August 15: Why Taiwan?

I recently announced that I was planning on going to Taiwan to study. I wanted to talk a little bit more about the “why” and what I’ll be doing there.

Here is Taiwan for those of you who might not be familiar! It’s an island near China and the Philippines.

Why?

I’ve now been studying Mandarin for 3 years. Lately, I have been studying, but finding it difficult to improve and find enough motivation to continue. Because speaking Chinese in Minnesota is not necessary at all, I have to seek out ways to improve and practice. While taking lessons online, using apps, reading, textbooks, and watching media in Chinese is great for practice, lately I don’t feel like I’m improving much.

What I’ll be doing:

I will be going to a Mandarin Training school. This is part of a large university in Taiwan. I will be placed into a class at the school based on my results on a placement test and potential interview. Each day, I will spend a few hours in class (approximately 15 class hours each week). I’ll then have to spend a few hours outside of class studying each day. I will spend most of my time learning and studying Mandarin. The school will also give me the chance to take some “fun” classes. These might be classes where you can watch movies, learn about culture, food, learn specialty vocabulary about different topics, and more!

I expect the program to be difficult. I think, especially at the beginning, I’m going to need to spend a lot of time studying and preparing for class. I hear there are quizzes, dictation (kind of like a spelling test), and assignments that may take a lot of preparation. I also hear the program focuses a lot on writing (with a pen), and my writing skills (with a pen, rather than typing) are definitely lacking. So I hope with some practice and my reading knowledge, I’ll be a able to catch up quickly.

I’ll be living in a shared apartment a few metro stops away from school. I’ll have my own little bedroom complete with a desk I can study at. I won’t move in until September 1st, so before then, I’ll be living in my quarantine hotel, and then potentially a hostel for a couple of nights. I’ll begin classes on September 2nd.

I’m also excited to make new friends, eat some Taiwanese food, drink more bubble tea, and have a brand new city to explore!

Making the Choice to Go Abroad Again:

I’ve been back in Minnesota for over a year and a half. This is the longest period of time I’ve lived here since high school. I’ve been looking into going abroad since I was in Korea. I knew that things in Korea were not working out the way I had hoped, and started looking into going straight from Korea to another country. Unfortunately, with the Covid restrictions, it wasn’t possible then. Since coming back, I’ve been doing things in MN and trying to set up (and enjoy) my life here while keeping in mind that if I wait, going abroad could be a possibility in the future. I moved into a new apartment, met new friends, continued working online, started dogsitting again, opened a hobby shop online, and got a master’s degree this past year. It’s been a busy year!

Being able to do all of these things while living in MN has been such a great experience for me! This past year is really the first time I’ve lived as an adult in Minnesota, and I learned so much about myself and what I want in my life. One of the major things I realized is that I’m not ready to settle down yet.

I’m flying out on August 19th, and while it’s crazy soon, I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll keep you all updated along the way. Next time you’ll hear from me, I’ll (hopefully) be in Taiwan.

Corinn


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