Written by Melaura Rice (Grand Valley State University), Student Correspondent for CET Taiwan, Fall 2019
There are a million incredible places to travel to in this world, each one with a different promise of adventure. While I was searching for a study abroad program, the location was just as important to me as the program content. I spent weeks and weeks browsing different programs, exploring different cities on Google Earth, and hitting up all the Pinterest travel guides I could get my hands on! Luckily, I had a few criteria that really helped me narrow my search, and really supportive people that helped me find the right fit. So, without further ado, here are the main reasons I chose CET Taiwan!
First for the program specific reasons. Language is a huge part of the reason why I chose to study in Taiwan. I wanted to become more fluent, so choosing a program that allowed me to do that was a huge priority for me. Studying through CET allows you to be enrolled in the International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University, which is one of the premier programs for studying Mandarin. Between speaking in class and in my everyday life (Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in Taiwan), your language skills are guaranteed to improve. CET also helps place you in an internship in your career field, where you can practice your Chinese skills at the office and get real life experience. Choosing CET’s Taiwan program was right for me in the fact that it is helping me meet my professional goals of improving my Mandarin and gaining experience in the field of international relations. I also really liked the fact that CET has office staff in Taiwan to assist you with anything from scheduling doctor appointments to helping you find local events of interest. It gives such peace of mind to know you have support in such a new place! As for cost, it was slightly more expensive than a semester at my home institution, which wasn’t too bad considering what I was getting in return. The program fee covers tuition, books, housing, and excursions.
My personal philosophy is try everything, and when you have, go back and try it again! I’ve never been to Taiwan before, and I was seriously craving a new adventure while looking for a program. The more I learned about Taiwan, the more I knew it was the right choice for me. For example: I am always cold. Seriously, it could be 75 degrees outside and I could swear that I feel a chill in the air! Going somewhere warm was not on my study abroad “must” list, but the fact that Taiwan has a warm, tropical climate is a huge plus. Even better, Taiwan has plenty of national parks featuring waterfalls, hot springs, and winding mountain trails to explore. Worry not about transportation, Taiwan has a high-speed railway system from north to south to help you get where you want to go! The number of outdoor destinations and amazing weather in Taiwan sold me on why it was the best place for me to study abroad.
Since I’ve been studying East Asia, I’ve been interested in learning firsthand about Taiwanese domestic politics and international relations that have been shaped by its long and rich history. Studying there definitely gives me the opportunity to explore this interest! On a lighter note, I am a huge foodie that will try just about anything and I was immediately intrigued by Taiwan’s food culture. The night markets in Taiwan are world renowned for their abundance of snacks. Seriously, if you’re looking for a reason to visit Taiwan, check out the pictures of their street food and the next thing you know you’ll be packing your bags! These are the main reasons that I ultimately decided to study with CET Taiwan, but a lot of other small factors went into the decision. Be sure to think about what really matters to you while choosing a program and what you want to get out of it, and you’ll be sure to find a great fit!