Before I’ll tell You about my impressions from the trip to Taiwan, I would like to thank The Headmaster for the opportunity to participate in this year’s Youth Ambassadors Exchange.
Thank you for your trust – despite the fact that I was not a student of this school at the time.
I would also like to thank Ewa, who accompanied me throughout the trip but also for the time we spent together here in Poland as we welcomed our Taiwanese visitors in Poland.
Ewa taking part in the Exchange for the second time knew everything about the Taiwanese culture therefore it was easier for us to travel together and than after returning to Warsaw it was easier to plan different activities for our guests.
But getting into the merits, I wanted to deliver You a report from the trip.
This year’s trip to Taiwan was my first solo trip abroad. And immediately a trip to the other side of the World. As soon as my Dad told me about the proposal I immediately thought it was something for me and I was very excited for it at the very beginning. Although I had to cancel my trip that I had in plans, nevertheless I decided with my parents that this opportunity must be necessarily considered – therefore I chose Taiwan!
From the very beginning I had a very positive attitude to this trip. The opportunity of being a guest of a Taiwanese family, spending some time with people my age living and learning in China seemed very attractive. I wanted to see how people live there, feel the atmosphere and culture so different from ours!
It turned out that Taiwanese people are very sensitive about calling them Chinese. It was also hard to admit that „officially” Taiwan is a province of PRC.
It was fantastic how the Taiwan side approached to the Exchange. It turned out that our contact with their country already begins here in Warsaw. Two weeks before our departure, a representative of Taiwan in Poland invited us to his office in the center of Warsaw. We talked about the Exchange, and we got some crucial information before leaving. The way they approached us really made me feel comfortable about the trip. You can see that they treat it very seriously and that they care about our comfort.
In Taipei we were greeted by a representative of the City Council right at the airport and from there we were taken to our hosts families.
The Taiwanese were all very careful about the organization of the whole exchange, at every step we could feel their warmth and seriousness with which they treat their tasks.
It is a pity that later as Candy and Augustus visited Poland we could not relay on a similar approach from the authorities of Warsaw. I hope that in subsequent exchanges of Young Ambassadors the authorities in Warsaw will change their attitude to our guests and the greetings could be much warmer.
The trip to Taiwan was 27 hours spent on planes and airports. My adventures began very early, at the airport in Warsaw, it turned out that there was no seat for me on the flight I bought a ticket for. The practice of selling more tickets than there are seats by big airline companies unfortunately ends up with a situation of this matter.
I somehow got the boarding passes before leaving to Amsterdam and everything was fine.
The first moments at the airport and my first time in Taipei was a real shock for me. I already visited plenty of countries – but nevertheless the Asian climate and culture made a big impression on me. It turned out that everything here is different than in Europe.
They came up with a very interesting idea – „EasyCard”. It could be used to pay in shops and for the public transport tickets.
They strictly obey the rules regarding the order and cleanliness of the public transport. For chewing a gum in the subway the fines were up to 600 zlotys!
Another interesting custom was the way people lined up on the escalator.
The left side of the stairs was reserved for people who want to go faster, and the right for those who were not in such a big rush.
Also, what I find interesting is that the traffic there is much more chaotic and somehow there seems to be a lot more people on the streets as well.
Many customs, completely acceptable in Taiwan seemed odd for me. From the things that they ate to all sorts of different activities that definitely caught me off guard.
Our two weeks in Taipei were very intense, the time went by really fast with everyday filled with new experiences. It was a completely different way of spending time for me! You can not compare time spent in a hotel with such a trip! Great atmosphere, international environment and full freedom in planning the time – properly „bundled” I got everything that I wanted to experience this summer!
Together with my host Augustus and the other participants of the exchange we visited many interesting places – and not just the typical tourist attractions, such as: Taipei 101, Shilin Night Market, National Palace Museum, Longshan Temple.
Thanks to our hosts – acting as local guides we also got the less popular but also very interesting places. Therefore, we experienced Taipei from the less touristy side. It would also not be a successful trip without hours of basketball games and fooling around.
I was really pleased with the fact that I could represent Poland, our culture and customs on the other side of the world! For Taiwanese people – from what I saw – we were kind of an attraction – many of them approached us spontaneously on the streets just to take pictures with us.
Before the trip to Taiwan I had some concerns connected with the attitude of my host family and the connection I will have with Augustus parents. Fortunately, my worries were completely unnecessary – everyone was very nice, positive and there were no problems with communication. I was pleased that Augustus had such a positive attitude to new discoveries, gladly we exchanged information about our countries and traditions. I did not think he would be interested in such details! I talked a lot a lot about our habits, traditions, culture – and vice versa – Augustus also proved to be well prepared in this issue, and he made sure to deliver me all the information I was curious about. It was really nice that we could take advantage of spending time together.
The number of new sensations I have experienced during the exchange, the new information I have gained is so vast that actually I am not able to share all of them with you in such a short time. I do not want to bore you with all the stories about our visit and walks Taipei.
You just have to experience that to know how fascinating such an exchange is (!!!)
so I think that if such an opportunity would appear I encourage you to participate in this exchange.
It’s a really great time with people from all over the world.
The combination of holiday attractions with gaining new experiences was great.
And also thanks to the international environment I also had the chance to know the habits of people from other countries who participated in the Exchange.
With many of them I still keep in touch and we are already thinking of another meeting!
Thank you all for your attention – I hope I delivered the information needed to encourage You to participate in the Exchange Program.