Tag Archives: learning Chinese

Week in Review in Photos: The Fruit and the Commute

Hey there folks, it’s hard to believe another week has veritably flown by!  This week was marked by the start of my Chinese class at Zheng Da– which included mind-blowing panic about my ability to speak, understand, and learn this fine language–some delicious meals, a trip to the Taipei IKEA and other adventures with my roommate, interesting new people, intense bus rides, and in just the last 2 days, Fulbright Orientation!  The latter was particularly exciting because it felt like a real kick-off to the year. And there are some amazing people doing research grants, teaching assistantships, and faculty exchanges.

Anyway, the majority of this week’s photo highlights can really be summed up by two categories: eating cool new Taiwanese fruit, and commuting to class and back! Continue reading

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Zai Zheng Da (政治大學)


I’m now a student at the Chinese Language Center of National Chengchi University! Talk about a mouthful. But calling it “Zheng Da” helps—short for Zheng Zhi (政治 Chengchi) Da Xue (大學 University)–and makes me feel so in the know around the Taiwanese academic circuit. (There’s also Shi Da, Tai Da, among other major universities around the city.) Last week, I spent a few days on campus—doing the fun orientation stuff, the tedious bureaucratic stuff, and just walking around and getting comfortable there. My Chinese class for foreigners, located in the International Building on “upper campus,” starts later today.

As for Zheng Da, I love it! The campus is near the MRT stop called Taipei Zoo, which is in the southeast corner of Taipei, so it’s much more rural than the middle of the city. Continue reading

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Week in Review in Photos

Hello, dear blog readers!  As I write this, I have finished my first full week in Taiwan. So far, I have found Taipei to be wonderfully accessible, vibrant, and welcoming. This week, I successfully moved into an apartment in Taipei where I will stay for a year during my Chinese language class and research fellowship. I registered for my class that will begin on Monday.  I’ve even made some friends, and have pushed myself to speak, listen, observe, and experience the world past my comfort zone.

So here’s a little week in review in some favorite photos not yet posted: Top Five Things that Have Made Life in Taipei Easier and Fun. Continue reading

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Language DOES Shape How I Think… I think

Photo by eSonic, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

To continue in the thread of learning languages– this time without eating– I read this interesting claim in the New York Times Magazine this week: While your native language, or langue maternelle, does not inhibit one’s understanding of the world, it may, shape it in subtle ways.  As Guy Deutscher, author of the article “Does Your Language Shape How You Think?”, argues, “If different languages influence our minds in different ways, this is not because of what our language allows us to think but rather because of what it habitually obliges us to think about.”

Is that so? Continue reading

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Learning Chinese: Fragrant Intestine with 9-Layer Tower

buying some sausages

Photo by ctsnow courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Blog readers, meet Eva.  She is my Taiwanese college roommate from Stanford, one of my best friends, and kind of a sister to me.  She and her family have been my cultural translators for Taipei and Taiwan (although she currently lives in Boston), and I will be referring to their help and guidance throughout my adventure.

She has also been a great language buddy with whom I’ve been practicing my burgeoning (and bumbling) Mandarin. And at the risk of turning this into a food blog, one of the most effective ways to learn Chinese vocabulary I’ve found is through discussing food!

So before I left, I asked Eva what her top 5 favorite Taiwanese foods are, that I must try when I arrived in Taiwan.  Her answers provided a great lesson in Chinese language and the fascinating etymologies of meaning that lie embedded in each combination of characters. Eva’s list of Taiwanese highlights was as follows:

1. Beef noodle soup- 牛肉麵 (niu rou mian)

2. Stir fried vegetables, in particular, watercress- 炒空心菜 (chao kong xin cai)

3. Potstickers- 鍋貼 (guo tie)

4. Grilled Sausage with Basil- 烤香腸和九層塔 (kao xiang chang he/han jiu ceng ta)

5. Stinky Tofu- 臭豆腐 (chou do fu) Continue reading

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