Written by Sarah Phipps, (UNC Chapel Hill) Student Correspondent CET Taiwan, Fall 2018
A typical day in my life as a CET Taiwan student looks very different than a day in my life as a U.S. college student, and it’s not just the city I am in. My main responsibilities here in Taiwan are my three classes at the International Chinese Language Program (ICLP), my internship at Geber Consulting, and my internship course.
My Weekly Schedule
(M-F I wake up at 7 AM.)
Monday: 9am-2pm, class at ICLP, then usually explore with a friend and have dinner at a new place. I try to use Mondays to get ahead on my homework for the week, but since we learn two new lessons per week, this is not always easy, nor realistic.
Tuesday: 9am-2pm, class at ICLP, 2-3:30pm, internship class, homework.
Wednesday-Friday: 9am-2pm, class at ICLP, 2:30-6:30pm, internship at Geber Consulting, homework
*On Thursday evenings, I have dinner after work with my language exchange partner.
Saturday: I try to sleep in, do laundry, and go to the gym. From 3pm-5pm I go to Kundalini Yoga (a club here on NTU’s campus that I highly recommend), and then I try to do something with a friend. If I can, I try to get 2 hours of homework completed.
Sunday: Sleep in, might go to the nail salon with a friend, go to the gym, and do at least two hours of homework.
In the U.S., I often do not have a “typical day” because there are ebbs and flows to my schedule. One week I may have a quiz and a test, another week maybe I have two tests, and so on. At ICLP, you have daily homework and since you move through chapters so quickly, you have at least three graded assignments per week. For example, this week I’ve had: two chapters of homework due (each took about 3 hours), one test, and one speech. In addition, I’ve had to learn a new chapter of our textbook (1 essay, 1 dialogue, 45 vocabulary words, and 5 grammars), and complete four listening assignments each evening. Each night, I need to do about 3-5 hours of homework; but the suggested amount is 6 hours (2 hours per class). As my schedule reveals, six hours is not attainable each night of the week. I balance this by keeping a consistent 3-5 hours each night, and I’m not too hard on myself if I forget a vocabulary word in class.
Since CET Taiwan offers off-campus housing for students, there is often a stealthy commute. I am 30 minutes away from NTU, so my commute alone is about 1.5 hours per day: apartment to school (30 minutes), school to internship (30 minutes), internship home (30 minutes). Within this 1.5 hours of commute is about 1 hour of walking, so I feel okay about not making it to the gym since I am walking so much! This is much different what I am used to in the U.S. at college – I’ve always lived on or near campus, making it much easier to walk to class and study with friends afterwards.
If you decide to participate in CET Taiwan, you’ll want to adequately prepare yourself for the stress and demands that will be placed on you once the semester begins. If you read my last blog post, you’ll notice my first two weeks had a lot of down time. However, since the first day of classes I have not looked back, now I am hunting for free time wherever I can find it!
One thing I’ve already learned is, no matter what, remember you and your needs always come first. A few weeks ago, the week got way too overwhelming for me, I had a lot of tooth pain, and I needed a day of recovery – I took the day off from classes, and it was perfectly fine. Healthy eating, sleeping, and mental thinking are all vitally important to your Chinese language journey. I particularly enjoy going for walks in the local park around dusk to get fresh air and reflect on the day. Never sacrifice your own needs!