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Catalina Bedoya

Life in Kaohsiung

By Catalina Bedoya
(Attended in Spring 2022)



Upon arrival in Taiwan, I was hit with a shockwave of fear. I was in a new country alone with just a suitcase and a mind full of ambition. Determined to face anything in my way, yet so excited for the journey ahead.

I made my way to the south of Taiwan - Kaohsiung and underwent quarantine. During quarantine I would stare out the window for hours, planning in my head the places I want to visit, the food I want to eat, and the things I want to do. It felt so unreal to finally be in a place I’d worked hard for. When the quarantine was over, the first thing I did was locate a breakfast spot. I ordered 燒餅夾蛋(pancake egg),油條(fried dough), and soybean milk, a very traditional breakfast. It definitely lived up to the hype.

My first semester at Wenzao

I attend Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages and take Chinese Mandarin courses at their Chinese Language Center (CLC). Prior to starting the semester, every student takes a placement exam to be placed in the correct class level. My classmates come from very diverse backgrounds, German, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indonesian, etc. Therefore I learned alot about their country of origin as well as learning Taiwanese culture.

Besides the typical Chinese Language class, every other Wednesday CLC holds cultural events for students to participate in. One was learning 書法 (Chinese calligraphy), and we also had a singing contest!

My classmates and I grew a strong bond in just a short three months. We would go on mini trips in the weekends, have dinner together after class, and helped each other improve our chinese! You truly find the best individuals in the HuaYu BEST program. Even when we all go to our respected countries, our connection and communication won’t ever die down.

One of the best parts about attending Wenzao, is the food! Outside campus there is streets of food stands, and restaurants that are open till 1am. You definitely can relax after a long day of class in one of the many milk tea shops around! It is also a great place to meet local Taiwnese students. I have made countless Taiwanese friends simply by asking them where their favorite spot is near campus. Taiwanese are really friendly and actually hope to befriend foreigners, I suggest taking the plunge forward in approaching people, you may never know who you’ll meet and the adventures you’ll have with them.

My Trip So Far

In Kaohsiung, I’ve travelled to a variety of places, including Dragon Tiger Tower, Lotus Lake, Cijin Beach, Dream Mall, and many more. Travelling around the city could be a hassle with the public transportation, but even during those annoying times, you appreciate the beauty of Kaohsiung, from the way locals interact with one another, to the golden hour that hits perfectly in an alleyway, to even the smell of stinky tofu. You definitely can’t take anything for granted here, even the small things feel so big, and you feel like you’re still in a dream.

That’s how I’ve been feeling so far in Taiwan, and it has only been three months. I look forward to what the next year has ahead for me, and I am very excited to travel the rest of Taiwan, meet more friends, and try more food!