Hayden Hulihan

Taiwan

Hometown: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
School: Ponte Vedra High
Sponsor District: 6970
Sponsor Club: Ponte Vedra Beach
Host District: 3480
Host Club: New Taibay

 

My Bio


Nín hǎo! My name is Hayden Hulihan and I will be going to Taiwan as a Rotary Exchange Student in 2016-2017. I am fifteen years old and was born in Jacksonville and have lived herethere all my life. Growing up I went to a catholic grade school and am currently attending Ponte Vedra High as a freshman. At school I like to help create sets for drama productions our school holds every year. At home I also enjoy to sketch, paint, and about everything else that is artistic. Books are one of my favorite pastimes. They help me relax and are always fun to read. I also enjoy doing special effects makeup on myself. It is when I create some gash or wound or even a different face structure on top of my own face to create monsters and creatures. My parents are divorced, at my dad's I have four siblings two brothers and two sisters and at my moms I have two siblings one brother and one sister. My dad remarried about two years ago. It is fun always having company at my dad's with all my family but, it is nice to get alone time at my mom's. I wanted to become an exchange student because other cultures and the lifestyles of other people have always been interesting and exciting to me. Rotaty has given me the opportunity to experience it all first hand. I am so lucky that I have the privilege to go to Taiwan as a Foreign Rotaty Exchange Student!


Traditional Buddhist Temple

Traditional Buddhist Temple

Grandmother goddess of Matsu

Grandmother goddess of Matsu

Journals: Hayden – Taiwan 2016-17

  • Hayden, outbound to Taiwan

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    have now been in Taiwan for more than half a year and in retrospect a half of a year is only a small fraction of my life but I am certain that this year has been one if not the most influential few months of my whole life and life to come. Now that I have been here so long nothing is exotic anymore. I live my every day life normally, but just because nothing is exotic that does not mean my love for it has been lost or I am tired of being here. Some days I do take for granted, but every night that I lay down in my bed I remember that I will not be here forever and that I need to cherish every moment I have here. My time in Taiwan is dwindling with every day that goes by and I know that I will have to return to Florida and fall back into my daily life as I have here. However, while I am in Taiwan I will make sure that I live every day to its fullest and will leave an impression in Taiwan and I hope I will leave with the people I love sending me off, just as my family in Florida sent me off to Taiwan. 

    March was a somewhat uneventful month except for the few Rotary meetings and activities, but everyone both in Rotary and in my school, ZhongHe Senior High school, are preparing for our two biggest trips. My Rotary district will take us on a trip to a small island off the coast of Taiwan. My class in ZhongHe will take a bus to an amusement park on the other end of the country and we will also visit one of the most famous beaches. I have to say truthfully I am more excited for my class trip. This is because with the other exchange students I did not have to work hard to befriend them because we all spoke English and connected over being in a foreign country, but with my Taiwanese friends I had to work much harder to befriend them so because of that we have a closer and stronger bond.

  • Hayden, outbound to Taiwan

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    Hi, This month of February was probably the most exciting month of my exchange. For the first time I celebrated the Chinese New Year. Imagine our normal New Year but with more colour, excitement, and tradition. My family and I went to a traditional New Year Market. They will sell traditional Taiwanese medicine and red envelopes. Red envelopes or Hong Bao in Chinese are traditionally given out on the Chinese New Year to family members and friends. They are a small red envelope that is filled with money. Red is the colour or good luck and fortune so by giving a red envelope you are also giving them good luck and fortune for the whole year. The week after friends will go out shopping together with all their new spending money.

    We also had our Chinese class midterm this month. The test was to gauge how well our Chinese has improved over the course of a few months. Many of us improved greatly either in writing the characters or in the spoken language. This is because some will find it easier to learn the Characters because they look similar to pictures. While others learn the spoken language faster because they think the characters are too complicated or there are too many to learn easily. Writing Chinese characters can also be an art form. In Taiwanese culture as well as most Eastern Asian culture literature is an art form worthy of a spot in a museum. I have been learning calligraphy for a few months now and I am proud to say that I have improved greatly. Calligraphy takes patience and immense amount of practice.

    School here has only gotten better and better because my Chinese skills have gotten increasingly better. In school I am not expected to participate in general classes but I help in English class very often. My friendships here are amazing and I will keep them even when I am in the U.S. All in all my exchange has only gotten better.

  • Hayden, outbound to Taiwan

    Read more about Hayden and all his blogs

    I am now halfway into my first two months in Taiwan and I want to tell everyone about every feeling, every breath, and everything I have seen but if I did I could go on for weeks. Since I have been here I have been incredibly busy all the time, even now I am sitting in a 7/11 eating my lunch as I wait for the bus. Rotary tells us to say yes to everything and you might think that would become troublesome and annoying after a while but it has been the complete oppsite for me. I have said yes to every opportunity that I can, last week I even agreeded to dance in a school compentiton even though I have never danced for more than a minuet in my life. Another time when I said yes that suprised my family in Floroda was when I got my haircut. I have always liked longer hair and would hate to get it cut and my family definitely did not like it but the first week I was in Taiwan I cut off almost 3 inches. There is one thing that I have noticed to hold true for most Asian countries is that the food is extremely different than Western food. There are many things here that Westerners would think is appaling or just odd like; chicken's feet or head, dried squid tentacles, or stinky tofu to name a few. I have also noticed that my host family will not tell me what something is before I try it because they know it will affect how much I like it. One of my current favorite foods is black tofu but it is actually cubes of spicy duck blood. I know that if my host family had told me what it was before I had it I would not have liked it.

    Many people in Florida told me that many people in Taiwan are more quiet and reserved especially around foreigners but since I have been here everyone is always welcoming, happy, and energetic. My classmates the first day had not expected me to know any Chinese so when I would say something they would get very excited and have me repeat it for their friends and the teachers. In my class we have a system where if I don't know something in chinese they will tell me and I will help explain harder words and help them pronounce the words. This month, October, has been the busiest month so far because I am preparing games and activities for Halloween. Everyone here knows of Halloween but it is a very minor holiday but they know that it is very big in America. They wanted me to show them what a typical Halloween would be like for me in America. It has been extremely hard trying to find decorations, candy, and costumes here because as I said it is a small holiday. All in all I am extremely excited for what the rest of this month and the rest of my exchange will have in store for me. I can see my bus now so I need to end my journal here.

  • Hayden, outbound to Taiwan

    Read more about Hayden and all his blogs

    My first month in Taiwan has been without a doubt the best, busiest, most awe-inspiring month of my life. As soon as I stepped off the plane and into the place that I would soon call home I was met with love and hospitality. Taiwanese people pride themselves as being one of the most hospitable countries in the world. I was the last student from my club ti arrive in Taiwan but that was no problem. It also meant that I had three days until my first day of school. The first three days flew by so quickly, everyday I would wake up early and go out with my sister and brother. As I went to bed before the first day of school I remember being terrified. I was so afarid that no one would talk to me and I would be outcasted. The day of course went much different. I first arrived at my class and our English teacher said a few words to me then asked of I would introduce myself, so I said the introduction that I had memorized in Chinese and everyone in the class br oke out in to cheers and applause. The English teacher later told me that they didn't expect me to speak any Chinese. After that day everything was very smooth. I started to develop a somewhat normal routine: leaving for school at 7:00 and getting home at around 6:30-7:00 depending on the day. I have done more in Taiwan in a month than I have in three months in America. Since I have been here I have only woken up past 7:30 on two occasiaons. Every day other than that I am always doing someting with either my family, my host club, or studying. Thinking about what I was going to do in Taiwan I would have never guessed what my life is like now. My school is from 7:30-5:00 but most days I will stay after school and learn dances from my classmates. We will be presenting these dances to the rest of our grade in a couple weeks! Taiwan so far has been an amazing and eye opening experience that I wish I could share with everyone. One day I hope that RYE can provide the same amazing oppo rtunity to another student like me

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