If Thailand is the land of a thousand smiles, Taiwan has got to be the land of a thousand welcomes.
I’ve been in Taipei for three days now and I’m continuously blown away by the irrepressible warmth of the city and the people. From the student volunteers who met me at Tao Yuan International Airport to the helpful storekeepers who have to put up with my terrible Chinese, everyone I’ve met had megawatt smiles permanently affixed to their faces!
Campus tours, orientation, registration, shopping for daily necessities, making new friends, visiting Shilin Night Market and Ximending; the past three days have been a whirl of activity. And although classes only start next Monday, as a true blue SMU student I’ve already spent a fair bit of time on campus, even paying the National Taiwan University library a visit!
If you think the mugging in SMU’s library is intense, wait till you see how the Taiwanese students study. The library was filled with students hunched over their laptops or textbooks, their faces scrunched up in concentration. So much so that I felt their supremely annoyed stares upon me whenever I made any noise.
Perhaps that’s why the rest of the campus looks like an idyllic beach resort; with lush greenery, towering palm trees and winding bicycle trails, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve mistakenly stumbled upon a holiday resort.
Pretty amazing, huh?
The palm trees are one of the university’s symbols, having been planted since the days of Taihouku Imperial University, the predecessor of National Taiwan University. Today, they stand guard along the Royal Palm Boulevard, stretching from one end of the campus to the main library.
I haven’t had the time to explore the whole campus yet, but from the three hours it took to complete the campus tour, saying the campus is huge would be an understatement. I can already imagine myself entering the wrong lecture theater and exiting in embarrassment a good half an hour later and I guess I better stop here because my thoughts can get eerily prophetic.
Still, I’m super excited for classes to begin and will definitely be writing about them! Till then, xoxo :)