Written by Abigail Ward (United States Naval Academy), Student Correspondent for CET Taiwan, Spring 2023
I am lucky enough to live really close to Taipei 101, one of the most iconic sights of Taipei! It used to be the tallest building in the world, standing at 508 meters tall. It also incorporates traditional Chinese culture, being divided into 8 main sections made of 8 floors each, with 8 being a lucky number. There’s also no 44th floor! Just 42, 42A, 43, and 45!
National Taiwan University (NTU)
Before class every morning, my friends and I get off the bus and go to breakfast at the local dan bing (蛋餅) shop or the local sandwich shop. Afterward, we’ll head over to CET and eat breakfast right in front of the CLD building, catching up on what we did the night before or making plans for the weekend.
One thing I really love about going to NTU is how beautiful the campus is. In addition to a cute pond, Drunken Moon Lake, there’s so much beautiful greenery and flowers around campus! Here are two of my favorite spots, a cute little tea shop and a cute mini botanical garden right near each other!
Another great thing about the NTU campus is that the surrounding area has so many shops and restaurants to explore! My friends and I will often bike across campus after getting out of CLD language classes to Gongguan, a nearby neighborhood with an impressive diversity of food and shops!
Recently, I’ve discovered a love for biking around the city. On my way back from school, I found this great little street bustling with different food vendors! On the left, you can get these fried pork buns for only NTD$17 or a little over USD$0.50 each!
My Roommate and Language Partner
This week I got dinner with my roommate, Izzie! We went to the Chun Sui Tang Far Eastern Xinyi A13 branch, in this super cute department store decorated with lanterns and traditional-looking tea shops! Chun Sui Tang is one of the many places that claim to be the “inventors” of bubble tea. It was delicious!
Every week, I get to hang out with my language partner, Penny, and we’ll just have some time to chat! This time, we went to a Japanese curry restaurant that was really good, and I brought along my friend Evelyn, who is one of the Taiwanese roommates in the CET program! We had a great time at lunch, and these little casual interactions are also a great way to improve your Chinese and practice outside the classroom!
This month, CET partnered with the Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) to give us a presentation and tour of the site. As a computer science major, it was super interesting to learn about the startup culture in Taiwan and how TTA works with international partners to develop innovation in Taiwan and bring Taiwanese technological solutions to many countries worldwide!
CET also hosted a talk by Brian Hioe, one of the founders of New Bloom. This small, independent, activist-minded media outlet focuses on English-language news from a Taiwanese perspective! It was a very engaging talk, and one of the big takeaways was that most English news about Taiwan is only in the context of China, or cross-strait relations, never just about Taiwan. New Bloom seeks to fill this need by producing in-depth, contextualized articles for English speakers to understand the Taiwanese perspective. One of the coolest talks I’ve been to!
Two interesting differences between Taiwan and the US are that here in Taiwan, there are lottery marts and claw machines places everywhere! Playing the lottery is very popular here, and you can often find people just hanging out outside centrally located stores and enjoying each other’s company and hoping to win something. The other is claw machine places, which are unstaffed, and you pay about NTD$10 for each round. They’re filled with cute stuffed animals, small prizes, and occasional household goods (I once saw body wash bottles in a machine). Super interesting!