Tina, Outbound to Taiwan

大家好! Time really flies while on exchange! Suddenly I'm already approaching my fifth month in Taiwan and I've loved every moment thus far. My exchange likely differs from most of the other exchange students in Taiwan since I’m Asian-American. I'm able to easily blend in and I commonly get mistaken as Taiwanese. Unlike the other exchange students, I don't get stared at or stand out, although it's usually shocking to others when they find out that I am American and speak English. Although my exchange is different from the other exchange students, it isn't any less enjoyable. The scenery in Taiwan is absolutely beautiful. I am still not used to seeing the magnificent mountains in the distance—they look like what I would see in a photograph—and there is picturesque greenery all over Taiwan. Everyone that I’ve met in Taiwan has been incredibly friendly and welcoming: my host families, my classmates, local Taiwanese people, and the other exchange students. This, coupled with support from my family back in the United States, has made my exchange progress smoothly.

I made my first change in host families on December 1st. At first, I was rather nervous changing host families because I had just gotten acclimated with my first host family and I would have to experience joining a new family again and adjust to a new lifestyle at home. Of course, I was worried for nothing and feel well adapted to my current host family as well. My current host family members are often busy with work, but they still make time for me and we regularly have meals together. Although I did take the advice from Rotex not to bring too many things abroad because I’m bound to buy many things and have to bring everything back in the following summer, I discovered that I have already accumulated so many material items that would not entirely fit in my luggage.

In November, we had a country fair where we introduced our home countries to future outbounds. Since there were so many American RYE students, we had to split into 2 booths. For the booth that I was a part of, we tried to make it resemble a traditional American diner. It was also interesting to go around and look at the other booths that the other RYE students set up and learn about their countries. The district prepared a Christmas party for the inbounds on December 23rd. We needed to have a speech entirely in Chinese ready and a perform in a group talent show. The next night, we had another Christmas party with Japanese interact members. It was very nice being able to participate and meet the Japanese students. New Year’s Day has just passed and my district in Taiwan set up a 3-day trip to the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, to see the fireworks at midnight. The first night, we went to Jiufen and there were lanterns hung up all over. The next day, we wrote on lanterns and at night we went to Taipei 101 to see the fireworks. The next morning, we went to Ximending to shop and then we went home. Winter break is coming soon and it will end at the beginning of February. Chinese New Year’s occurs during the break, on February 5th, so I am anticipating how my host family will celebrate.

I only have about six months left in Taiwan, but I am looking forward to the upcoming experiences. I remain incredibly grateful for this experience and will make the most out of the upcoming months.

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