“Rapidly developing city with great people and incredibly diverse food”
Taiwan, an island state in East Asia, is currently becoming an interesting spot for young people from all over the world. The country offers a highly developed capital city, Taipei, as well as beautiful nature with many places to discover. For these reasons, we had a talk with the German student, Julia, who is currently doing her semester abroad in Taipei.
Hi Julia! Why did you choose Taiwan as your study destination?
I study Sinology in Munich and I decided to do my exchange-year in Taiwan as part of my studies. In my first four semesters in Germany, I got to know the basics of mandarin and I wanted to improve my language in a native speaking country. Therefore, I took the full-time mandarin course at National Chengchi University, which means I have three hours of lessons every day for nine months studying Mandarin.
How would you describe Taipei?
I would describe Taipei as a rapidly developing city with great people and incredibly diverse food. If you’re open-minded to local food there is a lot to try, especially on the night markets. Eating outside is quite cheap in Taiwan. You can get a full meal for about 3 euros. That’s why some Taiwanese prefer eating out than cooking at home. The culinary variety and quality of the surrounding restaurants and food stalls are amazing. You will find a lot of noodle soups, of course, rice in every possible combination and very delicious dumplings (soup dumplings).
What can you do in Taiwan?
Taiwan is very good for hiking and all other kinds of outdoor sports. Through the many mountains in the East of the island, you can always explore new places. Surf lessons can also be found on some beaches on Taiwan’s shores. Everything is easily accessible by train on the island of Taiwan and the weekends are great for exploring the neighboring cities.
Everything is easily accessible by train on the island of Taiwan and the weekends are great for exploring the neighboring cities.
Also, next to the Taipei 101, there are many museums who often offer student-discounts and there are plenty of memorial halls and parks for you to visit. Moreover, the city center has really good shopping for the fashionistas and theaters for the cultural enthusiasts.
How is it to be an exchange student in Taiwan?
The atmosphere is very pleasant. The people I met here are very open to me. All in all, I have the feeling that if you try to speak Chinese as a “waiguoren” (foreigner), most Taiwanese will be very helpful. As a “white” person, I always get to hear how pretty I am, where I come from, etc. So you can say that Taiwanese are very friendly to foreigners but still, they keep their distance to show you respect and to be polite. Even if you do not speak Chinese, you can communicate well in Taipei because most of the locals can speak English.
I feel very safe here too. Some Taiwanese leave their cell phones and wallets open in restaurants, which initially surprised me a lot. But in fact, I or my friends have never noticed that something got stolen. Even at night alone on the street, I feel partly safer than in Munich.
Why should young people study in Taiwan?
If you like the mix of metropolis and nature and if you are interested in the Taiwanese culture and would like to travel, you should consider a semester abroad in Taiwan!
Must-do in Taipei?
I absolutely recommend eating dumplings at the chain “Bafang Yunji” and singing karaoke together with friends for one night.
Thank you – 谢谢!
This interview was made by our intern Sarah!