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Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Taiwan Experience

About Taiwan

In the beginning, even the simplest tasks can be a chore. You may find yourself wondering, "How do I get to the post office when I can't even read the street signs? And once I'm there, how do I ask for ten airmail stamps?" Fortunately, many Taiwanese speak at least a little English and before long you will feel comfortable in your new home. Living in Taiwan. you will have the opportunity to participate in many aspects of Chinese life. Your contact with parents, students and friends will broaden your understanding of the people and the culture. Classes in Mandarin, calligraphy and t'ai chi-chuan are readily available. If you are interested in seeing the Taiwan countryside or in meeting more people outside the city, you can easily take a short trip to the mountains or the beach. Travel around Taiwan is convenient and inexpensive.

To read more about the culture and experience of living in Taiwan, please visit the Travel in Taiwan Monthly web site.

About Tainan City

ALC is located in the southern city of Tainan, about four hours south of Taipei. Tainan is the oldest city in Taiwan and the most traditional of the large cities. It was the capital of Taiwan from 1663 until 1895, the time of the Japanese occupation. Tainan is full of places of historical interest. These include Anping Fort, the site of Koxinga's defeat of the Dutch invaders, and Confucius Temple, the oldest of its kind in Taiwan.

Although Tainan has a population of about 620,000 people, it retains a small town flavor. The people here are very friendly and being a westerner you will receive plenty of stares and "Hello's". The Chinese people have a great deal of respect for foreigners, and you may find that they insist on treating you like a guest. You will often receive invitations to see the sights of Taiwan or to go out for a Chinese meal.

You can easily get around Tainan on a bicycle or motorbike. The local university is about ten minutes from ALC and getting from one end of the city to another takes only thirty minutes by motorbike.

The Weather

Tainan is situated just below the Tropic of Cancer. Summer weather is hot and humid with temperatures in the 80's and 90's. In October, the weather gradually begins to cool off. The coldest months of the year are January and February. Buildings in Taiwan contain no heating, so a warm sweater and jacket are necessary then.

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