Click the link below to see the photos from Deguang High School and Tainan. (Link does not work in Chrome, try Internet Explorer)
We visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago on January 9th, 2013 to share the experiences of our exchange visit to Taiwan’s Deguang Catholic High School in Tainan. Click on the image to see the full story.
Well, the first day in Taiwan was really something. I was tired and felt just ew from the plane. I was happy I was not the last one to go home. As soon as we arrived home i took a shower and then went to take a nap. When I awoke the family had just about every minute of my life planned out which was awesome but I was exhausted. I had a drink somewhere...I think eggs were in it but i am not sure. It gave me a stomach ache. Since then I was very nervous to try anything else. The next day we went to a place called an ping. It was very hot, basically summer for us. I was wearing pants so it was a little overwelhming because there were so many people. Just in the first two days i was able to realize that Taiwan is very very very different from America. First of all, there are almost no toilets. There is no toliet paper or tissue in the bathrooms and apparently everyone takes their garbage home with them. Everyone has the same brown curly little puddle. Jamily said a lot of people don't want to have kids anymore so they get a dog and spoil it. I laughed so hard when I saw a man that had a baby sling on except there was no baby in this sling. There was a dog. Taiwan is pretty interesting.
I can't believe I am saying this but the thought of actually living here one day has actually crossed my mind. I dont think it would ever happen though because I really love chicago but that just means I like Taiwan. I like that everything is very simple here except at the same time it's not. I don't really know how to explain it. Well, school here is a little too intense for me. It makes me appreciate the American school system. I appreciate the little things...like toilet paper alot more now. Jamily always tells me she is jealous of the freedom American teenagers have. Apparently here there is no such thing as boyfriend and girlfriend in highschool. They have to wait till college. I have also noticed that couples are not as public with their affection here. I appreciate no face eating in public. PDA is annoying. Today is our last day and I am afraid that a tear or two might just escape my eyes. I hate crying it's annoying. I really like Jamily and her family they have treated me very well. Jamily said she will visit me in Chicago next summer lol i dont know if it will ever happen but its nice to know that i have a friend on the other side of the world. I have to admit I really did not want to come at first but I am glad I did.
Blog Post 1: The Weekend
Arriving in Tainan in the early morning on Saturday was truly a great feat, seeing as we spent more than twenty four hours traveling. The time during the weekend felt like it went by extremely quickly, because of the fun I had visiting multiple places around Tainan. I was able to see three areas: Anping, Kaohsiung, and Gangshan. Each was unique in its own: Anping had an extensive history, Kaohsiung was a fusion of modern Western and Eastern culture, and Gangshan was a thriving suburb of Tainan. My first weekend in Tainan optimized my anticipation for the rest of the trip.
Blog Post 2: The Week
Drawing the differences between the school life in Deguang and Payton brought me to a culture shock. Not only was the environment of Deguang culturally disparate from that of Payton, it was socially different. That the students spend so much of their young lives in an academic institution is concerning when much of their maturity and sanity is hindered because of this jarring environment.
Blog Post 3: A Learning Experience
Calling this foreign exchange a learning experience is obviously a cliche, but nonetheless, the statement is true. Realizing that this place on the other side of the world is actually another world in itself. Taiwan's geographic isolation has allowed it to optimize external influences to develop an individual culture. I enjoyed the cultural distinction between the United States and Taiwan as a means by which the two nations can desire to understand each other and reinforce a diplomatic relationship.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD MAN I CANT BELIEVE THIS OH MY GOD… IM IN TAIWAN!!!!
Yeah that how I've been pretty much these past couple days… I freaked out so hard and am super excited that I'm ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. I still cant believe I'm here though… I woke up this morning and looked out the window… and couldn’t believe I was still here, in a country (yes I call it a country, and so does everyone else here) that I had never even dreamed about coming too before I entered high school.
I was already excited out of my mind when we were arriving at Hong Kong-- I never thought I would go to Hong Kong either. But although I didn't really see much there, I was still so happy when I saw some of the city through the airplane window. And then when we got off the plane to transfer to the other one taking us to Taipei, I inhaled that Chinese scent, which wasn't so bad. But when we got to Taipei, man, was it serious. I couldn’t hold my excitement anymore. I was pulsing with happiness and excitement. I kept quivering with delight, to think that I was in Taipei, in a totally different environment...
And the weather when we got out of the airport to board the bus taking us to Tainan, man was it awesome. It was the most perfect weather, like in the low 70s… well maybe a little humid, but I loved it. We got to Taipei at around 12 at night, so everything seemed so quiet and peaceful. I got so happy when we got outside.
Once we were on the bus, I was thrilled to see everything on the ride. But, since I barely slept on the plane, I kind of dozed off on the bus. It was nighttime so there wasn't much too see, yet I was still eager to see anything. Then when we got to the rest stop (a weird restroom and a 7-ELEVEN) it was interesting how there were barely any full toilets - most of the stalls were squat toilets. They're basically just an oval-ish hole in the ground (ceramic inlaid) with a pull-string hanging from the top to flush it. I used the only actual sit-on toilet though, I wasn't ready for that.
So when we got to Tainan, I was so thrilled when I got off the bus. The ambient was so beautiful… there were zero people out, and it was totally silent except for birds chirping and the sound of the wind. It was so beautiful. We walked to the school, which was really dark inside, but had a lot of motion-activated lights, which was pretty cool. We got to the school at around 3 in the morning, so we waited for our students for about 3 hours to pick us up. The school is very nice… very open. Rosary's (庞艾昕) apartment is really nice too - it's really big, on the tenth floor, and has a nice view. My window faces a small street down below and a pleasant view of part of the city.
So when I got home, I settled my self, gave the Chicago souvenirs to my host family, and took a shower that I so desperately needed. They took me out to have some traditional Taiwanese breakfast - I had 水饺, 油条 wrapped in an omelet, a noodle/vegetable/tofu empanada thing, and some milk tea （奶茶）. Everything was delicious P: . Then I went with Rosary to her Japanese class, ate lunch at this rice patty-burger place (called “Mos Burger"), and went back for her English class. Then we went to a coffin-burger（棺材板）place for dinner. It was pretty shabby, in a tiny alley-like street, but the food was pretty good. We had some seafood dishes before we had the coffin burgers. The night life was really prominent. We went to go get some drinks - winter melon tea (冬瓜茶）- after we ate… it tasted like something I tasted before. Then Rosary's parents dropped us off at the biggest night market in Tainan, and it sure was big, and super crowded. We were all jammed in the market, I had to hold on to Rosary or her to me so that we wouldn't lose each other. Then we found Becca and Linda. Most of the night market sells food/snacks, but we were full, so sadly we didn’t try anything. Then we came across Mr. Wu and Ms. Wu (his host), and a friend or relative of hers, I don’t know. I'm surprised I saw him there though, because he had told us not to go to the night market because it wasn’t safe to eat the food there. He didn’t say anything about that though. When we got home, I was so tired that when I laid on the bed with the laptop to skype my dad, I fell dead asleep. But what was really strange was that I woke up really early compared to when I usually wake up, around 7:30am. But I felt fresh as a watermelon.