Commence Study Abroad: Hello Taiwan!

Welcome readers! For my first post, I’d like to share some details about my study abroad program and why I chose it!

During my ongoing quest for higher education and also through other various life experiences, I have seen myself grow in many ways. However, still unsatisfied, I looked for a way to expand myself and create new horizons. So I approached the office of study abroad at Western Illinois University, where I was graciously welcomed and presented with many study abroad options. Among them were destinations scattered all across the globe. When choosing a location, I had two primary goals in mind. First I wanted to expand myself culturally as well as intellectually. For me, this meant choosing a place completely different from home, so that I could experience the great diversity our world has to offer. Second, I wanted a location that might give me the skills or insights that can create new professional opportunities. The program I ultimately selected for my time abroad was an exchange between Western Illinois University and Ming Chuan University in Taipei, Taiwan.

And it is indeed very different from home.

For me, home comes in the form of an old farm house situated outside a small farming community in north west Illinois. My father provides for our family of six by raising corn and soybeans, while my mother maintains the provision of all things intangible, that only a mother can provide. In contrast, my new, yet temporary home in Taiwan takes the shape of a small apartment located on a busy street in downtown Taoyuan, a bustling suburb of Taipei.

I believe Taoyuan to be like most cities, in that it never sleeps. Here in Taiwan, traffic laws seemingly don’t exist. Where buses move like giants through a sea of buzzing scooters, and a turning car will yield to no one. A place where it is common to see young girls dressed in Hello Kitty, who ride through rainy streets faster than I would ever dare. As I walk among the endless crowd of Taiwanese, I am overwhelmed by the combination of new sights, sounds and smells that stimulate my senses and I can only wonder what adventures await me.

Submitted by Jake, Abroad101 Global Ambassador in Taiwan