Thoughts of a Canadian Exchange Student

Orientation and Bike Love

Posted in ARC, Bicycle, Exchange, Home, NTU, Outdoors, University by J on September 10, 2007

The Orientation

This orientation was put on by NTU. They had the International Student and International Exchange Student Orientation at the same time, I’m glad that the building was large enough. Lots of people but registration went off pretty smoothly.

I think I should have paid closer attention to the agenda I was sent because I felt it was quite a long orientation, but that probably had to do with the fact that I didn’t know what was coming next. Actually, just looking at the schedule again, it was rather short but felt long. The water in bubble tea cups (sealed on the top like bubble tea at home!) was cool.

It was mostly standard information like:

  • an introduction
  • some words from the Foreign Student Association
  • information for exchange students (which would have been much more useful way earlier on, for example, the ARC information)

However, the best thing about this orientation was seeing 2 of my friends from my university at home! I haven’t seen them since the exchange orientation back at home sometime in April. I was very happy. =)

The campus tour, I felt, was interesting but also rather useless for me because I’d already been around campus so much on my bike already that seeing it again felt redundant. (Despite this, I still manage to turn down the wrong roads fairly often. How does this ever happen??)

The reception dinner was the best part. The food was very, very good, well, what I could eat of it. The buffet was disorganized, so there was a huge swarm towards the food that made it difficult to get much of anything at all. It was a totally Western style dinner, but the most memorable thing about the food was the pizza. Somehow, the pizza was quite different and beats any pizza at home! It was sweet and salty and just a bunch of stuff that I’ve never had on a pizza before, but I forget what exactly was on it, sorry.

After!

My Bike

After dinner, my most favourite part was riding back to the dorms on my bike. With 3 people on it. You can see my bike in an earlier post. Anyways. One of my friends from my university came up with the idea with having the three of us from my university ride back in the dark. Okay. *lets breath out*

It actually worked!

One pedaled, the other stood on the back (which is normal) and I sat on the crossbar in between the pedaler. That was such fun! Too bad my friend’s legs gave out afterwards… well, the legs got really tired, is all. So, we walked back.

Ack! We had no one to take a picture of us. Tai kelian (太可憐).

However, that’s not the end of the story.

After, to send my friend back to Gongguan, we used my bike. With my friend pedaling. With someone on the back. For the first time. Oh. My. Gosh.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

We lost balance fairly quickly and crashed into the wall just outside the guard station by NTU’s back gate where the guards were watching us. Aiyah! They laughed at us for our silliness, well, I do admit it was funny. To remember this night of new biking (3 on one bike and crashing into a wall), I got a nice scrape on the back of my calf from when we hit the wall. I don’t think it’ll scar, though. Hopefully.

I think I’m kind of easy to break. Just a little bit. Booo… and that was the end of Orientation Day! (Notice that Orientation Day is just about equal to My Bike? This means something like that Orientation was just as important as something that shouldn’t be considered so important. Whatever =P.)

MRT Easy Card & an Update on the ARC

Posted in ARC, Exchange, Miscellaneous, Transportation by J on September 9, 2007

MRT Easy Card & an Update on the ARC

Hm, a quick post here. I finally got a MRT Easy Card as a result of having a student id card. Yay! I don’t have to use those tokens anymore. I just have to swipe the card now and worry about refilling it later. No more scrambling for change! (Well, you could use bills too, but change is much heavier.)

Also, I’ve gotten my ARC! Double yay! All I had to do was go to the National Immigration Agency and go to their pick-up window. Well, I forgot to bring my receipt, but I still got it anyways. You just have to be nice to the people behind the counter and hope that they’ll be nice to you too. =)

So! Basically, all my administrative work is done now. All I have left is to open a bank account. Not bad, not bad!

Getting a Cell Phone and the ARC

Posted in ARC, Chinese, Exchange, Miscellaneous, Phone, Taiwan by J on August 31, 2007

As a foreigner, it’s a bit harder to get a cell phone in Taiwan because you need a bunch of identity cards to get a SIM card. Despite that, it’s not impossible (bring someone who knows Mandarin! I brought my volunteer, or rather, my volunteer brought me). I got a SIM card with my passport and a secondary identification card even though they ask for the ARC (Alien Resident Card).

So, a form or so and 300 NT later, I was now the new proud owner of a cell phone that worked in Taiwan! The 300 NT is for the prepaid plan at Chunghwa Dianxin (中华电信 / 中華電信). I don’t know about the contract plan, but I think that may be harder to get than the prepaid plan. Also, you have to sign up for two years usually, but I heard that you can sign up for one.

The ARC bit wasn’t too bad. Just go to the right building, I forget which, take a number, fill out the form, bring your passport, pictures, student ID / admission letter (this will work if you don’t have a student ID yet), 1000 NT and wait. If you don’t have photocopies of your passport, there’s a machine there that you can use. When it comes to your turn, after checking through all the forms, you’ll be told to come back a week later to pick up the ARC, and that’s it! Hmm, the building’s not too bad to find because there’s a lot of foreigners that come in and out of it. Make sure that you bring someone that knows Mandarin for this part because it’s difficult to do if you don’t know Mandarin…