One month in Taiwan – Highlights

September was a very busy month, with lots of orientations to go to and classes to attend. I think I can say that it was my adjustment period. But now, I’m getting used to things little by little and now I finally have time to blog about previous month’s highlights!

Classes

So far, the classes are enjoyable and the people in my major are a lot of fun to be with. There are only 10 freshmen (including me) in our department so I think it would really help us bond and work more closely with each other. Many of us didn’t take economics in undergrad but it wasn’t too big of an impediment for us; everyone has been very helpful and our department head has also been very approachable. We could come to him whenever we had problems about academics and he has given us good advice.

Besides the required classes (Econometrics and Applied Macroeconomics), I also took two social development electives and I must say, I really enjoy my classes. They are very challenging for me because social sciences classes are different from business classes. We have so many readings for one week and we have to present these cases in class, and facilitate class discussions as well. But I like how these classes motivate me to think, criticize ideas, and relate theories and cases to my native country. It also helps that our department is composed of students from different parts of the world, and their insights in class are opening my mind to new perspectives.

Language learning

I’ve been trying hard to speak in Chinese wherever I go, although sometimes I think I sound really weird. I also got into the Mandarin class that I was trying to enroll in, which is awesome because I really learned a lot of practical phrases and words from the class. We’re not taught how to read and write though so I am taking extra steps to learn that. I also try to listen in on my friends’ conversations because my listening skills suck, but overall I think that my Chinese has gotten so much better just by living here.

Social life

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Contrary to my expectations, I’m not completely alone during classes! Yes! I’m an introvert, yes, but of course we all need social life to stay sane, especially in a foreign country where it is harder to make friends. Fortunately, I’ve met lots of new people from different countries and we all enjoy hanging out together. I also met some Filipino scholars, which is awesome! My roommate and I are getting along well too, we share a lot of things in common and we’re very interested in each other’s countries, so we end up learning a lot about each other. She has also introduced me to her friends, who are all nice and friendly. I think we’re off to a great start and I think it will only get better until the end of the school year.

Finances, chores, responsibilities, etc. a.k.a. adulting

I’ve learned so many things about myself during the adjustment period, especially because I also went through some tough times. Before arriving in Taiwan, I’ve never had to do any household chore because we had maids to do that for me and my siblings. But here, I learned how to do everything all by myself. It was terrifying at first but now that I think of it, it’s not too bad. And I’m not such a slob anymore. Sometimes I hardly recognize myself. Lol.

I have also learned how to manage my money. Living away from your parents really makes a difference on how you see and manage your money. I used to just buy whatever I wanted because I knew I could afford it, but now I try to consider whether I really need something before buying it. I think it’s good that I developed this kind of discipline, because I have yet to get my scholarship stipend for this month – but no worries, because I still have some money left from last month’s allowance.

Other activities

I really got into ukulele when I came to Taiwan because music is my stress reliever. I have been learning some new songs and new styles of playing. I also recorded my first song cover on video, as a gift for my boyfriend!

My boyfriend and I love Final Fantasy X and this song, Suteki Da Ne 【素敵だね?】so I thought of recording this for him. I’m a bit video-shy and it was kind of embarrassing to record it because people were passing by and looking at me… Lol I might never do this again XD

Hope you guys had a great month! 🙂

18 Comments

  1. Seems like you had an amazing experience. I wish I would go study in another country, but I am kind of afraid and I also don’t know if my parents could financially support it for a whole year.

    Being in another country on your own isn’t that bad, especially if there are more foreign students with you. It forces you to adapt, to learn how to speak with strangers how to be socially active. I lived it on my own. I went to my first exchanges this summer and I was amazed of how relaxed I was communicating with foreign students even though I was never speaking English before (I mean I knew how to write in English, but speaking … not that good). I developed good talking in English skills hehe. Also being away from home really teaches you everything. Like you said, you have to be careful with money, you have to take care of yourself, of the place you’re living. It was a shock for me too when I first left home, but I adapted. It’s good that you see a difference only after a month, mean you’re learning something and you’re growing up. I am proud of you.

    Keep us updated about your amazing experiences <3

    1. I agree with everything you said about being a foreign student! It really helps you grow because you need to adapt when you’re in a new environment. And it’s so nice how you gained so much confidence in your English language skills during your exchange! 🙂 You will really learn a lot when you’re forced to do something every single day haha! 🙂

  2. It’s a good and useful experience to move away from home! You grow up and learn so much about… life.
    I had no idea you played the uke. Please more! Please please! I LOVE your singing!!!!!!!!!

  3. I’m glad that despite the language barrier that everything is going good. Yeah, while I never moved to another country, I did visit one and enjoyed it, and I even moved out of my state for awhile to see how it felt to be in a different environment. Keep on going ^^

    1. Moving out of state is a good start, it’s not too drastic but still unfamiliar enough to learn how to get by on your own. That’s great and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I really think that travelling is a great way to know yourself and your capabilities better.

  4. Ahhh – I really enjoyed reading this post! I’m so proud of you and I know youre going to make the most out of your time there 😀

    Im happy to hear that youre enjoying your classes. I love social sciences and business classes, Ive been trying to do then along side my heavy science degree when I have time as an optional class. I agree, social sciences has a lot of reading but once you get stuck in – its amazing!

    Woo for lovely people! I just love meeting such warm and welcoming people, its lucky thst you have such nice friends to hang around with 😀

    I know what you mean about finances, as someone who still lives at home along with my studies, i dont have to worry much when it comes to money and when I get money from my job I used to just buy anything I wanted because I can afford it. But since I started my placement and earning more than I ever did in a month from my part time jobs, Ive become much more of an adult when it comes to spending whatever!

    Best wishes with everything, I hope this term goes well!

    1. Thanks a lot Pauline! 🙂

      Haha yeah, managing my money is still a bit difficult sometimes, especially because I easily get tempted by so many stuff I see (and Taipei has loads of shopping places and night markets so I can’t escape the temptation lol). It’s good that you’re more conscious of your spending now that you’re earning money, at this stage you really get to see the value of the amount you earn and it gets you thinking about more important things to spend your money on 😀

  5. I’m so glad that you’re adjusting well! It can be so scary to be on your own in a new environment with a different culture and language, so it’s awesome to read your post about how well you are doing!

    I never was really very interested in the social science classes I had to take because I never thought they were relevant to my business degree, and just wasn’t that interested in the topic. So I’m glad that you are enjoying yours much better than mine! 😛

    Lol, adulting. I’ve always been pretty good about managing my money and cleaning after myself because I always knew it was my responsibility and it would only bite me in the butt if I didnt do it well. Also, I’m kind of a neat freak so if anything was messy it would drive me crazy!

    Can’t wait to read about more of your adventures!

    1. Thank you so much Becca! It wasn’t easy but I’m adjusting pretty well! 🙂

      Wow, it’s great that you’ve never had any problem with your finances or keeping your place clean. I admit that I never really thought about that until I started living alone, maybe because I never really thought I would face these responsibilities so soon. While I know I still have a long way to go, I’ve improved so much regarding those aspects so I think that’s a good thing? 😀

  6. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well at school so far. It’s great to bond and get along with your classmates. Definitely keep that going because it’ll help you in the long run :). Meeting and interacting with people from different backgrounds and perspectives is a great eye-opening experience.

    You probably know more Chinese than me so you’re definitely doing well ;). I’m happy to see that you’re socializing! Hope you’ll make some everlasting friendships!

    Independence will help you in the long run. I learned that while being at school too XD.

    1. Thank you Nancy! 🙂 Yep, interacting with people from different backgrounds really helped a lot not only in class but also in developing my social skills. I didn’t really think that my English language skills were good and I wasn’t very sociable as well when I first arrived, but now I can talk better with my classmates and deliver presentations with more confidence. 😀

  7. That’s great that you’re enjoying your classes and that everyone is so helpful! I’m glad you were able to get into the Mandarin class you wanted too. That’s definitely useful for being in Taiwan 🙂 My Mandarin is so rusty now, that I really need to brush up on it. I’m not that good at listening to it either!

    Yay for meeting so many new people and making new friends! I know what you mean by the adjustment period. My parents spoiled me, and my mom took care of almost all chores. I had to learn a lot of things suddenly when I moved out of the house for college, haha. That’s sweet that you recorded that video for your boyfriend, by the way! I love Suteki Da Ne!

    Sounds like studying in Taiwan has been an awesome experience so far 🙂 I hope things continue to go well!

    1. Haha I agree, the Mandarin class was super helpful. I think my Mandarin improved so much because of those classes, I’m so so happy that I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up on the course’s waiting list!

      Thanks for the comment on the video! I love Suteki Da Ne too and my boyfriend actually gets emotional whenever he hears this song so I thought of recording this video to get him all emotional (and annoy him) before his classes start lol!

  8. That is so great that classes are going well and it’s such a good environment with many people from all over the world. 😀 I wish you the best in your studies.

    That’s great that your Chinese has gotten a lot better. Even if the class doesn’t offer the option on how to read and write, it’s probably a good starting point to have a verbal understanding and be able to develop from there. 🙂

    It’s really good that you have been adulting well. 😀 It can be a challenge, but really good for you in the long run

    1. Thanks for the well-wishes Kya! I really need a lot of good vibes right now 😀

      The class mostly focuses on everyday conversational Chinese, but our book’s content is written in both pinyin (spelling of the words using English letters) and Chinese characters so I’m going from there and trying to memorize the vocabulary words in Chinese characters. It’s difficult but I’m definitely improving 🙂

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