I spent a semester abroad in Taiwan during my IBA Bachelor’s. I should admit that Taiwan was not my first choice, but Australia. Looking back, I am more than happy that I ended up on this beautiful island it was a great experience to live in a completely different culture where only a few people speak and understand English, and where the mentality is so very different.
“Sleeping in the library?”
While choosing my courses at the local university, I had some difficulty finding courses taught in English. One professor even resisted teaching in English, although this was the officially stated language of instruction. I always wanted to learn Chinese so I signed up for three Mandarin courses. It is a very hard language to learn, but it is so much fun if you have the opportunity to try out what you’ve just learned in class when ordering your meal in the dining hall, for example with “Wǒ xiǎng chī yīgè sānmíngzhì”.
As far as campuses go, it can’t get better than Taiwan, with palm trees everywhere and warm and sunny weather in December. When I first went to the library to study I was a bit surprised to see people sleeping, but this is totally normal here and I have to say it is a very good way of using your study breaks.
Feeling safe around friendly people
One of the things that I will always remember after leaving Taiwan are the extremely friendly people. Even though it was often very hard to communicate due to the language barrier, people were always eager to help me. Three friends and I took a 180 km bike trip on the east coast of Taiwan. It was extremely beautiful and one of the most amazing things I have done in my life.
Finally, I can only say that my time in Taiwan was an amazing experience and I would go back in a heartbeat. I made awesome friends and met very interesting people. Although I am now back in the Netherlands, Taiwan and everything I experienced will always be a part of me.
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