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7 posts from October 2013


Fall 2013, Course of Events III

Gerald's Birthday!!!

Oct. 9                                     By:Jerry

         Actually Gerald’s birthday is on 10/13, but we prepared a pre-birthday parrty for him! Gerald wasteaching English in the AHS of NCCU(The Affiliated High School of National ChengChi University) on this day until 17:30. In advance, we had our staff, the cake and the card ready, waiting for Gerald’sarrival by the fountain to practice the ancient tradition of NCCU, throwing the birthday boys/ girls into the school fountain! First we asked Debby, who worked with Gerald in the AHS of NCCU, to stall Gerald from coming back to NCCU too early. In the meantime we secretly hid in ambush behind the bushes around the fountain. When Gerald finally got there, we rushed out while Zach and Eric grabbed Gerald and threw him into the fountain! After the surprise, we headed to Commerce Building for the cake. According to Gerald, it was the warmest birthday party ever! Wish all Gerald’s wishes come true!

Everyone in the Commerce Building eating the cake!

Gerald came out from the fountain with soaking wet lol~


Field trip to Pingxi

Oct. 10                           By: Gigi

              Our first field trip is to the traditional Taiwanese township Pingxi. We took a direct bus from NCCU to Shifen first. There were lots of vendors selling snacks like roast sausages and drinks along the railway. We also released sky lanterns right beside the railway. It was touching when we watched all the sky lanterns carrying everyone’s wishes flying high. Then, we headed to a nearby suspension bridge which connected two small villages and took lots of funny photos on it.

Students and ambassadors' faces on the sky lantern!

We tried hard to take a normal photo on the extremely shaky suspension bridge!

Hope the train won't come soon so we can rest for a while!


Group photo with everybody indirectly looking at the camera!


Trip to Xinmending!!

Oct. 13                                By: Felix

           Hanny invited others CIEE students to Ximending, one of the biggest bazaars in Taiwan. We tried plenty of snacks ranging from thin noodles to flaky scallion crepe. Aside from food, Dan bought his new earrings in a small store and Lizzee bought a new dress in Net. We did have a lot of fun. In the end, we had dinner at an authentic Mexican restaurant where I had some tacos and cheese fries, which I have never tried before. After this trip, I felt that sometimes we ambassadors don’t need to plan too much for these students because it’s improbable for us to really predict what would interest them. Through walking around Ximending with them, I got to know Taipei again!


Having Mexican food!!

So lucky to come across a stud!!

Roast meat, Tacos, and thin noodles are all delicious!!


Special thanks to Zach Caputo for proof reading the blogs!





by Hongling Xu















My time in Taiwan


My time in Taiwan

by Dan Perera


So far, Taiwan has been pretty amazing.  Especially in ways I have least expected.  One of my most favorite memories so far has to be our three day trip during the Mid-Autumn festival.  To sum it up, we went to Miaoli to learn about some native Taiwanese people, on the second day we went to the Sun-Moon Lake to relax and enjoy the amazing scenery, and finally we ate a lot of food and returned back home.  It may not seem like the most eventful three days but it was really a strong bonding experience for a bunch of new foreigners and local students.  For us foreigners we had all came from the US, so making connections there wasn’t too difficult.  At first I thought that making friends with Taiwanese kids would be really hard.  It helped that they all spoke English quite well so being able to transcend cultural differences and find common ground was actually really fun and easy.  Some of these relationships maybe late blooming, being difficult to overcome language barriers at first.  However, I feel like all of them are some of the most rewarding friends I will even make.  Not only in their ability to help me with my Chinese but also to open my eyes to different ways of thinking.  Some of these kids are just really fun to sit around and talk to, too!  There are some small things here and there that I find myself missing from back home, just like any abroad experience.  But these friends help me to take my mind off of it and focus on all the great things still ahead of me in these upcoming months.  






不知不覺,來台灣已經有兩週了,我很喜歡這裡自然祥和的文化氛圍,也許是源於我對“慢”生活的熱忱。這裡有可愛的公民,擁簇而不失美感的街道樓房;這裡住著悠閒淡定的流浪狗,和一整片不知疲倦而變化的雲彩;這裡的美食好吃得有點過分,這裡的校園安靜起來很醉人。回想剛來台灣的第一個傍晚,我站在機場迎著立交橋的大門遠遠望去,搞笑的司機大叔飛快地把車穩穩地停在我的面前,像一陣帥氣的風对我挥手说“Welcome To Taiwan”! 那一刻起,我對台灣產生了第一個印象:天很藍,風很輕,縱使快要黑夜,絲毫不影響它們本來的模樣。




The Kindness of Taiwan by Rachel Lu


The Kindness of Taiwan 

September 30, 2013

by Rachel Lu


        Before I left the United States for Taiwan, I thought everything about the Taiwan Consulate in New York City was cheesy. From the security guy who greeted me with “Welcome to Taiwan!” in an overly enthusiastic sing-song voice as I stepped out of the elevator even though we were still in America to the signs with adorable cartoons and rainbow-colored font that read “Love Taiwan!” it was all cheesy advertising to me. After living in the city (that’s New York City for us east-coasters) for the summer, I became one of those pokerfaced people riding the subway, ignoring anyone who asked for directions and barely apologizing if I accidentally pushed someone out of my way. Because that’s how I thought you survive in the real world; you don’t fall for rainbow advertisements because they’re just trying to sell you something that doesn’t exist. There aren’t rainbows every day here in Taiwan, but there’s something else that comes close. There’s something about the people here that is only barely embodied by the security guy who sings “Welcome to Taiwan!” everyday in the Consulate in New York City.

        I arrived almost a week before the rest of the students in my CIEE CBPE program, so I stayed with my aunt, who graciously took me in and was more than excited to show me around Taiwan. Even though this was basically the first time we had met, she treated me like her own daughter. I figured it was just the way you treat family, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other. But as I begin the fourth week of my study abroad program living in the dorms as an exchange student and embark on my own journeys, I have found that nearly everyone in Taiwan treats you like family.

        Everyone (and I really mean everyone) will tell you about how amazing the food in Taiwan is. The inexpensive, delicious, healthy food is definitely one of the best reasons to study abroad here. But what you might not hear about as often is the kindness and grace behind these restaurants or the food stands on the sides of the streets (which are not sketchy!). You don’t tip here like you do in the States. I’ve heard that if you do leave a tip, restaurant owners will feel as if you pity them. They would rather you return to the restaurant and eat on a regular basis. It’s like they want to share with you their joy in cooking. Restaurant owners are happiest when you enjoyed their food so much so that your bowl is as clean as my dog licks his bowl.

        Beyond analyzing restaurant etiquette, I have also experienced the patience of other peers at NCCU. I just started learning Chinese, so when I need to ask for help, it’s in broken Chinglish (that’s a mix a Chinese and English). Today, I was trying to learn how to print at the library, and even though I had asked the people at the information desk, I still could not figure it out. So as I have learned the hard way, the most important phrase you need to learn is 不好意思 (bù hăo yì si – or “excuse me”), which I used to ask the girl sitting next to me if she could help me print. She immediately stopped in the middle of what she was working on to help me figure it out. And when she couldn’t figure it out either, she helped me ask another student and even go back to the information desk to ultimately learn that the computers and printers were experiencing wireless problems. Regardless, a complete stranger dropped her work and took almost half an hour to help me figure out how to print at the library. She could have pretended she didn’t know what I was saying or apologized for not being able to help halfway through, but she stuck it out with me until the end.

        The way everyone treats each other in Taiwan is as if we’re all related. Restaurant owners feed you like you’re their own blood-related children, and peers patiently help you as if we’re all siblings. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I’m a foreigner, but I’m Taiwanese-American, so most people can’t tell the difference based on looks. And even if they can, I’ve seen the kindness between citizens as well. This past weekend at the celebration of Confucius’s birthday, we were crammed into a small space to watch the ceremony, and we ended up standing right next to the boy playing the giant bell. Even though I couldn’t see much of the actual ceremony because I’m too short, I watched as every once in a while a woman standing near the boy gave him a towel to wipe the dripping sweat off his face. The kindness and consideration every citizen shows towards complete strangers is so heartwarming.




Every person is a child of every mother in Taiwan. Since I’ve been here, it has felt like I haven’t left home – It feels as if I have simply gone to visit entire country of relatives. Calling the Taiwanese people “nice” is such an understatement, and all my anxiety from not being able to speak the language of the country I’m studying abroad in has been alleviated from every person’s warm “Welcome to Taiwan!”



在我還在美國,尚未出發來台灣之前,台灣駐美辦事處在我眼裡俗俗的 ─ 警衛在我步出電梯後,以一種過於激昂的聲調跟我說:『歡迎來到台灣』,我人甚至還在美國而已、以及寫著 “我愛台灣”的彩虹配色的字樣,這些對我來說都只是很俗氣的廣告而已。在紐約的這個暑假,我儼然成為了那些扳著撲克牌臉搭捷運、忽略來問路的路人、不小心推撞到別人也不會道歉的人。我以為那就是在現實生活中存活的方式。你不會為了彩虹字樣的廣告而傾倒,因為他們想要推銷給你的東西根本不存在。在台灣並不是天天都會出現彩虹,但每天都會出現非常類似的東西。這裡的人們擁有一種那位天天高唱著『歡迎來到台灣』的台灣駐美辦事處的警衛無法呈現的特質。

 我比其他CIEE CBPE的學生早到台灣一個禮拜。這段時間,我和我阿姨一起住,他熱情的款待我並且帶我四處認識台灣。雖然這是我們第一次見面,但是他待我如親生女兒。我隨後了解到這就是台灣人對待親人的方式,不會因為分隔的時間長短而改變。遊學的生活已邁入第四週,從不論是宿舍生活或是其他在地旅遊中,我發現在這裡,幾乎每一個人都用對待親人的方式對待你。







Fall 2013, Course of Events II

Three day Excursion

Miaoli Hakka Cultural Park, Shan Ban Qiao mask museum and an ancient three-section courtyard house.

Sep. 19th                                  By:Tina

Miaoli Hakka Cultural Park

      During the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, CIEE students and ambassadors went on a three-day field trip, to experience the culture and scenery of central Taiwan.

     The first destination was the Miaoli Hakka Cultural Park (苗栗銅鑼客家文化園).  The Hakka ethnic group is one of the largest ethnic groups in Taiwan. To Taiwanese, the Hakka people are known especially for two characteristics: their work ethic and their hospitality. Inside the cultural center,  visitors can learn more about the history and beautiful culture of the Hakka people. 

Students looking at a model of a traditional Chinese three-section courtyard house which inside the Miaoli Hakka Cultural Park.


Enjoying Hakka dishes.

San Ban Qiao mask museum

         Our second destination was Shan Ban Qiao mask museum. We were first introduced to many typical masks that appear in Peking Opera (京劇). Different colors on the masks indicate certain traits of a character. For example, gold stands for fortune. After the introduction, we started making our own masks. Some CIEE students were exceptionally creative; they created their own new characters or painted the original masks with new color combinations that looked very fashionable indeed. After everyone had finished and had a good rest, we couldn’t miss out on the reknowned San-Yi woodcarving street(三義木雕街) just nearby. We walked down the street to take a look at all the wood crafts which ranged from combs to huge furniture to Budda woodcarvings.

    As we left for our place to stay for the night, we noticed that we were really in the countryside. All we could see from the bus windows were farms and a few farm houses. We stayed in a three-section courtyard house, which was a traditional Chinese building during our great grandmother’s generation. Though it wasn’t as convenient as a hotel, it was a cool experience. 

Student Zach translated the meaning of every mask.

The delicate process of making our own masks at Shan Ban Qiao museum.


The finished products---our own masks.

Star Wars!


Using cell phone to write CIEE TAIPEI

Yuan-Li Half-day itinerary & Sun Moon Lake

Sep. 20th                              By: Gigi

Yuan-Li Half-day itinerary

 After a traditional Chinese breakfast, we started our tour by performing Taiwanese drama in the ancient Taiwanese house. Students and ambassadors worked together to make the first Taiwanese drama in English! Then we had a half-day tour in Yuan-Li. We saw everything from a Japanese style dormitory to a conventional Taiwanese community. After the countryside-style lunch, we headed to Sun Moon Lake, one of the most famous tour spot in Taiwan. We had a cruise tour around Sun Moon Lake, watched a traditional aboriginal dancing show, and enjoyed a typical local dinner. After the delicious meal, we took a stroll along the lake, bought some souvenirs and special snacks, and then went back to our comfortable hotel located beside the beautiful lake.

Our beautiful actors!


Visiting the Japanese style buildings.

Cruise around Sun Moon Lake.

 S.M. Lake Exploration & Paper Fan Making & Return

Sep. 21                                 By: Jerry

It was the last day of the trip, but everyone still had energy and was so enthusiastic about everything. After breakfast, we were seperated into three groups: one for the temple visiting, another for biking, and another for walking around. Some of the students and ambassadors went to the temple of the god of matchmaking to ask whether or not they would find their husband or wife. For some of the biking group members, it was their first time riding a bike and they made it, saying it was more fun than horror. When we finished lunch, we headed to Puli’s(埔里) GuangXing Papermaking Factory(廣興紙寮). Most of the students had never made paper fans before. They were all excited about it and so focused on making their own best paper fans. On the way home, it was quite a karaoke party! We sang for about two or three hours. Everyone sang happily, despite the language differences and the unfamiliarity of some of the songs. Although it was raining outside the bus, the passion inside the bus was such that nobdy wanted the trip to end. We had the best field trip ever!

The students were asking god of matchmaker for a good relationship

The students were riding the bikes.

Everyone with their own hand-made fan





Fall 2013, Course of Events I


CBPE Students arrving in Taiwan

Sep. 11th          By: Felix

Today was a very beautiful, sunny and cloudless Tuesday morning. I arrived at the NCCU main gate at around 8 o’clock and, to my surprise, Denny and his father were already there waiting for the CIEE ambassadors. His father was really kind and then he drove us up the hill to the dorm where Denny can finally take some rest and purchase some toiletries. After purchasing what Denny needed, we went to the CIEE office where we met the other ambassadors and students. We then wen to purchase sim cards for the student’s phones and then set out for the OIC orientation.


Placement test & Welcome Party

Sep. 12th          By:Jerry

We took the CBPE students to have lunch at Le Shan (樂山) today! Le Shan is a Japanese style restaurant that is very popular among the college students near NCCU. After stuffing themselves with the food, they went back to school to take the language assessment test. After the test, we held a welcome party to get them familiar with the ambassadors and the ICLC students! At the beginning, we had welcome words by Christie introducing CIEE, and we introduced ourselves to each other. Then as an icebreaker, we played charades. The most impressive vocabularies were T-Rex and Buddha. Gerald, one of the ICLC students, acted so vividly that he led his team to victory! He is so cool. After charades, we played a decoding game that involved everyone to use their bodies and move around. Everyone was tangled together and before we knew it, hilarity ensued. Everyone was tumbling around and laughter filled the air for what seemed like an eternity. The night ended very successfully as everyone at the welcome party enjoyed!

Have lunch in Le Shan(樂山)!

Playing game in welcome party!


Longshan Temple, Yoga workshop and Movie time!

Sept. 13th                 By: Gigi

    After visiting the Immigration Agency and Banks, we headed to Longshan temple! Longshan temple is home to a famous temple in Monga where you can appreciate both the exquisite wood sculptures, grand architecture and worship divine spirits. The students walked around the temple, praying to the statues and learning about their history. After the thorough walkthrough, the students attended in the Yoga workshop led by 麥怡, an ICLC student. She introduced some basic movements to everyone and gave us a taste of the Yoga culture! After dinner, everyone watched a famous Taiwanese movie, Cape No.7. Cape No. 7 is about the unwavering pursuits for music, drama and love, which provided an introduction of South Taiwan’s breathtaking scenery through its top-notch cinematography.

Yoga workshop!

Yoga teacher!Our ICLC student!

Special thanks to Gerald Chew for proof reading the blogs!