你好! That’s how you write hello in Chinese (pronounced “ni hao”). My name is Angie and I’m currently studying at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. Don’t be alarmed by the word “normal” in the name – it just means that they offer education as a course, not that other universities are abnormal! I’ve been in Taipei for one week now and I’ve already come to learn what I love about the city:
- The food: I’m a bit of a 吃货 (pronounced “chihuo” – foodie) and I love to try new things. Taipei is renowned for their Night Markets, which are essentially a massive mix of food and shopping stalls in one area. There’s a Night Market right next to my university which I’ve already visited, and there are many more Night Markets around the city to try traditional Taiwanese cuisine such as beef noodles and bubble tea.
- The people: Every single person I have met so far has been extremely friendly and willing to go out of their way to help you. Everyone is also very respectful and polite, for example people queue to get on an escalator, there is no pushing!
- The convenience: There is a 7/11 on every corner, which acts as a supermarket, café, bank and post office. There are also heaps of international brands such as Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, Costco and IKEA so shopping is extremely easy. Shops and restaurants are open until midnight, and the subway system (called the MRT) is not only extremely efficient but also air-conditioned.
Speaking about air-conditioning, here are the things I’m not so sure I love:
- The weather: Taiwan is considered a tropical climate and right now it’s typhoon season. Not only is it 35 degrees most days but it’s also 70% humidity. If you stand outside for 5 minutes, I guarantee you’ll already be sweating. Guess I won’t be wearing makeup for a while.
- The methods of payment: This is such a small point but living in Australia, I really got used to paying by credit card, and even more recently, paying by Apple Pay! Here, pretty much everything is paid for in cash, whether that be small things like a taxi or your rent for 6 months and your phone plan. It just means you always have to have cash on you, and make sure you have enough of it.
Today is my first day of classes – I’m not sure if I even remember how to study but I’m hoping it will come back to me! One of the really good things about this university is that they offer 6 hours of free Mandarin for exchange students per week. This is totally optional but I’ll definitely be taking these. Another amazing thing that the university offers is the chance to take classes at two other universities here in Taipei. I’ll be taking at least one subject at another university, just to check out their campus!
Wish me luck for the beginning of university and 再见(“zaijian” – goodbye)!
Angelique Wan 97113839
Bachelor of Accounting
National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan