My journey begins at the Wills Roger World Airport in Oklahoma City. If you decide you want to study abroad while at OU, this will most likely also be the beginning point for your adventure. It’s a morning flight which means I have to wake up pretty early, but I’m used to this since I’ve been on earlier flights before. Besides, leaving my house at 5 am isn’t going to stop me from getting excited about something like study abroad. A quick bite for breakfast and I’m off to the gate for my departure!
After the (relatively) quick hop over to California, the next step is the long plane ride all the way to Taiwan. For some reason, flight time is longer going there than coming back. I’m pretty sure it has to do with wind directions and other physical phenomena. Maybe there’s a reason I decided to study engineering rather than meteorology like my Freshman roommate? It’s a 13-hour flight, so I make sure to enjoy the luxury of having unlimited legroom while in the San Francisco airport.
The thing that always gets me are the waves of heat (and humidity) that hit you when you arrive in Taiwan. Sure, the plane’s been designed with your comfort in mind, so you won’t feel anything until you actually step off the plane. That’s the first wave, and it’s followed by a good amount of walking and waiting in line for immigration. Something really cool that I forgot to take a picture of is a board right past the baggage claim area that has the word “Welcome” on it in at least 20 different languages. In case you’re wondering, the second wave hits you at the double doors of the main terminal.
There are so many things I could talk about in regards to how Taiwan is different from the US. I’ll most likely go into more detail on differences in future blogs. One thing that would definitely stand out to anyone arriving here for the first time: Scooters. They are everywhere, and if you walk to any major road the entire side is lined with parking for these small vehicles. In the photo below, you can see how popular this method of transportation is. It really makes sense since driving an actual car in a crowded city like Taipei can be a real hassle. If you look closely, there is an approximately equal abundance of scooters and signs, but I think the number of scooters might have still won this time.
I’ve settled into my dorm room and have gotten most of my paperwork and registration done for the upcoming semester here at NTU (National Taiwan University). Classes start on Monday so things will get really busy pretty soon. However, it turns out that we get next Thursday and Friday off because of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which means it’s going to be a relatively easy first week. Everybody here was working today on a Saturday since they are making up for missing two days next week. Good to know that a full work day over the week-end is not a regular occurrence!
Anyways, that’s it for my first blog. The next one will most likely have an update on how my first few weeks of classes went. See you guys then!