I know I haven’t been on top of my blogging game lately, but this summer I have something really exciting to blog about! I’m studying abroad for eight weeks in Taiwan!
Normally, as a chemistry major, studying abroad for credit is a bit difficult. During the school year, you’re free to go to places like London or South Africa to earn chemistry credit; going to a non-English speaking country requires a little creativity. Thankfully, USC will work with you to make it happen, and after declaring my EALC minor (East Asian Languages and Cultures), I was able to head to Taiwan this summer to study Mandarin!
During this program, we have to attend class, but we also get to talk to current National Taiwan University students (They’re called TAs, but they’re about the same age as we are.) and do activities with them. Of course, we’re free to do as we like with our free time, so today after class, instead of doing homework, I headed out to Taipei 101. You know how I said Taipei was built vertically? Taipei 101 is the quintessential example, a steel behemoth rising 1670 feet above the ground; it’s currently the second tallest building in the world! From the observation deck on the 91st floor, even the other skyscrapers look puny!As a Southern Californian born and raised, you might say that I’m a little spoiled when it comes to weather. Weather in Taiwan is universally hot and humid, made a little more manageable with the ubiquitous air conditioning. Also, whereas Los Angeles is a city that’s really spread out with a lot of cars, Taipei seems to have been built vertically; it’s full of tall buildings and skyscrapers, and walking and public transportation are a lot more common. Food here is really cheap, and as a vegetarian there are a lot more things for me to eat!
I’ve gotten used to the jet lag (and to some extent, the weather), but there are a lot of cultural adjustments I’ve had to make. Even though I’m ethnically Chinese, I haven’t been to Asia in nearly five years now, and I’ve never actually had to live here. I need to get used to transportation etiquette, how to address people, and all those kinds of things. But I think this should be a good experience to get outside my comfort zone!
Don’t worry though, I’ll keep you updated while I’m here. There should be plenty of things for me to talk about.
Until next time! :)