Written by Abigail Ward (United States Naval Academy), Student Correspondent for CET Taiwan, Spring 2023
Hello from Taiwan! So much has happened in the first month! First and foremost, we moved into our apartment, which is about half an hour by bus from 台大 (NTU). A lot of the living spaces look like the picture— with a lot of plants and greenery and tons of scooters parked on the street.
Beginning of the Semester
The weekend of orientation was PACKED! This is a picture from my favorite day of orientation, where we met our language partners and played icebreakers! We met at the school each morning with coffee and cookies most mornings. We would go out for lunch in the area with our housemates, language partners, or friends in CET, and eat at a different place each time to get introduced to the local food.
This is one of my favorite breakfast places that is on our way to school. My favorite thing to order is either Dan Bing 蛋餅, which is like the Taiwanese version of crepes, or a steamed bun with meat inside. The food at small shops like this is much less expensive than in America. I usually eat breakfast for about $1-$3 USD!
One of the weekends, I went to the club fair and got a chance to see all that NTU has to offer! There were lots of the typical clubs you might expect, like sports clubs, music clubs, and gaming clubs, but also some pretty interesting ones like skateboarding club, coffee club, and juggling club.
Traveling around Taiwan
One of my favorite places in Taiwan so far has been Jiufen 九份, famous for looking similar to the tea house from Spirited Away, one of the most famous Studio Ghibli movies. It’s to the north of Taipei, in New Taipei City, and is about 2 hours from the city. It’s situated at the top of the mountain, which gives a gorgeous overview of the water and Taipei. The tea houses and Jiufen old street are lined with these gorgeous red lanterns, which are turned on at night.
Another one of my favorite places we went to was Beitou hot springs, which is a little north of Taipei Station and took us about an hour to get to. These pictures are from the geothermal springs. The wind swirled the steam around that was hovering over the surface of the water, and it looked really cool.
Another one of my favorite discoveries was Songshan Cultural Park, which used to be an old cigarette factory. Now, it is home to a couple of conference centers, small businesses, and local craft vendors! They also have this gorgeous courtyard and an interesting library called “Not Just Library” that we want to check out next time!
Food in Taiwan
One of my new favorite desserts is the shaved ice here! You can get all kinds of toppings, ranging from fresh fruit to brown sugar boba pearls to taro balls and fruit jelly. The shaved ice is really fine and has the consistency of snow! The favorite one I’ve had so far was fresh mango and condensed milk.
I’ve also been trying to be adventurous while eating out. This week we ate out and had some curry and this fresh fish. I ate the eyeball! It was pretty chewy and tougher than I expected. But I’m glad I can try new things while I’m here!
Living with a Local Roommate
I’m most thankful for all the friends I’ve made this past month! Here’s a picture of one of my Taiwanese housemates, Leda! We met up and had lunch after class one day and talked about lots of things, including photography and the different movies we like. Because I have the morning class, I get out around 11 am. So, I have the rest of the day to meet up with people, explore the city, and immerse myself in Taiwan.