation, here goes a brief rant.

 

With countless pleasant things around me, like the stunning blend of man-made architecture and untouched nature, cheap but yummy eats, and amiable and neighborly people, finding qualities of Taipei I dislike is an onerous task. If I was forced to point out my least favorite ones though, they would be the lack of public trash cans and the lack of public transportation past midnight.

On second thought, I guess I can't even say that. Just I was about to dive into lamenting about the lack of public transportation past midnight, my father sent me a screenshot of the MRT schedule that boasted service times as late as 00:51. As if fate aimed to give me more reasons to displace my frustrations, Winnie, a very sweet friend and CIEE ambassador, happened to see my Instagram story update and informed me about my options back home. So I guess there goes my rant about public transportation.

 

And as far as my dissatisfaction with having to carry trash while walking around trashcan-less streets good, I really don't have too many qualms about it to elaborate on. In fact, the more I think about it, the less I have to complain about. Instead of having public trash cans, the island’s culture of “singing” trash trucks forces locals and visitors to bring out bags of personal trash upon hearing loops of electronically recorded classical music, usually Beethoven's Für Elise. Not only do you get a very real reminder of how much trash you've accumulated, but you also get a unique chance every once in a while to bond with your neighbors. All in all, it's good for the community and environment at large.


Fine, Taiwan, you win. You're still as charming as ever before. Yet, with every passing minute, my chances of missing the limited post midnight MRT and bus services increases. But, after writing for an hour, I have come to terms with my impending destiny with a taxi ride back to National Cheng Chi University.

 

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We don't travel, we mob.”



Our students cycled from campus to the northern town of Tamsui overnight. They arrived just in time to catch the sunrise.

 

Etienne Eunson 文伊天

A few weeks ago, during the four-day break from classes, I traveled down to Chiayi to stay with a friend who lives in the area. On Saturday (October 7th), we both took the train to Pingtung to visit the local Esperantists. You may already be wondering what I am even talking about.

Esperanto is an artificial language created in 1887 by a Polish opthamologist, L. L. Zamenhof, with the original purpose of creating an international auxiliary language designated to be used by people of all national and ethnic backgrounds. It was designed to be as easy and simple to learn as possible for as many different kinds of people as possible. There are over two million speakers of this language spread out over 120 countries, and Taiwan is one of them.

I do not believe that my Mandarin is too terrible but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my Esperanto is much better. It is thus because of this shared knowledge of the “international language” as it is commonly called that I was able to communicate solidly with local people that I usually am not able to do otherwise due to a still quite obstructive language barrier.

The day of the meet-up, my friend Preston (who is also an Esperantist) and I took the train to Pingtung and went to a small café where a group of around a dozen other Esperantists were waiting for us. Most of them were Taiwanese but a few were also foreigners, including Benjamin from Canada and Reza from Iran, who actually organizes many of these meet-ups. We spent a good two or three hours chatting about many topics including of course Esperanto and the culture and lifestyle in Taiwan, all of it being spoken in Esperanto. They talked on about how over twenty Esperantists from the area attended the 102nd annual World Esperanto Congress in Seoul. After this, we headed out to visit some local temples, where some of the Esperantists explained to the rest of us the cultural significance of the deities and objects found within them. Later on, after some of them had to leave, Reza invited the remaining few of us into his home for some mooncakes and Iranian snacks. There we all chatted and often code switched quite a bit between Esperanto and Mandarin.

This was overall a unique experience I had with some of the locals that day. Included are some pictures and a video taken of some of the events from that day:

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Esp2

Esp3

Video:

https://youtu.be/uU9qYKPlMSM



I have also met a smaller group of Esperantists here in Taipei as well, including Baldemar, a Spanish tutor from Texas, and Teddy, a polyglot and blogger originally from Indonesia. (Please consider checking out his blog at: https://www.neeslanguageblog.com/ )

Esp4

More videos:

https://youtu.be/RZ0YGPFVulY

https://youtu.be/uU9qYKPlMSM



If you would like to find out more about the Esperanto community of Taiwan, please consider checking out their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/esperanto.tw/


A1E9C093-1E02-4F53-B4E9-0EEB6E6AE610

Gotta get your hands dirty if you want dessert.”

Our students making
月餅, a common pastry eaten during the Autumn Festivals in Asia.

We've had a busy semester and there are still plans for Thanksgiving and other activities! Stay tuned for the next installment of our semester going ons.

03/15/2017

2017 SPRING CBPE STUDENT NEWSLETTER VOL. 1

Welcome back to CIEE Taipei!

 

Martine CIEE Bridge

Spring is fast arriving and a new semester has begun. The weather is thankfully warming up a bit, but with Spring comes showers. After arriving the new group of CIEE students ventured to Central Taiwan, visiting Nantou and Lukang. The trip was punctuated with bridge crossing, noodle making, and a science park that brought cold vibes to our tropical island.

Martine Fortune

Rhys

After almost three weeks in Taipei, I had the chance to explore western Taiwan. Unfortunately I spent most of the weekend dealing with a cold. I was still able to enjoy the trip but I spent most of the weekend not feeling very well.
Our trip began on Friday in Yuanlin, which is southwest of Taipei. After a three-hour train ride, I did not have much time to explore. Since I had class that ended at 4pm, I joined the rest of the group late. Most of the stores were closed but we were still able to walk around. Eventually, we were all too tired and returned to the hotel. For some reason, everyone in my room decided to watch
Suicide Squad. It was even more terrible than I thought.

Saturday was a far more eventful day. We left Yuanlin around 9am and went to 天空之橋 in Nantou (Tiankong skybridge). The view was incredible and breathing didn't really hurt that much. It was nice to get out of a city. When I crossed the skybridge, the wind would occasionally make the bridge move a little. By the time I reached the other side, I was practically running. I don't think I would ever cross that bridge again. For someone who is not the biggest fan of heights, it was a terrifying experience. On the other side of the bridge, there were some games for us to play. My friend Adam and I challenged each other to archery and a paintball target range. Surprisingly, I hit 7 of 10 targets in archery (I won). But I did pretty bad with the paintball gun. Adam and I keep track of all the wagers we have made with each other. Currently, I owe him quite a bit (I blame ping pong) . 

Once we left the skybridge, we went to a rice noodle factory. We learned how rice noodles are made and even had the chance to make some ourselves. Once our noodles were made, we were able to bring them back with us to eat.

From the rice noodle factory, we went to Little Ding Dong Science Park. I wasn't sure what to think of the park before we got there. I had heard that it was a park for children; I didn't know if a group of college students would enjoy the park too. I was pleasantly surprised. The park had an indoor tubing and skiing area. For me, Adam, and the other students used to the cold weather, this place was paradise. I spent most of the time at Little Ding Dong in this tubing area, tubing down to the bottom and running back up to the top to do it all again. As someone who is not a fan of New England weather, I never thought I would be so happy to be cold again. By the time we went out of the area, we had gotten adjusted to the cold. It just so happened to be around 78 degrees Fahrenheit that day; going from a cold environment to the heat was not fun.

We spent Saturday night at Little Ding Dong (each hotel room at 4 queen-sized beds, meaning I thankfully didn't have to share with anyone). Before we returned back to Taipei, we went to a bike trail along the beach in Xinzhu. I didn't take any pictures during the bike ride since I ended up racing some of the other students. The bike trail was pretty chaotic since there were so many other people on the trail, but it was a perfect day. The weather was perfect and my cold had gone away by this point. Renting bikes is pretty cheap so I plan on exploring more bike trails while I am here. I'm not planning on biking back from the 101 again though (we all know how that went last time).

Martine CIEE Temple

Martine

This weekend we went to a trip with the CIEE organization that both Harald and I are studying away through. CIEE are nice to plan various excursions and activities for us, amongst one of them we have had the three-days trip where we travelled with an awesome karaoke bus through this wonderful island. I keep being surprised and impressed by how much complexity there is in this culture. Everything from high-speed trains to low-key people that seem to be so relaxed and down to earth in this "buzzing" atmosphere of Asian development. We study at a National University in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, which itself sounds to be a very industrial area with a lot of growth, and that is true. What else is true is that Taiwan has basically everything one could look for in terms of vacation.

 

There are temples and fascinating art that ties back to hundreds of years ago, there are palms, pineapple growth in the mountains, and gondolas that take you to famous hot-spots or tea-houses. There are amazingly big shopping malls that looks more luxurious than what I myself could ever imagine. There are night markets, beaches and coast-lines to make fire and enjoy the sunsets, there are large mountain to do hiking, jungle and tropical islands surrounding Taiwan. And no, this is not me pretending to be Expedia, hehe, but my aim is to show that Taiwan is actually a hidden beauty.


We keep exploring places here in Taiwan that seems to be the "Silicon Valley" of Taiwan. However, in all of this technological growth and 23 million people that live on this small island, there is so much fascinating and deep culture. By saying deep culture I could mean everything from the buddhist/taoism religion, food, music, chinese characters, taosim, art, and even the way of living. 

Personally, I have the impression that the buddhist culture made people more aware of the present moment, and made the Taiwanese to be better at enjoying the current moment.

Martine CIEEAbigail

This weekend we went to a trip with the CIEE organization that both Harald and I are studying away through. CIEE are nice to plan various excursions and activities for us, amongst one of them we have had the three-days trip where we travelled with an awesome karaoke bus through this wonderful island. I keep being surprised and impressed by how much complexity there is in this culture. Everything from high-speed trains to low-key people that seem to be so relaxed and down to earth in this "buzzing" atmosphere of Asian development. We study at a National University in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, which itself sounds to be a very industrial area with a lot of growth, and that is true. What else is true is that Taiwan has basically everything one could look for in terms of vacation.

 

There are temples and fascinating art that ties back to hundreds of years ago, there are palms, pineapple growth in the mountains, and gondolas that take you to famous hot-spots or tea-houses. There are amazingly big shopping malls that looks more luxurious than what I myself could ever imagine. There are night markets, beaches and coast-lines to make fire and enjoy the sunsets, there are large mountain to do hiking, jungle and tropical islands surrounding Taiwan. And no, this is not me pretending to be Expedia, hehe, but my aim is to show that Taiwan is actually a hidden beauty.


We keep exploring places here in Taiwan that seems to be the "Silicon Valley" of Taiwan. However, in all of this technological growth and 23 million people that live on this small island, there is so much fascinating and deep culture. By saying deep culture I could mean everything from the buddhist/taoism religion, food, music, chinese characters, taosim, art, and even the way of living. 

Personally, I have the impression that the buddhist culture made people more aware of the present moment, and made the Taiwanese to be better at enjoying the current moment.

 

It’s truly a pleasure to be back. My time with the CLS Tainan program during the summer of 2016 was one of the most challenging, rewarding experiences that I have ever had. The program’s lasting impact inspired me to return to Taiwan in the first place, but this time, to see the country from a more cultural, immersive perspective. In many ways, Taiwan is just the way I remember: warm and friendly people, night markets teeming with unforgettable smells and sights, and gorgeous expanses of green scenery and blue skies (when it’s not raining, of course!).

 

At the same time, it’s a totally different experience. Whenever I go to a familiar place, such as Taipei 101 or pretty much any night market, I can’t help but remember my friends from CLS and Tainan. It’s a bittersweet feeling that I’ll have to adjust to while I’m here.

 

Nevertheless, it’s been refreshing to encounter new experiences. The people on my program —Communications, Business, and Political Economy— and my roommate’s program —Intensive Chinese Language and Culture (ICLC)— are so adventurous, curious, and caring. Our program organizers, April and Christy, are welcoming and always willing to talk. It’s inspiring to live and learn alongside a group of people who push me to make the most out of my time in Taiwan. Of course, I’ve decided to take a rigorous academic schedule: I’m taking two classes conducted entirely in Mandarin Chinese for the first time, a challenge that I hope will strengthen my Chinese language skills. And I aim to explore new places around the island and Asia.

 

Here’s to a familiar, unfamiliar adventure — Taiwan, Take 2!

Martine CIEE Farm

Fredrick

In a blink of an eye, it has already been a week and a half. Where does all the time go? It feels as if I was just struggling to fall asleep because of jet lag. Although I have only met everyone a week or so ago, it feels like it's been months already. The 3 day excursion brought everyone a lot closer and I am looking forward to many more memories with everyone. Although the mountain is a bit of a struggle to climb everyday, it gives me more reasons to eat more delicious food. Food is literally everywhere you go!!! May the good meals and memories continue to rush my way.


The CIEE ambassadors has been phenomenal, awesome, great, amazing. I could not have wished for another group of student to be our buddies and friends. They voluntarily use their time to spend time with us and bring us to incredible places. Without their presence, my time at Zheng Da may not be as joyful right now. If you guys ever read this and I haven’t personally said thank you to you. I would like to formally say 謝謝你們

CIEE 101

Emily

It’s been a while since I’ve lived on campus, and I’m totally loving it! Getting to hang out with a roommate and other friends who live right next door, eating to my heart’s content, exploring the city (and sketchy places) - my college experience couldn’t get any better.

 

Visiting less touristy places on the 3-day excursion allowed me to experience Taiwan in a different way. Becoming 5-year-olds at the Doraemon park, struggling and finally succeeding in eating BBQ, and riding bikes by the coast (my favorite part) are all great memories.

 

But honestly, it doesn’t matter if we go to a special place or not. It’s the people and the time you spend with them that’s the most valuable. Such as...going to Gongguan night market for “Taiwanese hamburgers,” Chinese medicine soup, and super sweet bubble tea. Reliving the childhood days of playing the flute with a Chinese flute. Studying in a super noisy and couple-infested lounge. Visiting a less-crowded but still crowded Shilin night market in the pouring rain. Drinking, chatting, and playing cards for a chill weekday night. Finally waking up early enough for breakfast yum yum. Perfecting our Taiwanese by using an Italian accent. Doing laundry with the roomie at 12am. Trying to dance in an elevator with the roomie at 1am. Finding and freaking out over a lifesize Catbus and a snoring Totoro in Taipei 101 with the roomie. Trying new strange foods such as fish skin, pig ears, and chicken feet. And finally flying lanterns and playing with sparklers with a group of good friends at Shifen. It’s been a good two weeks, and I just hope it gets even better :)

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Nickie

我是這學期新加入的大使,這段時間內我參加了第一次的campus tour 還有excursion trip。第一次參加campus tour的時候既緊張又期待;當天幫學生搬宿舍、介紹校園還有辦sim卡,在搬宿舍的路程中,一直很擔心學生們會嫌棄宿舍在深山裡,結果他們的反應卻是很喜歡這樣清幽的環境,說這裡很像度假村他們很喜歡,聽完後就深深覺得有時候真的換一個角度會過得更加滿足和快樂呢!(雖然我還是覺得他們會這樣想是因為十舍真的很高級呵呵呵)去辦sim卡的時候非常有成就感,店員一開始看到一大批外國人走進去的時候看起來很緊張,結果在我們的幫助下過程都蠻順利的,頓時覺得能幫上忙真的太好了。

 

之後的excursion trip讓我跟學生們有更深層的認識,我們去了鹿港、新竹、南投玩,第一天在鹿港介紹了許多當地的習俗,例如進廟要從右邊進去還有一些神明所保佑的項目,還品嚐了一些美味的小吃,他們都很喜歡「蚵仔煎」和「糖葫蘆」;第二天天空之橋的風景很美麗,還帶他們喝了鳳梨汁還吃了鳳梨蛋糕,晚上的烤肉雖然剛開始出了一點小差錯,但到最後大家還是開心的!第三天早上我們在科學園區玩了skiing tube 超級刺激!還有學生說那裡的溫度讓他很懷念家鄉哈哈哈,下午我們去新竹騎了腳踏車,海邊風景非常的美麗,學生暪都很開心~


我很喜歡大使這份工作,不但能在過程中了解不同文化之間的差異、讓外國人深刻體驗中華文化,更在介紹台灣的過程中對自己的國家多一分瞭解與喜愛,實在是一個很特別的經歷!

P1200695

Marcus

I just start my ambassador job for few weeks, and this job really bring me a lot of joy. At first, I was so shy that I even worried about quitting this job. However, it turn out to be the last nice shot of the last few months of my college life. Nobuyuki san is a friendly Japanese. He is the first student I met. Sab is really out-going. He always give me big smile. We enjoy singing Rich Chigga’s song together. Harald is such a nice person that once I mentioned I want to pursue master degree of Supply Chain in the United of States he started to give me a lot of useful information and advice. Fred likes to prank me, but, when I need help, he is always there. Nick and Andrew are my buddy. I was so sorry that I wasn’t there when they arrive Taiwan, and met them at welcome party for first time. Nick is such a hard-working student that he practice his Chinese every moment. Andrew is fun, always doing his old-school dance move and even take Taiwanese class. “賈霸沒” is the first word he say every time he saw me. Allie and Emily are like sisters. They do a lot of funny things and laugh together. Last but not least, I am happy that I join the interview of Ciee Ambassador.

 

 

DSC_0248

Allie

I initially chose Taiwan because it seemed most beneficial towards my academic career and the path I wanted to lead after college. But like most places I’ve been to, I end up expecting the unexpected. Although I’ve only been here for two weeks, I’ve experienced more than I anticipated and the memories I’ve made in such a short time are quickly making room for more to come. My CIEE group has become my extended family, I’ve met relatives I never knew I had and I’m taking courses including a graduate course, that I never thought I would take.

 

To recap, I’ve learnt that trash cans are hard to come by in Taipei, you can literally buy anything at 7/11 or Watsons and that the mountain we live on gives a great leg workout with the option to take a little pink bus for only 1 TWD which has become extremely tempting over over the last few days. Taiwan, in the limited time I have been here, has opened many possible opportunities and experiences for me and I honestly cannot wait for what the next 4 months has in stock.

P1200896

Maggie

This is my first semester to be a cultural ambassador in CIEE. Everything is new to me. I also have a lot of expectations of this program and myself. Sometimes I even worry about whether I do well enough or whether there is still more space for me to improve. Being an ambassador is a great chance for me to learn.

 

Not only going to the places that I haven’t been before but also going to the places that I have been before, I still have a lot of fun. I think this is the reason why people usually say that where you go doesn’t matter much, the most important is who you go with.


It is not easy to meet each other in such a big world, but I think I am really lucky to have this chance to meet all of you in CIEE and NCCU. I’m looking forward to making more memories with everyone.

 

DSC_0366

Nobu

I will just post newsletter in Chinese, since I need to practice Chinese no matter what. Sorry for any grammatical mistakes :)

 

從三月六號起,我開始上中文課,慢慢地學中文. 由於我來台灣這是第一次, 還沒去過中國, 我覺得台灣人說得真快!! 初次上課的時候,我覺得一點受不了,因為老師說的話我一點也聽不懂哈哈. 雖然我中文說得不流利,中文越學越有意思. 同學們是從俄國,韓國,法國和日本來的. 他們不是從上個學期在政大學習中文,就是曾經在台灣讀書. 現在我的中文沒有他們的好,不過我認為一個月內可以取得他們的中文程度. 加油,伸行!!! 我希望三個月內跟台灣朋友自由自在地聊天.

來到台灣以前,我沒想到文化大使們和同學們對我那麼好. 他們太體貼啊. 有時候他們幫我修正我寫的作業,也跟我很愉快地聊天. 非常感謝!!! 多多指教!!

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Marching onto the next adventure.

 

That wraps up the usual newsletter. Tune in next time for more amazing stories and adventures in beautiful Taiwan!

 

再見!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11/11/2016

2016 Fall CBPE Newsletter Vol. 2

Good morning Taipei!

1474900995789

 

We're well into October but the weather is still hot and the students are still as active as ever. Some highlights from this newsletter include day trips to Pingxi and Jiufen, a rousing game of Angels and Masters (think Secret Santa in October...), a Chinese Flute workshop hosted by one of our ambassadors, and lots and lots of cats!

DSC_0363

Patty

我覺得小天使小主人(Angels and Masters)的活動很有趣,除了讓我們能夠更增進彼此的感情外,也讓我們的生活處處充滿了驚喜。我為我的小主人準備了三樣我很喜歡的禮物:第一次是鳳梨酥,我真的非常喜歡我挑的那間鳳梨酥的味道,十分美味。後來,我們一行人一起到了平溪、菁桐、侯硐等地方,我在那裏看到了很有特色的鑰匙圈:侯硐最有特色的貓咪鑰匙圈,我覺得十分可愛,也非常適合我的小主人,同時,我也買了一個不同圖案的鑰匙圈給我的buddy,希望他也會喜歡。我後來又在一間復古的店裡,買到了台灣傳統古玩:劍玉,就也一起買給他了。後來,公布小天使小主人的那天,大家都很開心。這個活動讓大家的感情更緊密了。”

DSC08279

 

 

 

Chelsea Ho

We are now coming to the end of our second month and it’s been getting more and more fun! I love my 中文 teacher, He 老师. She’s teaching us a lot about conversational listening and speaking, which has been extremely useful for things like buying food, getting around the city, and especially ordering bubble tea. I was a little unlucky when I got sick but I finally got to try something that I think is very Eastern: wearing face masks in public! This is something that I seldom see in the U.S. so it was fun to try it out. A couple weeks after I got better, I heard about a music festival where the entrance fee was bringing your own six pack of beer! Again, something I was also surprised by, but I went with my friend, Ashlyn, and we had a great time listening to the punk rock bands all afternoon. I also now have a new ritual after class where my friends, Laura and Tiffany, and I hang out, nap, and do homework together. Good times, good times. Anyways, I really feel like I’m settling in; I already feel nostalgic about my time here in Taiwan! But I’m going to try my best to soak in every moment and keep on trying new things.”

IMG_2896

 

Jenny

這個月跟buddy去吃一家傳說中很厲害的吉季韓國料理,在中山國中站附近,位置很難找,我們來來回會迷路很多次終於到達了。結果餐廳還沒開,於是於是誤打誤撞去了旁邊一家很厲害的法國甜點店,我們吃得很滿足,最後也嚐到我人生目前心中排前幾的的韓國料理。那天很熱,台北街頭很悶,吃完飯便決定從市政府搭車回學校,還遇上了韓國歐爸蘇志燮跟JessicaLV站台,很多瘋狂粉絲,我們也跑進去湊熱鬧,結果舞台太矮,明星們都被人群擋住了,只能透過別人手上舉很高的攝影機查看,很有趣的經驗,平常如果自己一個人遇到了,肯定是退的八萬公尺遠,第一次這麼拼命地擠進去。

 

這個學期也過了快一半,很多學生快要離開,但好像因為錯過了前面的相處時間,沒辦法跟大家混得要好,自己也彆扭,也許之後會好一些,或是就要等到下學期重新來過?”

Thumb_IMG_2846_1024

The resemblance is uncanny! Houtong Cat Village is a small village located a train ride outside of Taipei. It began as a mining town during the era of Japanese rule in Taiwan. This continued until the 1990s, when coal production declined, and with it the town's fortunes. However, after 2008, a local cat aficionado began organizing volunteers to bring stray and abandoned cats to the village to be cared for. Now, the town is famous throughout Asia as a tourist destination for animal and history lovers, with many memorials to the mining history of the town and, of course, many many cats...

DSC09131

 

Chiatso Huang

Chiatso huang ciee photo

 

It has been more than a month in school. Time flies. There are so many things to explore in Taiwan. During my time in school, I have noticed there are some differences between Taiwan’s college and US’s college. For example, in Taiwan, there is no tutoring center on campus to help students if they need some kind of assignment help. The only way to get help is to ask the teaching assistants or the classmates for help. In the US college, that I was in, it has a tutoring center that allows students to get assignment help from a tutor. Another difference is that in Taiwan’s classes, they don’t have a strict rule about grade level and the major in a class, so students’ grade level and the major might be different with each other. During this semester, I have taken too many classes which made me kind of too busy. On the other side, I have learnt a lot within this past month, such as I have learnt new techniques on Photoshop and web design.

Besides course work, I have explored to the famous technology street in Taipei. There are a lot of different technology stores that sell computers, cameras, and other technology devises. It is a street full of computers’ related accessories. On the way to the technology street, there is also a skateboard park under a highway. People gathering over there to practice skateboard tricks.”

DSC09175

 

Cassidy

到了學期中,不僅學生們越來越適應台灣,我和他們也越來越熟。我們一起體驗了國樂專題活動,因為John很用心準備這次的講座,所以所有人對中國樂器有了初步的認識,更特別地是還有了中國笛初體驗,有一些人一開始連成功地吹出聲音都試了很久,但也有人一下子可以吹一小段旋律,我想這個難得的國樂體驗活動是大家很難忘的回憶;而從迎新晚會開始為期大約一個月的小天使小主人活動也揭曉了,也許在這段時間我沒有準備很貴重的禮物,但我竭盡所能地為她作好事,後來也有找到我覺得理想的禮物送她,在揭曉的那天,我很高興看到我的小主人Francesca開心,但更令人印象深刻的是我的小主人也是我的小天使,雖然我沒猜到,不過我覺得很有意思,我喜歡揭曉的時候她那種發自內心的興奮,讓我覺得我們是真正的好朋友。”

 

 

Tradition says that the “Sky Lantern” was first invented by Zhuge Liang during the Three Kingdoms period of China. What began as a way to transmit messages has evolved into a yearly festival where people write their prayers for the year on lanterns and release them into the sky. While the Lantern Festival is once a year and generally during March or February, after the Chinese New Year celebrations, people can still come to Pingxi throughout the year to enjoy this tradition.

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Showing off those flute skills!

John flute ciee

 

Alex Hansen

I have always thought of a flute as an instrument that uses valves, holes, and other various contraptions to direct a flow of air through itself and produce, through some sort of magic, a nice noise. While this is not totally wrong, it does not take into account a Chinese flute. Before last Thursday, I had never seen a Chinese flute before.

Last Thursday, our CIEE ambassadors (namely John and his flute-playing friends) led a small clinic on how to play the Chinese flute. I’m just going to cut to the chase here and spill the beans: the Chinese flute makes noise through vibrating a thin membrane, which has historically been snakeskin. To be fair, an artificial membrane is the modern equivalent, but, a flute that vibrates snakeskin to make a pitch? That is pretty cool, even if it is pseudo-snakeskin. The flute is very light and easy to hold, even if it can be a bit challenging to make noise for beginners. Okay, very challenging.

We got to learn about some of the other kinds of Chinese instruments thanks to a lovely powerpoint assembled by John, and we got April to promise to perform for us one day, but that day has not yet come. I won’t say that I want to become a professional Chinese flute player after that experience, but I did browse flute prices a bit…US$20 does not seem like a bad deal.”

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John

從學生們來台灣到現在,不知不覺已經過了將近兩個月。這段期間,第一次辦了一個國樂的workshop,站在僅僅是坐不到20人的教室台前,用著不太連貫的英文參雜中文介紹中國的樂器給這些美國學生們,我感受到前所未有的緊張(甚至比去比賽時還緊張)

不好意思的是沒能清楚完整地傳達這些資訊,一些剛學中文沒多久的學生們大概無法了解;要感謝大家的是,大家踴躍的參與超出了我的預期,同時也很感謝大家對我口語表達準備不夠充足的包容 (當天辦完之後超想死……),希望經過這次的workshop 大能對國樂有更進一步的認識。”

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Showing that CIEE Taipei Pride!

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This wraps up our usual newsletter. Keep an eye out for the next one to see more of the amazing things our students are doing during their time in Taipei, Taiwan.

 

再見!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/24/2016

2016 Fall CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1

Greetings from balmy Taipei!

Typhoon season has come and gone in Taiwan's largest city, and our CIEE student's have experienced both traditional and modern Taipei. So far, this semester has been a joyous one, here are some of the highlights taken from the students themselves!

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Ashlyn

Even though I have been to Taiwan several times already, this study abroad experience has by far been my best experience in Taiwan. The first time I came here, I was on holiday with my parents and experienced Taipei solely from a tourist perspective. The next time I came, I studied for one month at NTNU but did not find many opportunities to create bonds with other foreigners and locals.

 

The CIEE family created tons of opportunities for us, both the study abroad students and the cultural ambassadors, to bond and create relationships from the get-go. Even though we are only a month into the program, I feel like I have already made so many new lifelong friends!

 

In addition to the bonds we have forged, the CIEE program has also given us the opportunity to experience Taiwan from a tourist perspective and a local perspective with activities ranging from night market excursions to eating at a local breakfast restaurant. Although the courses are intensive, I think it is important to experience actually living in Taiwan, not just studying here and CIEE has definitely provided us with the resources (shout out to all the amazing cultural ambassadors) to experience Taiwan organically.

 

I’m excited to continue to gain more amazing experiences and memories the rest of the semester!”


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Chelsea

Today marks the end of our third week in CIEE’s study abroad program and oh man! It’s been such a journey... and it’s really only the beginning!

I’ve started a hashtag #meetmytwfriends on my instagram because the most exciting part of this experience has been making new local friends and international friends (mostly Californian, actually lol). I’m so happy that people here are so friendly and I’m fascinated by the earnestness of local people. It sounds strange and I haven’t found the best way to explain it but I don’t know... there’s definitely a special quality that Taiwanese people have that I really appreciate and hope to pick up myself.


Besides making new friends, I’ve spent a lot of time appreciating Taiwan’s views. There’s this spot about halfway up the upper campus hill, next to the river where I like to wander and listen to music. There’s also the street by the main gate where I still get that awestruck feeling of, “I can’t believe I’m in Taiwan right now,” when I look around and absorb all the hustle bustle of the rush hour traffic and good food smells. It’s been nice. I’m really glad that all the right circumstances have brought me to this point in my life.”

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Charlotte

Studying and living in another country has been such an interesting experience so far. The CIEE program has been such a great way to learn more about the culture, history, people, the city, and especially the food. Which has been pretty amazing, although I have been craving raw vegetables (but luckily I can buy carrots from local grocery stores!)

 

Adjusting to a new environment can be tough, but the CIEE ambassadors have been amazing and have been so helpful, friendly, and also hilarious. Exploring Taipei and other parts of Taiwan with them and the other CIEE students has been so much fun. Everywhere we’ve gone has been highlighted with fun exchanges of culture, jokes, and a good appreciation of the sights around us.

 

And there is a multitude of gorgeous sights in Taipei, especially near Chengda, where the hills surrounding the campus are such a verdant and lush shade of green. One of my favorite experiences so far was hiking up one of the hills and arriving at a temple with a spectacular view.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester holds!”

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Sarah

It’s refreshing being here. Despite the smog, being in Taipei is like a breath of fresh air. It’s easier to appreciate the little things; jokes are funnier, sights are prettier, and my day to day life brighter! And I have an excellent group of people around me to encourage the near giddiness I feel being back in the country I consider my true home.

I’m blown away at how impactful this experience has been for me so far. I mean I’m a generally pessimistic person and I’ve lived here before with an extraordinary experience then as well, I figured it’d be beyond wishful thinking to assume that my time here would even equal that of last time. How was I to know that it would be even better?


Between the amazing people I’ve met, the unbelievably cool things I’ve seen, the delicious food that I missed so much, and getting back to a language I love it’s been incredible being back in Taiwan - it’s like I never left! I’m so happy here and I’m really excited to see what’s in store for me next! :)”

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Cassidy

As a new cultural ambassador for CIEE, it has been a great beginning for me. Most of the ambassadors and the students met each other and enjoyed time together at the welcome party. We took turns to perform and played games together, and I would say the night was really a great start for the semester. It was also at the welcome party that I actually got to become friends with my buddy Jojo! I was so happy to have him as my buddy because he was really nice and easy-going. I was very excited about other things we could do in the next couple of months and hopefully he will like Taiwan a lot.

The 3-day excursion trip to central Taiwan was what came up next. We started off with the most famous night market in Taiwan, tried many kinds of Taiwanese snacks and ended up satisfied and got prepared for the adventure the next day—riding bicycles and taking a boat trip around Sun Moon Lake. It was a special experience for all of us and we had a really good time there. Our trip continued with traditional fan-making as we all got to make paper ourselves and our own fan from scratch. It was cool to make our own souvenirs! The trip was not just about having fun and going out for me, it was more about getting closer with everybody.”

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04/01/2016

2016 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1

Newsletter #1: And So It Begins...

 

Sierra Ponthier  白雪

 Davidson College

My gate from LAX to Taipei was the very last one in the terminal. On my way to it I passed by flights departing for Singapore, Australia, Spain, and many more. Looking around I wondered who was going where and what emotions and feelings were running through their minds right at that moment. Were they going home? Vacation? Work? Travel? Were they happy? Sad? Overwhelmed? Relieved? Scared? I could only speculate about other people from my vantage point, but what I did know was how I was feeling. To answer the question I have been asked a couple dozen times, yes. I am excited. Very, VERY excited.

To kick off this blog I figured it would be helpful to just spit out answers to the most frequent questions I’ve been receiving, so here it goes.

Why Taiwan?

I wanted to go somewhere where I could practice Chinese. This narrows is down to basically China and Taiwan. I’ve been to China during high school and did not necessarily feel a strong inclination to spend a whole semester there. However, I continuously hear incredible things about Taiwan and how different it is from the Mainland. Plus, my high school Chinese teacher and many of my classmates are from Taiwan and they always told me about how awesome the food scene is on the tiny island and how friendly the people are. Upon further research I came to find that this miraculous island contains numerous opportunities for both my academic and personal interests: opportunities in the environmental social sciences, vast natural features including sublime mountains that run directly into sandy, blue beaches, and of course, food that can only be described after I’ve indulged in its deliciousness. Do make sure to check out the About page to read more about Taiwan and its background.

What will you be doing in Taiwan?

Studying, of course. The program is called Communications, Business, and Political Economy and is through CIEE (a third party American provider). I will be directly enrolling in classes at National Chengchi University (NCCU) in Taipei, Taiwan. NCCU has some of the best social science programs in all of Asia and is especially known for its business school. Classes roughly will include Social and Economic Change in Taiwan, The History of Taiwan After WWII, The Spatial Development of Mainland China, Economics of Fair Trade, and Mandarin Chinese.

Dorm or homestay?

Dorm with one roommate. I think Taiwanese.

How long will you be there?

Feb 16th – June 26th with plans to travel around Southeast Asia for a few weeks once the program ends.

You said you wanted to go somewhere where they speak Chinese…so do they speak Chinese or Taiwanese there?

While there is a Taiwanese language, its mostly only used by the older generations or people in the southern part of Taiwan. Mandarin is widely spoken, which I am familiar with. However, the tricky thing is the written language. I have learned simplified characters, but they use traditional in Taiwan. It will be an adjustment, but people tell me it isn’t too difficult to pick up.

What are you hoping to gain from this experience?

I have two main objectives in mind.

On the academic side: It would be nice to come out with an idea for a Senior Capstone research project. As an environmental studies major, I am always concerned about how different countries handle and view various environmental issues such as natural resource/wildlife/national park preservation, water use, food security, etc. However, recently I have become more interested in the role that business plays in combatting these issues. Taiwanese people are increasingly more aware of their environment and I wonder what role this plays in Taiwanese-Chinese business relations as well as Taiwan-Global relations.

On the personal side: I feel that Taiwan is the perfect size for a 5 month adventure. It’s not so big that I’ll only be able to see one tiny fraction of the country, but certainly not so small that I’ll get bored. I’m hoping to use my weekends and spare time to travel around and see as much of the island as possible – from national parks to road cycling to hiking to exploring indigenous communities to eating at all the night markets to snorkeling and watching wind surfers off the nearby island – there is a lot to see, do, and eat on this small island.

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10/14/2015

Happy Birthday~!

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Happy Birthday to Joshua Grose, Keith Chew and Cynthia Vetro! 

Wish you all have a wonderful time in Taiwan!!

09/14/2015

2015 Fall CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1

Newsletter #1: The Taiwan Experience

 

Keith Chew  趙展揚 

 The University of Texas at Austin

It hadn’t hit me when I stepped off the plane. It hit me when I was on my way to NCCU. But it wasn’t because of the street signs, or the foreign language. It was because the CIEE staff had put in tremendous effort into making me feel at home. I was completely relaxed, opposite from what I had expected I’d be, and I could wholeheartedly and completely take in the amazing landscapes and new culture around me. It was a home away from home, but better. I was finally here.

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04/13/2015

2015 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.6

 

Newsletter #1: The Taiwan Experience

 

Iván Díaz 狄伊凡

 

Taiwan has far surpassed my expectations for this semester. A mere two weeks into my study abroad experience, I have loved every single thing that I have experienced. To begin with, life in Taipei is so affordable and public transportation is very convenient. I love the way nature makes itself present in every part of the city, so I particularly enjoy every view. I have met truly amazing people, each already leaving a mark on my life and experience.

 

 

 

I’ve had my second job experience here in Taiwan, and I couldn’t be happier. The Taiwanese concept of work and interning is completely different than in the United States, and I have been treated like another member of the company: I have been trusted with developing projects that will actually have an impact on future company activities. Far beyond simply having something to put on a resume, it’s providing invaluable experience that I wouldn’t be able to attain this early on in my professional career.

 

 

 

Personally, I believe that what makes Taiwan such a beautiful and special place is its people.  With very few exceptions, the majority of Taiwanese I have interacted with have been really friendly and willing to help.  Taiwanese people are so hard-working, focused, and value the importance of helping others. I’ve felt more at home, allowing me to feel more comfortable about using my Chinese and learning as much as I can. Two weeks into my study abroad experience, I can safely say it could not have started any better.
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04/08/2015

2015 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.7

Alex Barker 巴立信 -CBPE Student



My first three weeks in Taiwan have been full of surprises--both positive and negative ones (though luckily, the first category has far outweighed the second!)

Having spent a bit of time in mainland China, I was amazed by Taipei’s verdant landscape: the NCCU campus is enveloped by thickly-forested hills, while the downtown districts are full of parks and other green spaces. What a pleasant contrast to China’s urban jungles!

 

Unfortunately, my sense of excitement at arriving in Taiwan was marred somewhat during my first weekend, when my passport was stolen. The good news was that the CIEE staff was extremely helpful in resolving the situation--Ken accompanied me to the police station to file a report and to the immigration bureau to get an exit permit. All in all, the whole situation ended up not being that bad.

 

I was also surprised academically my first week here, when I stumbled into the wrong class: one taught in Chinese, with Taiwanese classmates. I felt too embarrassed at my mistake to leave right away and ended up resolving to stay until the next break. Yet to my astonishment, I was able to follow along with the lecture fairly well. This has continued to be the case for the next couple weeks, and on Friday I formalized my enrollment in the class. Though I have no doubt it will be a challenge, my personal philosophy regarding language acquisition is that it pays to put oneself into difficult, often uncomfortable, situations as much as possible. Nobody ever became fluent in Chinese by exchanging  “你好! 你怎麽樣?" with each other inside a classroom.

 

In accordance with this view, I also jumped at a unique opportunity last week to appear on some Taiwanese TV shows. Full disclosure: I am a quiet, introverted guy. Appearing on TV speaking a language I have only studied for a few years, in front of potentially hundreds of thousands of viewers, is so incredibly far outside my comfort level that you might as well ask me to go to the Moon. Yet that’s what I’ve doing this week. It’s not only a way to conquer my personal anxieties, but also to improve my Mandarin. We’ll see where it goes; I have no preconceived notions about my ability to become to a 電視明星!


See everyone next time! Best,

Alex
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