PJCC graduates recounts semester spent in Taiwan

Editor’s note — No one tells a story better than the person who experienced it. Former Elgin Review intern and PJCC graduate Terri Seier last week shared her story of a semester spent in Asia.
VROOOOOM! First day in a new country, in a new continent, in a new world I was casually walking down the sidewalk when a scooter drives past me nearly running me over. This was one of many experiences I had to get used to while studying abroad in Taichung, Taiwan.
Spring Semester 2018 I had the pleasure of studying abroad. I was in Taiwan from February 20th to June 30th. I have always been interested in studying abroad, or going abroad in general, and learning languages. With Taiwan, I was able to experience the pleasures of both. At my home university, Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU), I had enrolled in a Chinese language course and fell in love. Its use of multiple tones presented a challenge that I was ready to take on. The challenge made me excited to dive into a culture that I had never experienced; I knew then that I wanted to become proficient and declared a Chinese minor. After that I looked into studying abroad in Taiwan.
I chose Taiwan because my Chinese professor at NWU was from there. Throughout our lessons she would give us dialogue prompts and we would have to speak Chinese to one another with the prompt. To really immerse ourselves in our prompt she would even give us a back drop of our location on the projector. Some backdrops were from NWU’s campus café, some from big cities in China, and others were from Taiwan where she lived. Whenever I saw the little cat or dog café’s, city parks, or even national museums, I always knew that was where I wanted to go.
Before I even started the process of getting ready to go to Taiwan I had to find the money. My parents and I made a deal that if I paid for my semester abroad they would let me go. Sounds like a great deal! Right?! Not exactly. Studying abroad can be expensive, but thankfully there were plenty of scholarships to apply for. So, for a whole semester I spent my time writing essays and sending them to a small committee of students, professors, and friends to read over and give feedback. For each scholarship I had, at the minimum, five drafts of edits. It all paid off though when Freeman-Asia, awarded me a scholarship that paid for my plane ticket and a little extra if I ran out of food money before the end of the month. Without Freeman-Asia I most likely would not have been able to go abroad and have the most amazing experiences of my life!
Taiwan is a whole new world! There are night markets with the best, and strangest, food you won’t get in the United States. Some of that strange food, which I tried, is Stinky Tofu and the Century Old Egg. Stinky Tofu does not taste as bad as it smells, and it smells bad. When my mom visited she described the smell as a hog confinement. If you don’t think that it can be that bad just know that Stinky Tofu is only allowed in night markets because no one likes the smell and restaurants want customers. The taste I would describe as salty and something I would not eat as a meal if given the choice.
The Century Old Egg doesn’t smell, and the taste is better than the look. For those who don’t know the Century Old Egg is a fermented boiled egg that looks rotten. What is supposed to be white is greenish-black and what is supposed to be yellow is blacker than Satan’s soul. I had the pleasure of eating a Century Old Egg when the parents of two high school students I tutored asked if I had tried it. When I said “No” they asked if I was willing to try it, which I of course said “yes.” (When opportunities like these come my way while I’m abroad I must jump on them). So, in the middle of my tutor session the whole family and I went out to the 7-11, which are on every corner, and bought a carton of four black eggs and headed back to their house where I was able to try them with different soy sauces. The flavor was good. It was salty, but not too salty, and the soy sauces they had brought in a sweet flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed eating a Century Old Egg!
There are stories beyond stories that I could tell and write about for Taiwan. I could write about how I climbed a mountain straight up with just a rope to hold onto, and then walked the ridge where one misstep could have left me falling several feet down into a forest of trees.
I could go on for hours about the amazing friends that I met from around the world, or how the majority of the time I had to walk on the side of the road next to cars as scooters zoomed between me and the car. However, I have to go on to my next adventure in Estonia this Fall Semester 2018. Therefore, the stories will have to wait until January. Happy early Holidays!