Destiny, outbound to Taiwan
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Hey everyone! I have reached my three month mark of my exchange and I don’t believe it, it feels like I have only been here a week but yet my whole life too! I have made so many lifelong friendships in such a short period of time. Each day is filled with ups and downs but that what makes being an exchange student so rewarding.
I have really settled into a normal everyday routine, Monday through Friday I attend school, and weekends I spend having adventures with my friends. School is really fun for me, it is so different from the United States. My classes consist of cooking, baking, and beverage classes, my cooking skills have improved quite a bit. Being in cooking classes is really perfect because we are learning how to make traditional Taiwanese dishes, such as moon cake. Moon cake is absolutely delicious! We learned how to make this yummy cake for Mid-Autumn Festival, which was a blast! Basically during the festival you eat moon cake and have a huge BBQ with family and friends! Tuesdays and Thursdays are some of my favorite days of the week, because all exchange students from my district leave school early and head to a university for Chinese lessons. It is one of my favorite days because I get to see everyone from my district but also because I enjoy learning Chinese. For all future exchange students coming to Taiwan, Chinese is difficult but not impossible. I have had an extremely hard time with the language myself but continue to improve every day, understanding more and more. I love my Taiwanese classmates and I have made some very good friends at school.
One of the benefits from bonding with my classmates is, that my class invited me to go on the graduation class trip with them. It was such an honor and blast, it was three full days of traveling around Taiwan with them. I am not even sure of all the places we went, but I can list a few. We went to Raohe which is one of the oldest night markets in Taiwan. We also went to two different amusement parks, one being Janfusan Fancy world, as well as Rosehill, an architecture research center. I will always be thankful and grateful for getting to spend this special time with my classmates.
My host district provides extra classes, events and trips, and are just so sweet and kind. Our classes that they pay for us to have include my extra Chinese lessons but also taekwondo on Saturdays. Taekwondo is a really neat sport and I am excited to perform at the coming of age ceremony soon! My host district goes way beyond what is expected of them by providing so many extras to make sure our time on exchange is perfect. One of our trips they provided was to Pinxi for the lantern festival. It was so much fun, and I truly cannot explain the beauty. We began by hiking up a mountain to look at a waterfall, it was breath-taking. Then we headed to an old street to shop and eat, the old streets and night markets are cool because the culture is so rich there. Then we finished by learning to make lanterns and sending them off. As tradition goes, you write wishes on the side of the lanterns then send them floating off into the sky. All of us got to make two, then when it was dark, our dis trict told us we would be sending up 112 lanterns all at once! It was so amazing and then they shot off fireworks. It was just perfect, and on top of that, they gave all of us a gift! A miniature lantern with our individual names sewn into them! This really must be one of best host districts in the world, and I am so blessed to be a part of it!
I cannot thank RYE 6970 enough for this opportunity and everyone that made my exchange possible! I love you all and thanks again!
Posted on Tue, December 6, 2016
by Terri Wescott