Daily lessons in Taiwanese culture and history. Weekend trips to Taipei. And a four-week course in Taiwan street food.
A group of 20 St. Joseph’s College students participating in the institution’s month-long exchange program with Tzu Chi University in Taiwan are making the most of their time in the island nation.
“In just the first two weeks, we’ve immersed ourselves in the food, art and nature in eastern Taiwan,” said Elizabeth Zollinger, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics and director of undergraduate research at SJC Brooklyn. “We visited the Taiping Mountain National Forest for stunning views of the surrounding landscape, learned about local arts at the National Center for the Traditional Arts and hit up the Luodong Night Market for a sampling of Taiwanese street food.”
In the classroom, SJC students have taken credit-bearing courses on Chinese culture and history. They’ve paired their time in the classroom with valuable experiential learning, visiting local Buddhist temples and practicing meditation exercises.
Time in Taipei
The group’s weekend trips have included a journey to Taipei, where students sampled the local cuisine at Taipei’s most famous and largest night market, visited a modern Zen Buddhist temple and got the chance to see Taipei from the observatory deck of Taiwan’s tallest building, Taipei 101.
“Our daily courses were specifically chosen for us to understand various aspects of Taiwanese and Chinese culture,” said Sudesh Sukhoo, a senior at SJC Brooklyn. “We were interested in our courses because we were able to experience these customs first-hand. From making my own dumplings to visiting Buddhist temples, I genuinely felt that I have experienced Taiwan.”
What’s Left to do
During the remaining two weeks in Hualien, SJC students will continue to learn about Taiwanese culture, particularly how these cultural influences delve into the disciplines of psychology and religion.
“The amount of gratitude I have for Tzu Chi University and their welcoming staff and students is immense,” said Nicole Stamatiades, a sophomore at SJC Long Island. “Through this opportunity, I have been able to immerse myself in a new culture and acquire invaluable lessons that I will carry with me forever.”