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.