Taiwan was my choice number one this season, because I wanted to try and feel a whole new culture in a country where you are unable to read signs but still with very good level of health care. I was placed in Taoyuan which is bit further from Taipei, eventhough in exchange conditions they write it is in Taipei. My journey started with a long flight via Dubai to Taipei international airport, where 3 of my cps were already waiting for me with a huge sign with my name and country flag. They were very nice, helped me withdraw money and buy me a sim card with unlimited internet access for whole month.
On the first evening they invited me for a dinner in local place with hotpots, which I have never heard about before, but was very eager to try new food in a foreign country. Of course I was unable to choose because the menus are usually written only in chinese, so they chose for me. It tasted almost good, was too big, involved different sorts of meats, veggies, egg, milk, pork blood cake and other specialties. After we tried a very traditional jelly thing, which basically doesnt have any taste. Food in Taiwan is very special, nothing like our asian cousine. After first two weeks I was little desperate from the food, cause everything tastes the same,it is noodles or rice over again and again, doesnt really have a taste or there are disgusting sounding specialties which you want to try but one bite is more than enough. I will mention at least some: pork blood cake mentioned already above, stinky tofu which gives smell to almost all the streets there, caramelized tomatos, fried chicken in spices, snakes served with their bile, turtles, horse sausages. On the other hand they have delicous dumplings, bean curds, beef noodle soups, bubble teas, all the fruits and many others. Once you get used to the sort of special none taste taste of Taiwan you will start loving it and that is what happened to me after those two weeks of trying different meals, so no worries it is going to be fine J
The accomodation was very disappointing there was mold all over, no proper windows super humid and hot, water leaking into my wardrobe on my clothes, it was right next to hospital though. I got a really shitty bedroom and started to caugh after two nights there, so I complained to my cp asking for another room, however she arranged a different dorm for me on the same day, which was very considerate of her. The dorm was bit further from hospital but was very clean in beautiful surroundings. After I visited some of other exchange students in their rooms I found out it was especially my room which was so devastated, so no worries.
In the hospital you only observe, doctors dont usually have the time for explaining, so it feels like advanced course in chinese. However I have heard about other supervisors which really took the effort to show and explain everything they could to their students. It also depends on their english level.
If you expect a super party exchagne, dont. We went to a night club in Taipei once, spent a lot of money (20 euros for entrance, each shot 10 euros) and then once in tequilla bar near our hospital in Taoyuan. But I know other exchange people from Taipei found some nice night bars where as a student you a have a free entrance and drinks are all included, so you probably need to ask around.
Overall the exchange was a very interesting experience. I met some pretty amazing people and had a lot of fun, learned a lot about their culture and got the chance to travel a bit too 🙂