Ori's Exchange in Taiwan October 29th, 2017
Do me a favor and think of the kindest person you have ever met. That person is a high school bully compared to the average Taiwanese local. Now that’s a big statement that’s based on not a lot of research, but I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the Taiwanese people will likely be among the kindest most courteous folk you will ever meet.
Talks about National Taiwan University have been few. When it comes to exchange destinations, Taiwan has kept rather low key, like a sagging janitor. And to that I say: no more! We’re gonna get a belt on those pants. That’s right, October is the beginning of exchange season and since you’re drowning in choice, let me throw you a lifeline. No superfluous adjectives, no cliché diary entries. Your exchange is what you’re likely looking forward to the most, so let’s talk about that.
I am currently reclining in one of the library chairs watching palm trees sway in slow motion to the snug 25-degree breeze. And it’s almost November. If you’re like me and you’d do whatever it takes to escape the bitter and brutal Dutch winter, Taiwan has got you covered. The palm trees and tropical vegetation that is thoroughly incorporated into the Taipei metropolis will have you feeling like you’re on a constant vacation.
Soaked with tradition yet soaring with innovation, Taiwan strikes the perfect balance between heritage and modernity. The country is rich in culture and effortlessly authentic, while at the same time easy and truly accomodating for Western visitors. Whether it be vibrant culture, breath-taking nature, phenomenal food, or vivid nightlife in towering skyscrapers, Taiwan has it all. The country is also very centrally located, making long weekend trips to Hong Kong, Japan, or Vietnam a 3-hour flight away. In fact, I’m flying to Tokyo in less than 10 hours.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “But Ori, what about the university?” First of all, let me begin by saying that accomadation at NTU’s dorms is guaranteed, and much like everything else in Taiwan, it’s also extremely affordable (around 220 euros per month for your very own single studio). Within a five minute bike ride you will find yourself in NTU’s sprawling campus, where your (very) enthusiastic professors will lead lively classes that leave you clear eyed with an easy smile every. single. time.
In addition to this, National Taiwan University has partnered with Taiwan’s Ministry of Education to launch a program called International Companions for Learning (ICL). This initiative is intended for the facilitation of cross-culture experiences between exchange students and local middle and high school students. If you choose to enroll in this program (which could frankly be renamed to Every Exchange Student’s Wet Dream), you will be going on fully sponsored trips all across the country to visit schools which educate local kids who have likely never seen a Westener in their entire life. I will personally be going on 8 trips, most of which are to the islands.
But a full moon’s got dark sides too. This year, the fall semester at NTU finishes on January 12th, and Maastricht University’s skills period begins on January 15th. However, fear not, for should you feel that the transition is too tight NTU professors are very understanding, and will gladly move your exams earlier to better accommodate your needs. One more thing to consider when choosing Taiwan, (and Asia in general), is that you cannot stay the night in the dormitories of the opposite sex. At NTU, men must leave the women’s dorms and women must leave the men’s at 23:00, although clever and lust-frenzied exchange students have learnt ways to circumvent this rule.
Do you want to know the truth? The truth is, you’ll have fun regardless of your destination. You’ll enjoy your exchange no matter where you go. Since I know faculty members also read the PerVectum, I’ll say this: whether you’re young, or whether you’re young at heart, treat yourself and come visit this beautiful country.
And to those 1st and 2nd year econometricians whose faith I have yet to earn: I, Mr. Ori Jonathan Porat, being of relatively sound mind and body on this day the 20th of October in the year of our Lord 2017, URGE you to put National Taiwan University on your list. It was my first choice, and the best choice I have made by far.
Did I mention it’s 25 degrees right now?