As I am studying in Taipei, one of my biggest goals is to connect with a local. Would it not be great to be able to immerse myself further by meeting someone who knows the ins and outs of the city? Additionally, would it not be great to meet people who are on a similar trip as myself to share in the experience?
Through the National Taiwan University (NTU), I was able to connect with a local Chinese (Mandarin) speaker who is also studying within the same university. Her name is Ting (周庭瑄) and Ting is now my language partner. We met through NTU and we have been meeting weekly to speak in Chinese and to explore the city. The main purpose of our meeting has been to further emphasize a real-world Mandarin speaking experience. One of my favorite meetings with Ting was at Taipei Zoo (台北市立動物園)。Here we were able to walk around together, speak in Mandarin, get to know one another, and enjoy seeing some great animals at an amazing zoo!
Along with meeting Ting, I have been able to connect with other Mandarin learners and locals. Within the International Chinese Language Program at NTU, I have connected with other students from the U.S., students from National Cheng Kung University, and with a fellow SFSU Flagship student who currently lives in Taiwan. There has been great emphasis on us traveling within Taipei, exploring neighborhoods, stores, museums, restaurants and more.
At Shida Night Market (師大夜市), we had the opportunity of finding a great Hot Pot restaurant and we were able to order in Mandarin and speak it with each other as we enjoyed the bubbling hot soup. Finding other people who are just as interested to speak Mandarin has made this experience so much greater than what I could have imagined. Additionally, being able to connect with local Taiwanese natives and building a friendship has really opened up a new perspective for me. I look forward to sharing how this new change in perspective has changed and influenced me in my next post.