Studying abroad has always been on my to-do list ever since I was in high school, but I wasn’t really able to make my dream come true until the Fall of 2022 due to the ongoing pandemic. Honestly, I did not have any faith in this since I had applied to the program four times before I could finally get on the plane. I had doubts about whether it was worth postponing my graduation, but after living in Taiwan for three months, I am really glad I made the choice to come.
I have lived in Asia before but in the summertime and was never alone. It was a bit scary at the beginning, especially when I had to do so many things by myself. However, my host university paired up local and international students right before the semester began, and I was extremely lucky to befriend a student buddy who is very helpful and caring (she is my lunch buddy too). Unlike many international students who chose to stay in the university dorms, I found a shared apartment on Facebook, so I actually live with some other NTU/NTNU students who know the surrounding areas very well. I did not run into too many problems in my daily life thanks to these friends and I appreciated every moment very much.
Taiwan is a very lovely island, and one of the challenges that I did not expect to face was actually the weather here. There were several times when the rain was so heavy (when there was a typhoon approaching), students would still bike to the campus with one hand holding an umbrella. Most NTU students consider this skill as a must-learn for an NTU student but I would be lying if I say I have learnt it by now. It is super cool but dangerous too.
Thinking about my past few months living in Taipei here, I am grateful. One of the reasons that I could focus on my studies without having to worry about my financial situation, is the awards and scholarships that I have received appreciatively. Without any doubt, it cost me a lot to travel during this difficult time when Taiwan still had very restrictive entry restrictions at the time which included having to quarantine for 7 days. These findings have supported my life here and allowed me to explore the cities and culture as time goes by.
It is still a shock to me that my journey here is coming to an end and soon I will be back in Vancouver. For now, I am not entirely sure where exactly I will be next year at this point (hopefully living and working in Japan), but for sure I will visit my friends here in Taiwan and perhaps other places here too. As for people who are dreaming or have dreamed of living or studying abroad, like many other exchange students, I only have one piece of advice: just go for it. Make a plan, find the right people to talk to at SFU Study Abroad and for international students to SFU International Student Advising, and before you know it, you will be at YVR saying goodbye to your family and friends and heading to a new chapter of your life.