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I Can Do It in Taiwan
Park Geonsil  |  rjstlf1230@naver.com
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승인 2014.09.06  22:58:01
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 네이버 구글 msn
   
ALL PHOTOS FROM PARK

“I thought you wanted to learn Chinese.  Why are you going to Taiwan? The nation uses traditional Chinese characters and does not include character substitutions created after 1946 or newly developed ones either.  It does not use the Chinese language of mainland China.”  The thought of not using simplified characters made me feel anxious, and I often wanted to cancel my departure as the day approached, feeling I had made the wrong decision applying for an exchange program.  Despite this tension, I also felt a tingle of excitement.  Fortunately, however, in Taiwan, I soon lost all my anxieties and returned to Korea with a new insight that would put an end to other’s concerns about my time in Taiwan.

 

MIX OF WORRY AND CURIOSITY

In 2013, on summer vacation, I went to Harbin, China for a short language training program.  Although I major in Chinese Language and Literature, I had never been to China prior to this language study trip, so I was full of curiosity.  Though the program lasted just one month, I reflected on myself a lot, and the short period left me with much to desire.  I wanted to stay longer.  After much thought, I applied for an exchange student program.  I searched for a suitable program just after the semester began.  Since the school system of China differs with that of Korea, Taiwan caught my attention.  Whenever I said, “I am going to attend university in Taiwan from next semester,” most people expressed deep apprehension, answering, “I thought you wanted to learn Chinese.  Taiwanese language differs from mainland China.”  I received more concerns of worry than then comments of celebration.  At that time, I felt I had made the wrong choice.

 

   
 

 

REFRESHING AND ATTRACTIVE ENVIRONMENT

On February 16th, 2014, I arrived in Taiwan.  School authorities were at the airport to pick me up and, I met one professor who stood holding a picket sign with the words National Central University (NCU) written on it.  At school, enrolled national students were assigned to 2~3 foreign students to help.  I shared a dormitory room with 3 other NCU students.  I bought bedding from a nearby shop where most students bought their daily necessities, so I didn’t have to pack a lot of items.  I recommend people bring warm clothes and a blanket if you travel there in February since the weather is quite cold, unlike most people’s idea and expectation of hot and clear weather.  Moreover, it rains a lot, and the location of the university is on high land, so it is even cooler than the rest of the country.

The campus is really big, and one of the best aspects of the campus is there are lots of trees and a big lawn.  When the weather is nice, I could refresh myself on the green grass.  Registering for courses was also easy with the help of mentor students.  I took most of my courses at the foreigner student institution.  Since I really wanted to learn Chinese, I took many language classes.  All professors were passionate, and they offered freely one to one academic counseling.  Each course professor assigned lots of assignments, and most of the work was group work.  Since active participation was requisite, the class was very enjoyable.  I thought I would only use Chinese during class; however, unlike my expectation, Taiwanese people also typically used Chinese in their daily life.  There is only a slight lexicon difference and some traditional Chinese characters are used.  Personally, I am fascinated with traditional Chinese.  I’d like to share several useful tips.

   
 

Tip 1

Tip 2

Tip 3

Tip 4

Because City Bank ATM machines, both in Taiwan and on National Central University campus are rare, look for banks or credit cards that do not charge a commission fee.

Use a cell phone as a hot-spot for your laptop since the dormitory imposes an extra fee if you connect to the Internet. Also, you can get a Lan line, but don’t expect a good Wifi system.

There is no restaurant in the dormitory, so be prepared to buy your meals each day.

Since, the International Student Identification Card isn’t frequently requested, carry your National Central University ID card.

Travel around Taiwan is easy.  Prices are similar to Korea, but food is cheaper.  Most regions are tourist-friendly; therefore, I was satisfied with security of the nation and at all accommodations.  Everyone was kind and facilities were well cared for, especially in terms of sanitation.  I was there longer than a typical tourist, so I was more relaxed and calmed, which made me enjoy Taiwan fully. Taiwan is full of things to see and eat.

   
 

EPILOGUE

I made a hasty decision to participate the program.  Although I wish I could have prepared more in advance, I am convinced that the experience is going to be a perfect foundation for my future as well as spiritual nourishment.  In addition, I realized that having courage in one’s decision is crucial. I didn’t have to care others, comments before going to Taiwan, since none of them had been to Taiwan before.  If I had listened to others, I’d have never gone to Taiwan.  If you eager to study Chinese, I highly recommend Taiwan.  Do not hesitate to take an opportunity when it comes to you.

 

University

National Central University

Qualification

Proficiency in the Chinese language or IBT 79,

GPA 3.0/4.3

Program

Exchange Student

Recruitment

March and September

First and Second Exchange Student Recruitment.

Requirement

Applicants must complete at least one semester at SMU before applying to the program.

 

 

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