My first week in Taiwan

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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…
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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*
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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! 🙂

22 Comments

  1. Glad to hear that you’re starting off your first week abroad pretty well! It’s good that you have a nice roommate. Hope the both of you will get along really well :). With all of the time you have during the school year, I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to adventure out. If I had to study in Taiwan, I wouldn’t survive because I don’t know Mandarin at all XD.

    Good luck with everything! You’re starting your adventure in Taiwan pretty well. Looking forward to hearing more as the year goes by :).

    1. Thanks Nancy! 🙂

      Ive been feeling nervous since I came here but I’m slowly getting used to my new environment. I agree that there will be more opportunities for me to explore, especially when the school year starts. I’m already thinking of all the possible activities I might join! 🙂

  2. Finally, a new post yay! I’m also curious to know why they don’t seem to burn or tan at all. Haha Also, your roommate is so nice. What’s her nationality?

  3. I’m glad you are happy with things so far. It’s great that you get to exercise more! That’s a good habit that more people should have.
    I would absolutely hate sharing rooms with someone! Is that normal over there? I hope you’ll get along without troubles.

    1. Lol, I don’t share rooms as well since I have my own bedroom in our house. But for students living in university dormitories here in Taiwan, it’s a common setup. The single rooms are only reserved for PhD students. But it’s not so bad after you get used to it 😀

  4. Yay! A new post from you! I always enjoy reading to see how you’re doing and whatnot! Wow, I’m glad that you’re doing good and sharing rooms? I haven’t done that since my brother was little. I’m glad your roommate is nice ^^ Anyhow, keep going on with your semester! You’ll do great!

    1. Thanks Michelle! 🙂 It’s been a bit hard to squeeze in time for blogging and visiting sites but I’ll try harder 🙂

      I’m not used to sharing rooms as well because I have my own bedroom back home. But now that I’m living here, it doesn’t seem so bad 😉

  5. I’m glad you like your room and are getting along with your roommate! I felt the same way in Japan when it comes to the weather. I felt gross and sweaty, but the locals seemed to fair better. What are their secrets??

    I hope you get into the Mandarin class! I can see how the language barrier would make things really tough. I’m hoping to take a Hong Kong and Taiwan trip some time, and I really need to brush up on my Cantonese and Mandarin. I’m glad people have been nice and friendly though 😀 Hopefully it’ll get easier as you pick up words and phrases over time!

    I’m definitely not a morning person either, haha. I had such a hard time when I had to take morning classes in school, and even now, I have issues making morning meetings. Good luck with school though! I hope it’ll be a great semester!

    1. Thanks a lot Cat! 🙂

      Oooh, I would love to meet you on your Taiwan trip! If you ever visit Taipei please let me know and we can hang out! 😉 Haha I think your Mandarin is better than mine as of the moment though! 😛

  6. I’m glad to see a new post from you again! Sobrang hirap ako mag update nowadays haha. Sorry If I just passed by at your blog just now haha.

    Anyway, sabi na e, you’ll get along with your roomate. Masaya diba?:) I’m really happy things are going well for you! You’re lucky enough to have good roommate on your first try while It took me 2 roommates before I got the best one haha.

    I’m glad you do a lot of walking. I actually need it because I’m always in front of the pc. LOL

    I try to organize my stuff but how many times I try, it will always be back in chaos. Ang weird lol but anyway I’m trying Bullet Journaling now so I can organize my thoughts, plans and habits. You might give it a try too.

    I heard the Chinese language is hard so I want to congratulate you for trying to speak Chinese. Nice! You’ll get used to it. <3

    Enjoy your stay there!

    P.S. Di ko pa napapanuod yung Taiwanese drama na nakita on your Twitter haha

    1. Oh thanks! Haha it’s been really hard to make time for blogging since I have lots of things to attend to, but I swear I will try harder. Lol!

      Thanks for all the tips you gave me regarding dorm life! It really gave me a lot of things to think about while preparing for the transition, and knowing all the things you said, it made things a bit easier for me 🙂

      HAHA office life can really make our lives sedentary, so I’m actually happy that I get to exercise through walking to my dorm! It wasn’t easy the first time though, there were times when I would stop just because I would get so tired and breathless. Haha but after a few days I got used to it 😀

      Re: Taiwanese drama – I haven’t finished it yet too, I have so many stuff to read for school huhuhu

  7. It’s great that you are adjusting well so far. It would be really difficult to be away from everyone, but I am sure that you will be able to learn so much!

    So cool that you have nice roommates and you are getting a long, that is a big bonus! 😀

    I am sure that with some more time you will become better with Mandarin. It would be difficult with the language barrier, but you will get there!

    1. I hope my Mandarin gets better too! I always try to speak in Mandarin every chance I get, and each day I’m picking up new words and I’m getting better at listening too 🙂

  8. I was looking forward to this post! 😀 I’m glad to hear that you’re adjusting well, I know the adjustment period is always the time where you start to doubt a lot of stuff (this is always the case with me) but I’m glad it’s going well for you! 😀

    I can relate to the language barrier sort of – I’ve had to talk to a lot of Chinese students in my placement and whilst they try to talk to me in Chinese (and I try to explain, I’m Filipino and can’t understand what they’re saying) It’s often really difficult but I appreciate it when they try to speak English and they also appreciate it when I go through things slowly for them. Language barriers are hard but a genuine smile is understandable in every language 😉

    I’m glad to hear you’re being active – my hometown is very hilly so walking around is literally intense cardio 24/7. It’s a great feeling being active 😀

    1. Haha, thanks Pauline! I was excited to write this entry too but I never thought I’d be so busy with all the orientations I need to attend… LOL!

      Aww, your experience with Chinese students is so nice. I agree, it’s really difficult to communicate when there’s a language barrier but when both parties get through it with a positive result, it leaves a very nice feeling <3

  9. Yay for a good first week! I’m glad to hear that you have a great roommate. When you’re in a new place, it’s always great to have a friend to explore and go around with you!

    It’s always hard to figure out good times to talk with the difference between time zones. Whenever Andrew was in Spain it would be his bedtime when I was getting up in the morning! You’ll figure out a good time though eventually for you to talk with everyone!

    I’m excited to hear about more of your trip!

  10. Woot! Good to see your adjusting well in Taiwan 🙂 Moving to a new place (even temporarily) isn’t easy, but it seems like you’re taking things well.

    I feel you for the morning classes! I am not a morning person either, so ack! But woot for all the walking. Just see it as your daily exercise 😀

    Good luck with your classes and such! Take care!

    1. Lol, I’m so happy that someone feels the same way about morning classes! It’s just really hard to sleep early especially when your brain is super active at night… And having to wake up so early in the morning just feels so unnatural. Haha! I’m really happy about walking too, I’m not a huge fitness buff but yeah, I think it’s a great start to a more fit lifestyle. Yes! 😛

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