Before coming to Taipei, I was met with great anticipation of making this experience the most opportune that it can be. Along with studying abroad, there was a great assumption of my time being focused in daily lectures, classes, and events organized by National Taiwan University. But what I have learned about studying abroad, is that one’s focus should not be in just the university but also in the communities and people outside the university. A truer immersion.
Studying in Taipei allowed me to immerse myself with many locals and actually practice my Chinese speaking skills in many scenarios. From ordering food, asking for directions, and having coffee with locals while getting to know each other. The skills in my communication greatly increased and allowed me to have greater fluency in the language and a better understanding of the local culture. This was greatly due to meeting locals outside of the university.
During my time in Taipei, I made it of great importance to meet with locals that shared in the same interests that I do. And these locals that I have met with, I can proudly call them friends. Sharing similar interests, goals, working in similar industries, and having our own creative outlets, truly allowed for this to be a greater experience that I could have imagined. A greater immersion. My study abroad experience has contributed to my personal development, taught me current issues affecting Taiwanese’s communities, immersed me in Taiwanese Culture, and exposed me to academic and career opportunities in Taipei.
I can say now that I am a greater person after living in Taipei during my program. I have a new perspective of life and the people around the world. I also can say that I have a greater appreciation for Asian culture and people. Seeing and being part of their daily lives has really opened my eyes to new world.
After this experience, I plan to continue my academic plan in mastering the Chinese language. I have learned about other programs that are offered by NTU that I can enroll in after graduation. Also, this could allow me to rekindle the friendships that I have made in Taipei. I look forward to my last two weeks here in Taipei as I finish up my program, reconnect with local friends, and continue to make the most of this immersion. As I prepare for my return to the U.S., I cannot help to wonder how much different home may feel after Taipei feeling just like home.