By Gaurav Gupta
Taipei, where I currently am, has been great so far. The school I attend is the top school in the country so people always seem impressed when I tell them I am studying there. Virtually every shop around the school offers students discounts with a school ID and taxi rides are extremely cheap. I am virtually the only person of Indian descent around and its funny getting looked at all day by random people. I have met some cool people from many European countries also studying abroad here!
One thing Taiwan is known for is the night markets. A bunch of small food stands set up in a crowded area serving who knows what! My friend who lives here took me to the most famous one, called Keelung night market. I tried random things like squid, oyster omelets, and dumplings! Of course no meal in Taiwan is complete without bubble tea, as it started here, so I had multiple cups of that as well.
Taipei is a fun place at night too. Aside from the night markets which stay open until 2am almost daily, there’s countless 24 hour restaurants and the streets never seem empty. Some clubs hold promotions, such as “foreigner Wednesdays” where foreigners can get in at a discounted rate. Its interesting to hardly see any foreigners in daily life, but a lot at events such as this. Clubs stay open until 4:30am usually.
One annoyance is the lack of people who can speak English though. I am lucky that my friend who came with me can speak Chinese because it would be difficult to get around. I have started to pick up random Chinese words and phrases and people have told me I have a Japanese accent when speaking Chinese! That is strange but I have been studying Japanese for over 2 years. I have met a lot of Japanese people here and they always seem shocked when I start speaking Japanese with them.