Welcome Back to CIEE Taipei!
As everyone can see, the students are digging into the newly arrived Spring spirit.
Here are words from one of our ambassadors on the newly arrived students:
" It had been weeks since all of the students started receiving emails and getting in touch with their buddies. It was finally time that they actually came all the way to Taiwan and met with new friends.
All the activities seemed like merely procedures yet new experiences with the new faces and places around. With the friends and the cultural ambassadors around to start the semester, everyone was well taken care of. After having settled down in the dorm with nice mattresses and the internet connected, it was also time to get some insights into the city. One of the highlights of the orientation week for everyone must have been the part of Tonghua night market.
Setting sail for the night market means more than just satisfying the stomach, it’s also the first opportunity for the students to try those legendary Taiwanese street foods. Those started with stinky tofu had tasted something far more different than what they had imagined. Stinky tofu received different reviews which included “I can’t handle the smell and the taste at the same time”, ”It is ‘meh’” and “it’s really good, I like it ” with that satisfying smile. Another authentic street food for them was oyster omelette, which was another awe for every student who tried. This time the scores got a lot better, for them rating it either good or really good.
It was at that time when they made their first attempt on getting to know the country; however, it doesn’t mean that those who didn’t try are not willing to know the country. It’s apparently that food is only a very small part of the country and they put focus on other aspects for the adventure which is about to be discovered soon."
More words from an ambassador about student activities:
On the first night of excursion trip, we had a welcome party with some Taiwanese games to welcome students and celebrate the beginning of this semester. But first, we enjoyed our first meal together. We had different types of duck dishes, delicious soup, amazing fired buns with ice cream and so on. It’s really impressive.
On the party, we were all exhausted because we enjoyed games a lot. We had done so many crazy things like searching stones, picking flowers, collecting glasses, taking off T-shirt, and so on. That’s really funny and unforgettable. Besides, I still remembered vividly that we used special sounds to find each other. The sounds we chose were like promise, and this game made us know each other more soon.
At the end of the party, we knew our own masters of whom we needed to take care. We had some plans in our mind and looked forward to receiving our angels’ attention."
Here are more thoughts on the trip taken to Yehliu, Pingxi, and Jiufen:
Today, we headed to the east coast of Taiwan and visited the Yeliu Geopark. At the geopark, there were many special shapes of rocks like the Queen’s head rock and the Tofu rock. The unique landscape was a result of the combination of winds, wave and also time. Then we went to Jiufen’s Old Street and had some taro balls, beef noodles, fish ball soup and other traditional Taiwanese foods. We also saw some beautiful temples and viewed the coast. By the time we went to Pingxi, it was almost evening. We wrote down our wishes on the sky lanterns and lit the flame below them. We released the lanterns with our wishes and watched them fly into the sky."
Some final words about the Excursion Trip mentioned earlier:
When people in Taipei want to escape from the urban life for a while, most of them will choose to stay in Yilan. Yilan is a place combining the view of mountains and sea. On the first afternoon, we drove to the hostel located in mountains in Yilan. It was isolated and surrounded by the mountains so we did not have to worry about bothering our neighbors when we were out of control. The most impressive thing on the first day, I would say, was the adventure at midnight which we will never forget.
On the morning of the second day, we went to the tea garden to make tea ice cream. It’s not difficult but it’s really tiring because we needed to shake our ice cream cans for ten minutes without any stopping. Though it’s hard work, I must say that handmade ice cream was the best. We had lunch in the tea garden, the manager was hospitable and he provided rich dishes for us, including soft duck meat, noodles, and jelly with tea flavor. We will definitely miss this flavor in the future.
After lunch time, we rode bikes to visit an amazing waterfall in the mountain. It was too hot to bear riding under the sunshine, but finally we arrived at our destination together. It’s really worthy to persist in fulfilling our goals. In the afternoon, we took boats on the old river route of Dong Shan River. Sometimes trains rumbled across the iron bridge, and I felt like trains rumbled across my mind as well.
Before bounding for Luo Dong night market, we went to the National Center for Traditional Arts to experience the beauty of tradition. There were lots of shops selling kinds of products combining the modern and traditional. We took pictures on the old street with red bricks and lanterns. What a wonderful experience.
It’s time for dinner. The first impression of Luo Dong night market was that it was too crowded to walk. But that’s the true night market scene in Taiwan. Everyone had a list of must-eats in mind and started to look for them, bubble milk tea, meat skewer with shallot, flaky scallion pancake, Red Bean Boba, fried chicken, takoyaki, stir-fried noodles and so on. Everyone was satisfied with amazing food in Luo Dong night market.
On the morning of the third day, we woke up, cleaned our beds, and experienced Buddhist life, including meditation. We were so lucky to have this chance to experience Buddhist life deeply, and that gave us a much broader horizon. In the afternoon, we went to Heping Island in Keelung to have fun in the beach. Though the water was a little bit cold and it rained for a while in the beginning, we were so lucky that it didn’t rain a lot. Thus, we still could have fun in the water and climb the mountain near the beach. Because Fulong Beach was dangerous recently, we chose Heping Island instead. Though our great expectations for Fulong Beach couldn’t match with Heping Island, having sunshine while swimming and hiking still led to a happy end for our trip."
Clearly, much has already been accomplished by the group. We're all looking forward to more adventures in the rest of this Spring semester!