Paula Basantes

 Taiwan

Hometown: Weston, Florida
School: Cypress Bay
Sponsor District : District 6990
Sponsor Club: , Florida
Host District: 3481
Host Club: The Rotary Club of East Asia


My Bio


Nǐ hǎo! My name is Paula Basantes. I was born in Ecuador (Quito) but I moved to the United States almost three years ago. Now I am living in Florida and it is very hot! I like to spend my free time by playing the guitar, playing video games or drawing. These activities help me relax and forget about the bad stuff in life. I will become an exchange student through the Rotary Younth Exchange Program traveling to Taiwan. I was a little surprised by the place at first but I have become to feel more anxious about it. The language might be one of the biggest changes I will have to accomplish because Spanish and English are totally not very similar to Mandarín and the words pronunciation are very important be understandable. I learned that "Wô" is "I" and that "Wō" is nest, so I'm looking forward to saying nest many times. The thing that I want to learn in this process is to become more social with other people that I don't know and to learn a new language. This will be one of the most interesting adventures of my life and I will enjoy it to the fullest and work hard on it too so it doesn't become a scary situation for me.

Makokong Gondola 2

Makokong Gondola 2

typical view

typical view

Sun and Moon Lake

Sun and Moon Lake

Taipei 101

Taipei 101

chicken year

chicken year

floating lanterns

floating lanterns

Maokong Gondola

Maokong Gondola

Taipei ( taking risks :0 )

Taipei ( taking risks :0 )

new year

new year

practicing for the school show

practicing for the school show

school show

school show

Taipei 101

Taipei 101

new family

new family

the President's house

the President's house

MEAT!!!

MEAT!!!

Journals: Paula-Taiwan Blog 2017-18

  • Paula, Outbound to Taiwan

    Hello, these 2 months have been very wild. When I came to Taiwan I wanted my exchange to be upwards and never downwards but just when I thought I had become stable in Taiwan my backpack got stolen. To me it was like someone just took my soul because that backpack had my two phones, my credit card, my resident card, my student card ,my easy card (that is used for the MRT) my keys and some of my Rotary money. I was kind of sad because now I have to re-make all this paperwork to get new cards, need to buy a new phone and kind of build a new foundation over the destroyed one that was pretty much shattered.

    The months have also been very busy. Rotary pretty much takes all my energy out of me. There are endless events, places to be, people to meet and volunteering to do. Literally Taiwan has been the first place where I needed a calendar. When there is a new event I always remember how in Florida the Rotarians told me to never say no to any event, and I never say no unless I have school or if I am sick (which I have been 3 times sick and it sucks). That tip has literally made me so much more outgoing and made me experience things that I would have never said yes to in America just because I was lazy or because there was a new video game I wanted to finish.

    In December there was a talent show that had to include something in Chinese. I made a song. Obviously I can't sing but I don't have any talent so...yeah. It went well, didn't win but I became more brave so that for me counts as a win. There was also another talent show but this time in my school. The other exchange students in the school and I decided to sing and dance Chinese Christmas songs. We made a nice choreography and on the day that we had to do the show one of the exchange students was unable to come. It was very suspicious because the reason that he gave was not believable. I totally knew that he wouldn't come because he did not practice at all and did not know the songs. So I started to make the arrangements to make the dance and the songs without his presence work with the students that where there just before the show. Somehow it worked and we did an awesome job without him. The teacher was kind of impressed because instead of giving up and not going we managed to use quick thinking and work with the problems.

    Christmas was weird. Here people don't celebrate it. The shops have Christmas gifts and decorations but only the young give presents to other people. Most of the older people don't bother. I totally did not mind not having Christmas but the other exchange students were frustrated because the wanted a free day on Christmas and to not go to school. My perspective over all of this was that this is a different culture and we have to adapt to it instead of change it into ours. Our goal as exchange students is to blend and become like the Taiwanese people and not to expect special treatment because we are not from here. The exchange students pressured so much the Rotarians that they made a little party for us. At the party the exchange students weren't happy because they said it was not a party kept complaining. I saw that there was free food so I was happy. The Rotarians made us sing a song and after that everyone left.

    I changed to my second house recently and I am enjoying it. They are nice and they help me with my Chinese so far. They play video games with me and they have taken me to eat outside very good meat and I love meat. I hope we get along well. They have a cat named Hanbao (hamburger) he is pretty cute but badly behaved.

    The Chinese new year was very fun and interesting. I saw how the Taipei 101 threw a bunch of fireworks and had a countdown of the time. I was with my new family, some exchange students and some family friends on my new house enjoying the fireworks on the roof and eating hotpot. 2018 has started and I will try to make the best of it.

    Click HERE to read more about Paula and all her blogs

  • Paula, Outbound to Taiwan

    Hello, this is my first journal and I have experienced more things than what I have experienced all my life in these 2 months. First of all I will talk about my first host family. This family is made up by 4 members. Laura Mom, Baba Rei, older brother Henry and a sister called Maggie that is on exchange in New York. Most of the time I am busy or they are busy so we haven't have time to know each other really well. The house where I am living right now is a small and comfy apartment. My school is called Nang Gang vocational high school. I am taking Math, English, Chemistry, PE, Art, Music and Domestic Economy. I am also doing service hours in a kindergarten that is on the school by teaching the kids English. Most of the kids are very young and because of that my exchange student friends and I are called Mata (Margarita), Nana( Katharina), Gaby (Gabriel) and Pola (Paula) by the kids. I took a very hard task and decided to join the swimming team even though I can barely swim. It was a way to fill my time after school, do some exercise and to learn something that I can take home. At the beginning I felt intimidated because I am in a field where the only thing that matters is how fast you can swim and it didn't matter how good I was in English because I was trash at swimming. But then I made friends with some girls and boys from the swimming team. Every time that I swim there is this middle school boy that always tells me " courage" and that motivates me to keep going but sometimes I feel like I made a mistake because some exchange students want to hangout but I don't have time because of swimming. Others times I see how my body is looking better and how I can freely eat whatever I want without having to buy new pants like some of my friends. While being here I have realized that I suck at finding locations, most of the time I get close but not to the exact point of meeting. There are always new events, festivals, celebrations, Chinese classes and other stuff that requires me to use a calendar. To be honest I have never needed to use a calendar because I have never been busy like this before. Taiwan is one of the most cheapest places to be living in but this first two months we expensive as hell. I needed to do the resident certificate, create an student easy card, buying school materials and swimming material, paying the emergency found, and some other stuff. Rotary here gives me 130 dollars to use and that is teaching me how important is money management and that not everything that I want to have I should have. It has really made it a struggle to me to get what I want but easy to get what I need. It has set my priorities straight and made me somewhat a more mature person. This student exchange is no joke and I have seen people leave because the can not take the difficulty of not having their way all the time. In my opinion I have never been more happy and tired in my life. And I am not gonna give up. Lets go 2 months done and more to go!!!!

    Click HERE to read more about Paula and all her blogs

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