First off, apologies for another late post! I think what I’m going to do instead is summarize every couple of days within one post, since there are some days where I’m not really doing a ton of stuff. Another thing is that in order to save on media space, especially for July, I’ll be posting more photos on my instagram, so most of my food pictures will go there. Feel free to check it out if you like! So without any further ado, let’s get onto this summary post!
Part 1: Campus Sights
I usually don’t report to lab until 9 or 10AM – one thing that I’ve noticed when it comes to graduate student life/research is that there really is no strict time as to when you show up to work. Essentially, you are responsible for making sure you get whatever you need to work on completed on your own time. I’ve worked in a research lab in the past at UIUC, and I was always concerned if anyone would notice that I would show up a few minutes late or something like that. It turns out that they really don’t care haha. With Dr. Cheng’s lab, he mentioned that as long as I show up in general, then he’s fine with that haha! Yesterday (June 5th), I took the time to explore campus a little bit. Campus is huge, so I haven’t been able to explore every part yet, but I definitely want to try to find the electrical engineering building – which is most likely where my dad had his classes when he was in college!
The college of bio-resources and agriculture is basically like UIUC’s college of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. There are tons of palm trees and other greenery all over this specific part of campus, it’s super cool! The buildings in general have aged a lot over time, and the classrooms have the traditional desk and blackboard setting. It might be different across each college/department, but overall it’s still super cool! I also stopped by the main library, and it’s super cool! You basically have to scan your student ID in order to get in and out of the building – it’s quiet, and there are lots of desks/space to get your studying done, which is awesome! In addition, there’s a huge art exhibit inside in the center of the library – right now it’s all about ancient pottery. I also finally had a chance to take a picture of the food science and technology building. It’s definitely old, but there is a ton of lab space in this building, which is awesome!
Parts 2 and 3: Friends and Bubble Tea
On June 4th, a couple of people and I thought it would be a good idea to grab some dinner together – Pamela (person on left) is from Cornell University, and Katie (Person on the right/took the photo) is also from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The food was okay overall, but the one thing that we wanted to try was the bubble tea!
This bubble tea is from 陳三鼎黑糖粉圓專賣店, or commonly known as Chen San Ding. It’s a food stall that’s located in Gong guan, Taipei. Chen San Ding is famous for their bubble tea – we got their most popular item above, which is 青蛙撞奶 (Qing Wa Zhuang Nai)– it consists of their milk prepared in-house, and the tapioca pearls is cooked in brown sugar. It cost around 40 NTD, which is around 1 USD. It’s so simple, so cheap, and so tasty. I’ve always been loyal to this one chain bubble tea shop called Chatime – fun fact: There used to be a chatime in Champaign, Illinois; but something happened to it and they closed down (RIP), but I have to say, that Chen San Ding is so much better than Chatime. If you’re on campus or are looking to try some sort of bubble tea, this is the place to go! I’m probably going to get another one tonight or sometime this week. It is that good.
Part 4: Adjustments
Finally, I want to take some time to reflect on the past couple of days – it might not seem like much since I haven’t even actually started the main part of my study abroad program, but so much has happened!
- Food: INCREDIBLE. Seriously, there’s a reason why Taiwan is always known as a place for foodies. There’s just so many things to try, so many different cuisines, preparations, styles, and there’s just so much flavor with each dish! Granted, I haven’t tried everything yet, and there’s always going to be a dish or two that I may not necessarily be a fan of, but it’s just so amazing in itself. If UIUC can have this kind of food like NTU, then I wouldn’t want to leave college haha (If you’ve met me or ask my friends, I tend to be pretty picky with food).
- Mosquitos… Everywhere… LOL: Yeah, if there’s one thing that I don’t like about Taiwan, it’s that there are mosquitos. So many mosquitos; I think I must have at least 10 bites so far. The worst was getting one on my forehead yesterday, and it kind of sucks having it right there, and then your professor proceeds to talk to you haha… Make sure you have mosquito repellent, anti-itch cream, etc (Thank god I brought some). I always wonder how people can spend time in Taiwan and not get bitten… like how?
- Slowly getting accustomed to stuff: I’ll bluntly admit it: my mandarin isn’t perfect – I understand enough to get by, I sometimes don’t get everything correctly translated in my head, and I can’t really read, let alone write the language. But, there are ways of getting your point across, and it’s slowly improving over time, which is nice! And I’m not getting lost finding my way to the food science building as well; which is another great thing!
All the best,