A month ago, Amber Thorp, an HRVHS junior, traveled halfway across the world to Taiwan. We contacted her and asked her about her trip so far.
Q: What got you interested in exchange?
A: In middle school I knew I wanted to travel and study language so I searched around online but the only things I found were extremely expensive or for high school students, so I had to wait. Halfway through freshman year my mom found information about Rotary Youth Exchange on their website
Q: How have you transitioned? Was it easy?
A: Honestly I don’t feel homesick at all because I have a great host family, other exchange students, and classmates are supporting me. So far I can’t say I’ve experienced culture shock. So many things are different but I haven’t been made uncomfortable by anything yet. Rotary told us culture shock can come a bit later in exchange, though.
Q: How would you compare learning in Taiwan to learning in the US?
A: It’s very different. Instead of the students moving from class to class, the students stay in one classroom while the teachers move around. There’s a lot of parental pressure but I think the students are also self motivated. You don’t go to the high school nearest to you, you take a test and go to a high school that suits your level of knowledge.
Q: What’s the biggest difference culturally between Taiwan and the US?
A: In Taiwan you can call people who aren’t related to you uncle, aunt, sister or brother, based on how old they look. I think it’s a great example of how friendly Taiwan is.
Q: How do you think your exchange will affect your future?
A: I’m learning the most spoken language in the world and I will have so many opportunities because of that. Aside from all the things I will learn about culture and life I will have a ton of friends all over the world.
To keep up with Amber and her exciting adventures in Taiwan, check out her Facebook page: My Way to Taipei.