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Date: 2016/11/04

Taipei City Tour - Exchange Students and NTU Buddies

Building the future from understanding the past

  • The Paiwan spirit pillar on display at the Museum of Anthropology.

    An old house on Dihua Street.

It was two o’clock in the afternoon, and with that came heavy rains. However, rain could not stop us from our goal of exploring the city of Taipei. Our adventure began on a rain-soaked bus towards the first destination of our adventure.

The first stop on the Taipei tour was the Beimen (北門) MRT station area. Our NTU buddies introduced the famous Taipei sites and scenery to our recently arrived exchange students, providing them a Chinese language lesson about Taiwanese food and getting them excited about the rest of the tour. And then we proceeded to the first real stop of the tour, Yongle Market (永樂市場).

Since the Japanese colonial period, Yongle Market has served as the biggest textiles and retail clothing market in Taipei. Our exchange students milled about the market and checked out the various types of clothing on display. From there, we proceeded to the Xia Hai Temple (霞海城隍廟). We explained the various temple worship traditions here in Taiwan, such as praying, burning paper money, and the usage of offerings. Though these traditions were said to be routine for us, many exchange students found them to be completely new experiences. Walking along Dihua Street (迪化街), we passed by many Chinese herbal medicine stores and tea shops. Exchange students shared the different ways in which they use the same ingredients in their own countries and cuisines.

The last stop was the Ri Xing Type Foundry (日星鑄字行), which is an old production center for Chinese block-print typography. Here, small blocks are milled for use in printing traditional Chinese characters on paper, an art that is rapidly being lost in the age of computing but preserved here for future generations to see. We explained the meaning of different Chinese words to exchange students, as well as symbols for different numbers in Chinese and their intrinsic meanings in Chinese culture.

After a half-day of touring Taipei City, we were all tired, but the smiles on the exchange students’ faces showed that they had enjoyed the experience. This tour was offered as an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for Chinese culture as well as the local culture. Learning is said to be an endless journey in life, and we hope that such a tour will be just one of many memorable experiences that exchange students will have during their time in Taiwan.

This article was originally featured in NTU e-Newsletter (Issue 1280) written by Wan-Yun Wu (吳宛芸). Click HERE to access original article (10/12/2016).

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