What can come to life in 10 days

Written by Jessica Chen, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) Student Correspondent CET Taiwan, Summer 2017

Presidential Office Building in Taipei, Taiwan

Looking back on the first official week of my program and all the people I’ve met and new experiences I’ve had, it’s hard to believe that I’ve only been in Taiwan for 10 days. For one, considering how comfortable and familiar I feel around my fellow CET students and newfound friends, I find it absolutely mindboggling that 10 days ago, I had never even met them before. Facing common challenges—such as the enigma that is Taiwanese weather in June or ordering food from a Chinese-only menu without pictures—has definitely brought us together in a way that would never have happened back home in the U.S. From facing the unavoidable struggles of life abroad—especially the language barrier—it’s also been great to experience the new-ness and unfamiliarity of Taiwan together.

Unfinished ceramic bowl

Every day here is filled with a wealth of new experiences. I’ve visited the Presidential Office Building, created paper with my own hands at the Suho Memorial Paper Museum, and created a ceramic bowl at Yingge. Aside from these ICLP-sponsored field trips, I’ve also seen the new Wonder Woman movie with Chinese subtitles in IMAX, visited Taipei 101, and gone shopping at department stores with friends. From these memorable trips to the more mundane activities—like buying pudding at 7-Eleven—all of these experiences have made my first 10 days in Taiwan unforgettable.

To say the least, the past 10 days have been absolutely breathtaking, and I’m excited to see what the next 8 weeks hold, especially considering I begin my internship at the Democratic Progressive Party—Taiwan’s governing political party—tomorrow. Wish me luck!