I’ve been in Taiwan for almost 2 weeks now! That means I’m literally about 25% through with the study abroad program. Time flies by so fast, holy cow! To be completely honest, Taiwan hasn’t really changed much since I was last here – but I’m having a blast here so far! Some of my mom’s friends/former co-workers invited my mom and I to lunch yesterday (June 11th), and according to my mom, my Mandarin comprehension is slowly improving! I still can’t speak it very well, so I don’t contribute much to conversations; but regardless of that, it’s still nice knowing that I can at least understand what everyone is saying for the most part.
The research internship portion is going okay so far. I got a chance to meet and talk to some more people in Dr. Cheng’s research lab, and everyone is super nice! I also met a PhD student who has been in Dr. Cheng’s group the longest out of everyone, and he introduced me to another big portion of what this lab researches: Lingzhi. When I was asked about this mushroom for the first time, the name sounded familiar to me, but I didn’t really know much about it otherwise. Lingzhi, or Ganoderma lucidum is a mushroom that is grown/located in Taiwan, commonly used for Chinese medicinal purposes. It is said that this mushroom has some properties that can be used against cancer cells, melanin reduction, and a few other things as well. So this lab is basically researching the fungi’s bioactive properties and finding new methods that it can used for in the future. The student sent me a few research papers to read, and it’s super interesting, oh my god. So I’ll be shadowing one of the PhD students with that particular topic, and I might be able to help run some tests (I think that’s what he told me). It’s so interesting because this topic also combines biotechnology, which is stuff that I’ve never really used in the past.
I’ve been okay for the most part I suppose. I got five bug bites that were really bad a few days ago. I didn’t think much of it at first, but then each bite developed into a really swollen and itchy rash, which wasn’t so great. These insects, called 小黑蚊 (xiao ma yi) in particular are super tiny, so it’s hard to see, let alone super hard to recognize if they’re on your arm/leg or something like that. And yep, anti-itch creams from the U.S. don’t help reduce the itchiness or swelling at all! So I had to go to a pharmacy store in Taiwan and get Gentaderm – which is helping a ton so far, thank god. These bugs are different than mosquitoes, and their bites are much stronger compared to mosquito bites – so in general, please be careful if you’re in Taiwan! And I also got my other favorite thing in the world (Being sarcastic haha): an eye stye! It’s kind of like acne, except it’s either near or on your eyelid, which is super annoying. I get these from time to time, and to be completely honest, I don’t really know why I continue to get these, but I’ve learned to deal with them. Only thing that sucks is it takes a few days for it to go away (and that people might ask about it from time to time, which is nice that they’re concerned!). So these particular things weren’t the best part of my study abroad experience so far, but thankfully it’s temporary.
Otherwise, besides continuing to eat some good food (You can see more photos on my instagram!), that’s about it!
All the best,