Studying abroad isn’t easy. Although I’ve tried to research as much as possible regarding the things I need to know, I’ve still been surprised by lots of things and some of them are really funny encounters, which I will share later. But for now, I’m glad to say that overall, I’m adjusting pretty well. It’s not easy being away from home and doing everything by myself but I’m still in the adjustment period, which means that I still have lots of time to learn. Well, here are some specific updates:
- I’ve settled into my dorm a few days ago. Our room is not too big, but not too small for two people as well. Maybe it’s about the same size as my old bedroom back home. I’ve seen photos of the building and rooms even before I went to Taipei but it all looks much, much better in person. I’m really satisfied with my room and its facilities.
- I’ve been fortunate to have a nice roommate. So far, we’re getting along well. I can be pretty shy and awkward but she’s been very accommodating and willing to answer all of my questions, even before we met. It’s something I really need because my knowledge of the Chinese language is very limited. Oh, and she’s also showing me all the great spots to eat around campus, which is awesome! I look forward to knowing her more this coming school year. I’m really excited about that.
- I have also tried exploring the campus but on some days, it’s so hot that I don’t know how the locals can bear to walk around without umbrellas. I end up being all sweaty while the people I’m walking with still look so fresh. Plus, they don’t seem to burn or tan at all! My skin, on the other hand, burns easily so that’s something I still need to know how to prevent. So far, my sunblock isn’t working so maybe it’s time to switch to a different brand?
- The language barrier makes it hard sometimes. As I said, my Chinese vocabulary is very limited. And even though I understand some things, I’m still not good enough to hold a conversation with a local. I really hope I get into the Mandarin class I enrolled in so that I can learn even just a bit…
- But many locals appreciate it when I do try to speak in Chinese! I always, always try to speak in Chinese every time I can manage, just so I can practice. I can just imagine how terribly painful it is for them to hear me speak in their language, wrong grammar and all. But despite that, they’ve been nice and friendly, and they appreciate my efforts to learn the language. I’ve gotten pretty good deals and received some nice gifts from shopkeepers with whom I practiced Chinese with.
- There have been lots of surprises. Some of them were a bit of a hassle, and some were just outright funny. This morning, for instance, I got up early to attend a fire drill workshop that’s mandatory for all university dormitory residents. However, the whole session was in Chinese, and I didn’t realize that there was an English session just for international students (since there were also international students at the auditorium). Good thing I asked the organizers, or else I would be stuck there listening to a lecture I don’t understand! Lol!
- I’m still having difficulty waking up in the morning. I’m just not a morning person! But I know I have to change this because all my classes are in the morning *cries*
- My parents/friends/boyfriend and I are still trying to find the best time to call each other. It’s still summer vacation and I’ve been very busy with new student requirements and events so I don’t get to call them regularly, but I think we’ll be able to settle the specific times when classes start.
- I’m slowly getting used to an active lifestyle. People in Taipei walk. A lot. Now that I think of it, I didn’t even walk much back home because I always had someone to drive me around the city. But here, I take public transport and walk to my destination. I also tried walking to my dorm (as suggested by my roommate), which is at the uphill campus! It’s very tiring but the view is fantastic, especially at night. My roommate has been showing me all the best workout spots on campus and I think I might try working out, just like her!
- I’ve been trying to be more organized with my stuff. I don’t even open my room to my friends back home because it’s really messy and cluttered. Sometimes I’m just lazy and dump my stuff wherever I feel like it. But I think having a roommate is making me a little bit more responsible. It’s a shared space, so I really make sure I clean up for myself.
I hope everything gets even better once the semester starts! 🙂