Monday, June 27, 2011

General Reflections of Study Abroad Trip

This trip was an amazing experience and it truly was an experience of a lifetime for me. I almost didn’t go because I worried that I was too old and I also didn’t really know anyone else that well. That would have been a huge mistake. I can’t imagine having a better group of people to go with on this adventure. Everyone got along so well and we had a great time together. Dr. Peng’s Taiwanese background was an added bonus. Not only was he able to translate the language for us but he was was able to give us firsthand knowledge of the culture and explain similarities and differences in a way that only someone who lived in both Taiwan and the US could. I can’t say enough about what an amazing country Taiwan is. It should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list of places to see. It has natural beauty, rich culture, and its people are kind and respectful (and they seem to really like Americans). The universities were great hosts and it has made me consider hosting a foreign exchange student. In visiting the various businesses I learned how global our business world really is. We all have the same basic goals although our methods and strategy differ slightly.

A little advice for anyone considering this trip in the future:

· Go for it! No matter what your circumstances are, just make it work. You will not regret it.

· Start your blog before you leave home! It will make your life so much easier, trust me.

· Research your destinations. Everything has more significance if you have some knowledge of it.

· You can’t take too many pictures.

· Take large enough luggage so that you have room to take all your treasures home.

I am grateful to U of M for offering and supporting this wonderful program and most importantly to Dr. Peng for his great leadership, guidance, and for not losing any of us! Thank you Dr. Peng for all of your hard work, dedication, non-stop translating, and above all your patience and humor. Finally, I am the most grateful to my family for allowing me this amazing opportunity. Thank you for your love and support.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 15 ~ Final Day, Farewell Dinner

It's hard to believe that today is our final day in Taiwan. The past few weeks have been filled with so many new experiences and opportunities to not only meet a lot of new people but to get to know some fellow U of M students better. What a great group! I hope everyone enjoyed the trip as much as I did and that we all leave Taiwan as more knowledgeable and better people.

Farewell Dinner:

Thanks Ed for getting this for me.
Certificate of completion

Does this mean we all get an A ?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 15 ~ Pingtung Long Chuan Brewery, Indigenous Peoples Park

Lunch at Tsingtao Beer Theme Restaurant


Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Culture Park:

The first show today featured members representing the Amis tribe. The Amis is the largest aboriginal tribe in Taiwan and they live primarily in eastern Taiwan. The second show was in the round-shaped Naluwan Theater. It showcased various dances and songs including a dance from the Yami which showed the importance of the boats to the Yami tribe. It was followed by a dance by the women in which they fling their long hair back and forth.

Calcium carbide-bamboo firecracker

Amis tribe

Taking a break from their recital

Taking a break at the show

While we were inside watching the show it began to rain. It was pouring when we left and I was amazed at how quickly the ravine below began to fill with water.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 14 ~ Eluanbi Lighthouse,Jeep Riding, Kenting

Eluanbi Lighthouse

Eluanbi, also known as "Taiwan's Tail", is at the southernmost point of Taiwan. We visited Eluanbi Park and saw this lighthouse that stands 21.4 meters high and is supposedly the brightest in Asia. Along the way we encountered many tourists who seemed intrigued by us but in particular by Dion who they were convinced was John Wall of the Washington Wizzards (or at least I think that's who they thought he was). Everyone loves to get their picture taken!

Group of girls resting

View from the restaurant

Restaurant where we stopped for lunch


Mountain Jeep Riding:

Thanks to Sean O'Morrow for taking this video. Sean was the official photographer extraordinaire during our trip.

A few hills and curves along the way
We made it to the top
View from the top of the mountain

Dinner at Smokey Joes: Mexican/American food

I had a grilled chicken burrito and strawberry margarita. The food was good but the service was so poor I ordered another drink because by the time my food came I had nothing to drink. They only serve one person at time instead of bringing everyone’s order at once. I happened to be the last person served so by that time everyone had eaten and it was time to go. I told the cashier I wasn’t going to pay for the second drink because I never got it and then they showed up at the counter with the drink to go. You gotta love Taiwan. Strawberry Margarita in a paper cup to go! In America they would have not charged for the second drink and would have apologized. They are very nice and polite here but they don’t value speedy service.

Pat, Sean, Dion and me waiting for dinner

Beach Tour,Yoho Beach Resort

Egg flower

Yoho Beach Resort:

All of our hard work is being rewarded with a stay at this resort. It is beautiful here and it really makes me miss my family because I know they would love to vacation here. Maybe I'll bring them all here next year (except who will translate for us?)