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12 posts from April 2014

04/10/2014

Spring 2014, Course of Events III

Scavenger Hunt

Mar. 22      

By Tiffany Deng

Here came the first half-day trip, Scavenger Hunt! Gathering at NCCU main gate slightly after lunch time on Saturday, most of us had a drowsy look. Yet as we walked to the bus stop, the atmosphere became exciting all of a sudden. Apparently we were ready to explore the whole Taipei city and complete the missions!

We were separated into red, green and blue teams, which corresponded to the red, green, and blue line of the Taipei Metro. The three groups started the adventure officially at Gong-Guang Metro Station, heading to three different directions. We were to take the challenge of “Asking strangers for directions,” from which we could only show the pictures of the places printed out on a board, and follow the information from strangers whether it is correct or not. With a Metro One-Day Pass in hands, we were able to take the metro to anywhere without the pressure of cost.

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[Red Team] - Tamsui Line

Through rolling the dice, the first stop happened to be located at the branch metro station of Red Line, Xin Bei Tou. We TRIED HARD to ask a woman for direction IN CHINESE before getting on the subway. Thanks to her enthusiasm, we got the most detailed direction! It was a nice opportunity to practice speaking by talking to strangers!

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After arrival, beyond expectation, we found the wooden library was under maintenance. We then decided to take a look at the Thermal Valley. Steaming and bubbling, the close contact with geothermal energy was definitely a new and special experience to most of us.

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Later on, we went to Tamsui, where old streets have good food and scenery by the outlet of Tamsui river. We were surpreised by how many vendors there were, one after another on the streets. We completed our objective easily since it was a “Food Noughts and Crosses.” Sitting next to the harbor, enjoying the sun sinking with all the sunset-orange light upon us, at Tamsui this truly beatiful place we ended the splendid exploration.

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[Green Team] - XinDien Line

National Taiwan University was one of our destination. We had to find our colleges according to the ones back to the States, and take photos in front of them. It was really a huge campus comparing to NCCU, we sweated so much and our legs were sore, but we did enjoy the relaxing atmosphere there was on a Saturday afternoon.

Then we went to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall(中正紀念堂), for some of us, it wasn’t our first time being  here, but having close look to the large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek was still amazing.

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Finally, it was Bridge of BiTan(碧潭橋). Walking on the bridge and looking down at the river, we realized that was truly a great place for couples to have their romantic dates. Thus we reached the objective of taking photos with two couples rapidly and went for the delicious foods from the vendors aisle.

 

[Blue Team] - BanNan Line

Song-San Cutural Park was our first destination, the objective was to find our favorite part from the entire park, and explain the reason to ambassadors IN CHINESE. It was really a place with the imaginative’s creative ideas.

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After another ride on metro, we arrived The Sun-Yet-Sen Memorial Hall(國父紀念館). We were there at such a perfect timing, all of us witnessed the honor guards conducting their shifting ceromonial duty.

Our last destination, XiMenDing, a popular shopping district for young people. Girls in our team totally enjoyed looking around and trying on makeup. We ended our day by taking a photo in front of the red house(紅樓) and getting extraordinary fried chicken cutlets!

The day ended with all three teams taking Metro around, walking all day, and having lots of fun. It was indeed an exhausting yet spirit-contenting and belly-satisfying adventure!

Spring 2014, Course of Events II

Hualien 3-Day Excursion

Mar. 7~9

By Maggie Sun

Day1~2

Gathering at Song-Shan Train Station, we originally thought such a large group with more than 40 people would take us a long time but were soon proven to be wrong. Everyone got there on time, and we soon set off on our long-awaited Hualien trip.

With a group of 40 people, one could say that the train car we were sitting in was almost like our own private carriage. We were told that it would take us two hours to arrive in Hualien, yet accompanied by friends and delicious meal-boxes, time flew.

After the arrival, we immediately headed to one of the most famous night markets in the area – Zi-Chiang night market. Despite the fact that we had just finished eating on the train, we still managed to have space for BBQ, roasted corn, juice, candied gourd and many other delicious snacks. Having arrived in Hualien late in the evening, we decided to get some rest at the B&B first so that we would have enough energy for the next day’s adventure.

 

The next morning started off with a typical Chinese breakfast, comprised of porridge, vegetables, dried pork floss, pickling products, and fried eggs. Professor David’s wife kindly offered to be the guide of the day as she herself is a local. We soon got on the bus and headed towards our next stop – the Taroko National Park. One should never claim to have been to Hualien without visiting the famous Taroko Park, unique for its high cliffs and deep valley. We went on a small hiking along the path of the Park. While some walked with amazing speed and even had time to go down to the river and enjoy the chilly water splashing on their feet, others chose to walk slowly and chat along the way.

We also walked along the Jiuqudong Trail, meaning the Tunnel of Nine Turns. We were required to wear helmets in order to prevent us from being hit by the occasional falling rocks. Wearing blue helmets, we looked like a bunch of mineworkers. While walking, we didn’t forget to stop and enjoy the spectacular scenery where the sheer cliffs face so closely to each other. We were told that this splendid view was the result of tens of thousands of years of river erosion.

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Afterwards, we had a short boat rowing section at a pond. Those who didn’t want to row boats rented bicycles and rode around the pond. Most of us were pretty hungry and exhausted at the moment but were looking forward to the BBQ back at the B&B.

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During the BBQ, we had to wait in lines for food as there weren’t enough grills. However, with the help of a few people who volunteered to do the roasting work, most of us had our stomachs satisfied and happy. Some people even brought their guitars and played a few songs while people were waiting for food, making the whole BBQ session very relaxing and pleasant. What soon followed was the grand Casino. Having different tables with various gambling cards and dice games, students were allowed to go around to the different tables and win more money using the 5000 dollars that were given to them before the games started. The day ended with a traditional CIEE birthday celebration for the birthday stars of the month. Happy Birthday, again, Grant and Jeanne!! 

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Day3

By Stephonne Chien

     With a short ride, we arrived at a Lalan’s home. Inside the wood built classroom, we learnt more about aboriginals’ way of living and their maternal culture. What most caught my attention was when Lalan, the instructor, told us how match making is established in their society during the Festival of Good Harvest.

     Through his eyes and his tone of speaking, I see the genuine positive attitude he has towards his tribe and his own culture. It is enlightening to see how he takes pride in the distinctiveness in the people of his kind, which completely changed how I used to see the aboriginals. Before the trip to Lalan’s home, I thought that the aboriginal culture is slowly fading away and that they can do nothing about it. However, what I saw there totally proved me wrong. I saw a light cast on the future of the long-baffled aboriginal. Hopefully, by carrying on the way of living their ancestors used to live, they will make it through the economic challenges.

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      The second thing I would never forget would be the muaji DIY experience. With all the ingredients in hand, we were like a bunch of kids in kindergarten, and we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the muaji. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the rice and laughter filled the air. We had great fun shaping the muaji. Even though it didn’t taste as good as it looked, it is still one of the memorable moments of our trip.

     Hualien is a place where I hardly have chances to explore, and somehow CIEE made it possible for me to visit there. There are lots of happy memories left there, and hopefully, we can return to Hualien for some much extreme sports like white water rafting there someday.

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04/08/2014

2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-9

Raycent Tan˙覃樂俊˙Student – CBPE

一開始選擇台灣在於兩個理由: 一是為了環島, 另一個是想在這找回那個最初的自己. 而在來台后的幾天, 就經歷了不少生活上瑣碎的問題. 當然文化上和環境上的的差異也都是顯而易見的. 很多人都會說台灣的物價便宜, 食物更是美味. 但在與台灣本地人的收入水平相比, 倒不全然. 很榮幸的, 在不到一周內就認識了不少政大不同系所的學生, 甚至外面社會上的人士. 在與其交談下發現, 收入與物價不成正比, 居高不下的房價更是讓不少大學生擔憂. 雖說對於大一大二的學生, 在他們長年的高考長跑之后, 得到了一時的解脫, 很多都奔跑於各種社團, 而未來對於他們來說只是那飄渺遙遠的未來. 相反, 大三大四的學生慢慢從繁忙的社團活動里退下來, 有了一定的朋友圈, 也慢慢開始考慮自己以後的職業規劃. 在這不到一周政大生活, 期間我也去了不少學校組織的人才招聘會, 發現大部分“較好”, 或那所謂有點前景, 的職業都要求至少研究生學歷, 加上兵役, 這使得台灣學生進入社會的時間越拉越長. 課堂也基本為論文與教科書為主, 使得知識與實際狀況產生了脫節. 相比之下, 台灣的學生是幸福的, 沒有那“想太多”的煩惱, 但同時未來也變的格外迷茫. 社會里流傳著將要設最低薪為22K的說法, 而學生也開始討論這是否會把整的台灣對剛步入社會的畢業生薪水拉低. “溫水煮青蛙”是一個社會系的研究生對現今台灣的一個自我總結; 他解釋說, 台灣人的溫順使他們往往更容易滿足于現況, 儘管知道領的薪水不夠, 做的也不是當初自己想做的事情, 但他們寧可用酒精與美食在短期內麻醉自己, 也不真的去做什麼實際的改變. 當然這可能只是一方之言, 但在實地考察后發現, 不管是個體的商家還是剛步入社會的大學生, 他們的壓力都是他們之前從未想象的. 從小就有父母的照顧, 並沒有太多金錢觀的他們往往會在最初了那一兩年碰個一臉灰. 有更多在這之後選擇出國打工, 這也讓台灣的人才流失成為一個嚴重的社會議題, 財政部長甚至諷刺性地表示如果與中國大陸的服貿協議簽下來, 台灣的學生就能去大陸工作, 一個月賺50K.貧富的懸殊當然不只是台灣本土的問題, 許多的國家也有, 甚至還越來越嚴重, 但讓人擔憂的是在這樣的大環境下, 對於沒有過多背景的台灣人他們有該如何致富? 對於未來與夢想, 他們又該何去何從? 這是一個作為entrepreneurship major的我來台灣的短期印象.

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2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-8

Amit Mondal˙孟旻泰˙Student – CBPE

Taiwan's left an impression on me before. In fact, it impressed me so much, I decided to come back for another taste of Taiwan's special brand of Chinese culture. Everything about this place seems to be perfect at first, and I feel most travelers experience when they come to Taiwan. They are so shocked by the beauty of Taiwan's people and by their hospitality . What they don't know is that every country has it's flaws and positive points. Economically I've misunderstood Taiwan as a country that was perfect for every man, but it's not the case. It seems that the value of the college degree has decreased (this is the case all over the world, however) but in Taiwan's perspective it seems impossible that education could have diminishing returns. The education system here in Taiwan needs some reform; but the older Taiwanese generations are reluctant to change.

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2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-7

Wing Yan˙甄泳雯˙Student – CBPE

I was always skeptical of studying abroad programs, from the cheesy brochures printed in bold letters about how it is a life changing experience to meeting past- participates and having them grin about what a loving experience it was as they reminisce through their memory palace. It has been a little over a month as my arrival at Taiwan, it’s a little crazy to say how that now I can fully understand where all their words come from, although hard to believe, studying is indeed a life- altering experience, for example I have always thought I was going to be an attorney before I got here, but after my internship I have notice that is not my field~ Be adventurous when you are here and you will gain more than you imagined

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2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-6

Morenikeji Akinade˙丁蕊妮˙Student – CBPE

                                                                Finally Settled Down

It’s been over a month since I’ve been here in Taipei and I can finally say that I have settled in and that I’m enjoying being here. I know some people prefer the more exciting parts of studying abroad: visiting new places, seeing the sights and landmarks etc. but for me the best part thus far has been finally feeling like I live here. I feel like I have shrugged off the aura of a camera wielding, map reading tourist and now I‘m actually living here going about my daily routine like everyone else.  Admittedly, I still look at the train map from time to time but give me one more month and I’ll know Taipei like the back of my hand! Orientation was wonderful and fantastic but it’s the post-orientation period that I’m enjoying the most. Getting to see my fellow CIEE classmates, ambassadors and advisors regularly and building relationships with them has been great. We’ve all gotten so used to hearing and speaking Mandarin that Chinglish has become our default language once we enter the CIEE office. It sounds ridiculous to be like “Did you kan bu kan that??” but just you wait till you study in Taiwan it’ll happen to you too!! Joining school clubs and going to classes have been crucial in helping me get more immersed in not only Mandarin but also in Taiwanese university life.  All in all I’m glad to have settled in and I’m looking forward to how I’ll feel in another month!

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2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-5

Leslie Tseng˙曾淑娟˙Student – CBPE

I was really pessimistic about CIEE. I was in France before coming to Taiwan and hated the program that I was in. I rarely attending their events because I thought most of their events were boring, and I didn’t like the people in the program. So, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy CIEE activities or make any good friends within the program. However, I have really enjoyed meeting all the students in the CIEE program, ambassadors, and staff. Everyone has been really friendly/helpful and the events have been a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to this semester.

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2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-4

Lauren Lalicon˙蘭樂玲˙Student – CBPE

At my home university, I took two years of Chinese, but I was in no way comfortable using the language. Fearful of my accent, I spent most of my time memorizing the characters and pinyin, and since I wasn’t able to speak, I couldn’t practice my listening either because I was incapable of having a conversation. Fueling all my energy into the characters as well as taking a gap year between learning Chinese and my study abroad in Taiwan didn’t help my Chinese skills at all. Even when I arrived in Taiwan, my knowledge was almost useless. Everything I had learned was in simplified Mandarin, so I was basically back where I started.

            I could’ve take the same approach as before—avoid embarrassment and swear off speaking Chinese—and for the first few weeks, I could tell I was doing that. I was reverting back to my old days of avoiding situations where I was forced to speak Chinese, but taking Chinese with my classmates in CIEE, I realized that trying was better than nothing. I wasn’t going to improve by speaking the most minimal Chinese I could in order to get through the day. My friend once told me that she wanted to pass on her language to her children, and even though that’s been a sentiment of mine for a long time, it really hit home as we were walking through NCCU in the middle of the night with pastries in one hand and drinks in another, Mandarin words fluttering in the air from passing conversations. Even though Chinese is not my mother tongue, I want to make it a close second.

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2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-3

Jeanne Andreani˙安瑞鳳˙Student – CBPE

I was very excited to come to Taiwan, but was a bit apprehensive towards meeting people. However, as soon as I got here I was welcomed with kind faces and open arms. It was really great to know that the ambassadors and students were all nice and ready to become friends. The ambassadors truly care about the students and want to become our friends. They are very understanding and encouraging with our Chinese and are enthusiastic to introduce us to Taiwan. I think having ambassadors is a wonderful idea. CIEE program has been amazing so far. Last semester I was with a third-party program and it was not as intimate as this. The trips and events have been a lot of fun and allowed everyone to get to know each other. I look forward to further getting to everyone and to create lasting memories. 1782007_669979286402701_852338364_n

 

2014 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.1-2

Jayna Labrie˙賴潔宜˙Student – CBPE

I really had mixed feelings about coming here. I had quite a few moments of insecurity because of the language, my health, and the courseload. I knew it was going to be an amazing experience that I would regret if I did not take. When I first arrived I was immediately comforted by the welcoming faces that I had met. With all the support I am getting and my ambition to learn, I feel like I am really going to get so much out of this experience. There have been ups and downs. I have had times where I am up all night crying on Skype with friends, and days where I just want to be alone to come back, to recognize who I am and my purpose for coming here. The great times of learning, with friends, great food, and fun experiences have balanced out the struggles here to make an all around positive learning experience. I have always wanted to travel and now this is my chance to learn a lot and make the most of my experience.

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