Taiwan – the first time

I went on my first truly international trip many years ago, nine years ago to be exact.  Or rather, just over nine years ago.  It’s weird to think that in just a few months I will officially have gone to 28 countries and who would have though that my dad sending me to Taiwan for the first time would result in the realization that I love to travel. Here’s how it all started…

I had the first opportunity to go to Taiwan when I was in high school.  My dad had found a program that took North American high schoolers to Taiwan where you would attend school and could spruce up your Chinese for the summer.  I went through the application process which included essays, a physical exam and getting my blood drawn for the first time to make sure I was healthy.  And I backed out right before my dad purchased the plane ticket to send me there.  I didn’t want to go because Taiwan scared me. The idea of getting on an airplane alone for 10 to 12 hours by myself seemed terrifying. The idea of spending the entire summer away from my friends scared me and so I cried my way out of it and didn’t end up going.  Prior to this experience I had gone to Mexico for a week with school and Canada to see family.

A few years later, another opportunity came up that would allow for me to go to Taiwan as part of a program with an unfortunate program title.  It was a program sponsored by the Taiwanese government in partnership with the U.S. to bring students in high school and college to Taiwan to teach in economically disadvantaged areas around the country.  The high schoolers were brought to teach the elementary school kids and the college kids would teach the middle schoolers. I went through the application process and was accepted into this program.  I’m not sure what prompted me to want to go to Taiwan this time and not the time before but I made the decision to go and thus began my first truly international trip on my own to Asia.

Some details regarding the program, the program would be one week of training, three weeks of teaching and a one week tour of the country.  We would be partnered up with 5 other college students from around the U.S. that we didn’t know and we would end up spending the entire program together.  It was up to us to make the lesson plans and it was up to us to figure out how to communicate in Chinese and teach English to these kids.  It was definitely an interesting start to my travel experience…

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