This summer, I was lucky enough to study abroad at National Chengchi University in Taiwan through the American Councils' Tradition and Modernity in Taiwan program. During this month long program, I took courses related to Taiwan's history, politics, culture, and contemporary issues. This coursework was supplemented with daily language instruction centered around practical language application in addition to several cultural excursions. Places we visited during the program included Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Tzu Chi Recycling Center, the headquarters of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, and (my person favorite) Yilan aboriginal village. While in Yilan, we hiked through beautiful mountains while learning about the aboriginal peoples' hunting techniques. That night, a few of my friends and I sat down with a local family and conversed in both English and Chinese, discussing popular American and Taiwanese singers, and eventually teaching one another dances: we taught them how to do the cupid shuffle while they taught us a local dance of worship. We laughed, talked, and listened to music for hours. It is a night that I will never forget.
The Tradition and Modernity in Taiwan program provided me with invaluable memories, lifelong friendships, and a rich academic and cultural understanding of Taiwan. I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new, you will not regret it! My experiences in Taiwan remain some of my favorite memories to date, and (if I could) I would definitely participate in this program again.