Tips to Surviving MCU (by Yahny)
When you first arrive at Ming Chuan, the first thing you will see is the stairs and at that point you will begin questioning your life when you realize they never end, but don’t worry, it gets better over time. We go to a very special university, more than all the others in Taiwan, and here are a few tips to surviving Ming Chuan and saving your sanity:
1.Attendance is mandatory and affects your overall grade. Go to class (even if all you do is sleep in it, but don’t)!
2.Always be early, pay attention in ALL CLASSES and study every day. Trust me, you will thank me for that in the end.
3.Be very nice to your teachers. You may need them for some extra credit down the line. If they begin to laugh though, that’s not a good sign for you.
4.If you have an 8 a.m. class, don’t say you will go at 9 because when you think of all those stairs you will end up not going.
5.If you are not a light sleeper, set about five to eight alarms and refrain from pressing the snooze button. Get up and go!
6.The stairs are your new best friends, but the hill is faster and better.
7.Don’t run up the staircases if you are late for class, especially if it is raining. That’s a hospital trip waiting to happen.
8.Always attend P.E even if you don’t want to, or else you will end up doing it for four years instead of three.
9.Come Christmas time, OISS (Office of International Student Service) gives free chocolate, so take advantage of that.
10.Try to go to one event held by OISS. It’s free and you get your money back at the end.
11.If you live in the Taipei dorms, cold water is now your friend, and so are your new roommates.
12.The school will be decorated every week by a department, so get used to flash mobs, weird drawings, performances, and seeing cartoon characters everywhere.
13.Midterms and finals are straight up like a military conference so always be on time. Follow all the rules and never look suspicious; the proctor most likely doesn’t speak English.
14.If you take a taxi up the hill it is $70NT. Don’t let the taxi driver hustle you into paying more or take you on a longer trip.
Missing home (by Isabelle)
“Don’t be that sad; it’s not like I’m dying.” That’s what I told my parents when we were saying goodbye for the fifth time. Don’t get me wrong – I was sad too, but I already cried a lot, so I was trying to be “strong” and pretend like everything was okay. And it was, until I arrived in Taiwan and realized how far I was from them…
Studying abroad is a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to learn from the real world by ourselves.
And one of the best things – you always find amazing people. And one of the worst things – you always miss amazing people. Whether it is your family or friends (or maybe a special person).
I would love to tell you step by step what you can do to suppress the homesickness you get when you come here. But actually, I cannot. Everyone deals with their feelings in a different way but, I’ll give you some tips to stop constantly thinking about your life back home.
1. Go outside: Explore!! Give yourself time to let your emotions flow and then get moving. Just crying over your pillow won’t make things better.
2. Eat something delicious: doesn’t matter if it’s Taiwanese cuisine, ice-cream, or food from your country, as long as you enjoy it and it makes you happy in that moment. This moment. The present.
3. Do some exercise: believe me, having nothing to do definitely messes your mind so go hiking (Elephant Mountain for example) or go for a run and let that energy boost light up your day.
4. Meet new people: Awesome people from all around the world is waiting for you to be their friend.Give them a chance.
5. Find something you love back home and do it here: it could be dancing, a church, soccer, a bakery or anything else that will give you that feeling of belonging.
6. And last but not least: focus on you studies: well… Not something that we all love to do every second of the day, but it really helps to keep your mind busy and you will thank yourself later because you won’t have the frustration of failing classes.
So, don’t you worry child. You’ll be okay and somehow you’ll end up enjoying life in Taiwan. Just as I did.
Tips for studying Mandarin (by Kristen)
Listen, listen, listen: You should always listen to people speaking Mandarin, whether it be your teacher or a friend or just people around you. The more you listen, the easier it is for you to remember the tones because you hear them so often. Over time, the tones will also come out naturally after hearing them so often.
Speak, and don’t be afraid: I always tell my friends who are afraid to speak English this: If you are speaking English and make a grammatical mistake or say a word wrong, no native speaker is going to laugh at you and criticize your English in their head. The exact same goes for trying to speak Mandarin to people. If you make a mistake, they will only try harder to try to understand what you are trying to say. You can always ask people for help as well. The more you speak, the better you will get.
Learning Characters: You have to see what works for you here. I know a lot of people who learn and memorize writing their Chinese characters differently. Some people try to make stories with each character so that they can memorize it. Other people try to look at all the radicals and connect them to the word. If not, repetition is key. Before a test, I used to take a blank sheet of paper and repeatedly write each character until I could do it by memory.
Flashcards: You can also make flashcards with the character on one side and the pinyin and/or meaning on the other side. This always helps me with recognizing the characters and helps with reading as well.
BE confident about yourself, BE social! (by Pamela)
Hello my beloved IC students! I know most of you reading this are freshman and some of course are from other years, but I understand that either you are new or already have more years in college, sometimes you feel you are “Socially Awkward” and let me tell you that it is all in your head. You are the one that decides where, when and who to be social with, and you have the power to change from shy to talkative if that is your wish. Sometimes we feel like being social is a matter of saying the right thing all the time and have a lot of right things to say in order to keep the flow in a conversation. But let me break that bubble for you! Being social means that you are confident enough to let other people listen to your opinion, to your silly jokes, to your sometimes dirty implies or even to your general nonsense. The moment you decide to let that door open, you will fear less and also more people are going to approach to talk to you. I am one of those people that believe that I am the one that creates or destroys my shelter against people and the moment I decide to destroy it and trust me, I will become more myself and less socially awkward.
You, as a human being, were born to socialize and meet people in order to complete yourself. And I invite you all to open up your mind to letting people in and talk nonsense with them, and doing nonsense, is not a matter of being a clown or not, is a matter of being your true self, that one that you are when you are between your family members or when you are with your best friend. You never know who is going to become important in your life if you just decide by looking at someone who is going to be interesting or not for you, share a few words, set up some topic into the conversation and see how it goes, any place, any time; it is all up to you. Believe me, this world is not for those who stay in corners thinking about what to say or what to do next, this world is for people who understand they are not perfect, that not always they will have something to say, but they are confident enough to try and meet new people, make new friends, new connections, new family, and most of all, a better self, YOU CAN DO IT. Remember; BE CONFIDENT about yourself, BE SOCIAL.
Love you all.