After our time at the school was over, we rejoined half of the volunteer group and went on a tour of the entire coastline of the country. We started off along the north east coast and then made our way south and back up the west coast of the country. A few of the things that I would definitely recommend:
- Sun Moon Lake: It is the largest body of water in the country of Taiwan and there is a temple you can visit while you’re there. It’s definitely worth checking out.
- The country side of Taiwan and the mountains: The thing about Taiwan is that there are plenty of cities to check out and things to see in those little towns/cities but when it comes to Taiwan, nature is something you don’t wanna miss. There are so many areas of Taiwan that feel almost like they are untouched except for the roads that wind through to the next location.
- The Taiwanese Salt Museum: It’s the location of the largest sea salt field in Taiwan. I don’t remember much about this place but I do remember a salt statue of a pig that was adorable.
- The aboriginal villages and visitor locations: Before going to Taiwan, I didn’t really know too much about the history of Taiwan. While we were teaching, we learned that our students spoke some of the aboriginal languages of Taiwan, specifically a language called Tai-Ya. There are small shops everywhere around the outskirts of the country side of Taiwan in which you can learn more about the various tribes that still exist in Taiwan.
- Kenting National Park: This is essentially the most southern point of the entire country and it is a beautiful national park. There’s also a great night market you can visit there.
- The beaches: The beaches of Taiwan drastically differ between the north and south. You can find typical beaches along with rock beaches and they are definitely worth checking out, even just for the view.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can check out the mountains. While we were teaching, we were given the opportunity to go to a place called BeiPu where we could learn more about the cultures of the tribes that were in that area. We learned all about how they make their tea and the special processes they had to go through in order to get it to be just the right flavor. Going through that experience was definitely one of my favorite memories. You have to go through the process of grinding up the tea leaves with a mortar and pestle. We used a really large one to make enough tea for the entire group. Then we added water when the flavor was just right and to top it off there were grains of rice and red beans that you would add dependent on what you felt like drinking. I would highly recommend taking the time to check out the various aboriginal tribes around Taiwan because each one has a different culture that you get to experience while you’re there.
After our tour of the entire countryside, we rejoined the entire group and did our end of the year celebration followed by a night out at the ShiLin night market. I am so grateful for the experience that I had with that program because it gave me the opportunity to see what the country had to offer and learn so much more about the country itself. Along with that, I was blessed enough to meet some amazing children who really inspired me and reminded me of what was truly important. Having the chance to meet the students and live with them for a month really opened my eyes and I developed a love and a bond for these students. I still think about them to this day even though I never had the chance to keep in contact with them. The trip overall was something that was life changing and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from those that I met.