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!
“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!”
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.”
“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!”
“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! :)”
“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.”