Education Abroad - Student Story | Natie Sioson
Natie went to Taiwan on exchange for a semester in 2019. Read about her experience!
Why did you choose your program and destination?
I wanted to know what universities in other countries are like, and Taiwan was one of the countries I want to possibly find employment at in the future. I also already spoke Mandarin so my experience studying aboard there went pretty smoothly.
What was the most memorable experience of your time abroad?
My most memorable experience was when I traveled alone to other cities in Taiwan. It was my first time planning a trip on my own. The people I met on my trip were kind and helpful, which helped my trip to go more smoothly than expected. So despite the fact that I got lost a couple times, I still enjoyed my trip to Taichung and Changhua. I also got to go to my first concert to a popular Taiwanese band in Taoyuan, which was also an interesting experience.
Were there any challenges? How did you overcome or cope with them?
Figuring out how to take the public transportation there can be a pretty anxious experience, so I asked the buddy that the host university assigned to me on how to take the public transportation. Having a local student to be able to ask questions to definitely helped me adjust to the life in Taiwan.
Has this education abroad experience helped you personally, academically or professionally?
My experience abroad help me become more independent, because it was my first time traveling alone.
Additionally, since I arrived in Taiwan during their presidential election, it was interesting to discuss local politics with my friends and learn about the political climate in Taiwan. Academically, because I'm an English major, I took a course on Shakespeare in Taiwan. The course was mostly taught in English but the professor would sometime translate certain word or phrases to help the students understand the course material better. The professor also collaborated with the music department to explore how the music in Shakespearean drama impact the story within the play. Overall, it was interesting to see how English literature is being taught in Taiwan.
What was your experience like when you returned home?
It took some time for me to adjust from the warm climate in Taiwan to the cold Canadian winter. Time zone wise, I never had problem adjusting to that even when I first landed in Taiwan.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
If I could do it all over again, I would travel around more because I was too nervous to travel around when I first got to Taiwan. However, once I figure out how to take the trains and other public transportation, it was really fun to find places to travel to.
Would you recommend trying an education abroad program to other students? Do you have advice for students considering studying abroad?
I highly recommend trying an education abroad program, because you get to learn more things about a culture by living in the country itself. Before studying abroad, I suggest that you do some research about the university that you will be going to and about the local culture there. It's also important to get to know what the climate will be like in the country you're planning on going, because I personally didn't bring enough summer clothing when I went to Taiwan. I would also suggest to plan some trips beforehand if you're planning on traveling anywhere during your exchange.