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5 posts from April 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.




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,



2015 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.5

Winnie Bee 畢文-CBPE Student

It has only been three weeks since I landed in Taiwan and every day has been full of excitement and food. I feel like I have to constantly check my spending (and calories) because food is so inexpensive and readily available here that I just want to buy everything. My guilty pleasures are the little red bean buns and milk tea. Traveling has also been very convenient, so it has been pretty easy for the CIEE students to get out of the NCCU area and explore.

The one thing I wasn’t expecting, or too happy about, was the weather. I did not expect it to rain so much the first couple weeks. I am from California, which is actually in the middle of a drought right now, so I am not used to it raining so much. I would tell my parents and friends from home that I have yet to see the sun since I’ve been here. I have never had on so many layers of clothing and still be so cold. Fortunately for me, it seems that it will start to get warmer. However, I am sure in June, I will complain about the weather yet again.

Despite my body not being meant for cold, the weather didn’t stop me from going out and exploring Taipei with the other CIEE students and ambassadors. I am very fortunate to have another CIEE student, Allison, as my roommate. We were both pretty lost the first couple days, so it helped to know that I wasn’t the only one struggling. If it wasn’t for her, I feel like I will just be a hermit and stay in my room all day. She forced me to endure the cold and go out with the others, which I am grateful for because now I feel really close to many of the exchange students and ambassadors. I am looking forward to the next 3.5 months of adventures with everyone (and Tainan next weekend)!



2015 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.4

Allison Ngo 吳孝儀 - CBPE-Student

Today marks my one month anniversary with Taiwan! It's truly been an amazing journey thus far. Although it's only been a month, I can't help but feel that I've known everyone in my CIEE program for a much much longer time.

In all honesty, I can say that the first few days after arriving at NCCU was probably the hardest time I’ve ever had adjusting to a new environment. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who adapted easily to new situations, since I had no trouble moving from school to school when I was younger, or moving across the country for college. But it was really hard finding myself in a new country with no one familiar who I could depend on. The first night I genuinely regretted making the decision to study abroad and wished that I could just find myself back in my home college playing out the life that I had gotten used to for the past two and half years. But fortunately, with the support of my lovely roommate, Winnie (who could ever ask for better??? <3), and my friends back home, I was able to force myself into a better state of mind and view Taipei and NCCU in a more optimistic light.

Since then, life here has been amazing! I’ve been able to settle down into my classes, become confident in ordering food in Chinese, take time to explore my new surroundings by myself or with the company of others, and make friends whose relationships, I feel ,will last a lifetime. As the days pass by, I find myself getting busier and busier. Each day I’m learning more things and creating memories I hope I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester will bring!



2015 Spring CBPE Student Newsletter vol.3

Jimmy Zhang  張忠旻 CBPE -Student