There is a theme of themes in Taiwan. Shopping areas are organized by theme, and restaurants are known by their brand. You can find numerous electronics shops and a five-story building dedicated to computers, cameras, cell phones, videogames, and their respective accessories on Bade Road. For everything related to cameras, Boai Road has been the popular location for over forty years. But if you’re looking for a professional photographer instead, then the streets around Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall offer many options. The themes don’t stop here—the busiest MRT stations in Taipei all have their own art installations, galleries, or murals designed by different artists. Even different cities in Taiwan have their own local specialty, whether it is a specific dish like oyster pancakes or the regional dessert for which that region has been made famous (such as the cow tongue cookies in Yilan or the many peanut candies of Jinmen). Taiwan is a collage of different areas, districts, shops, restaurants, and historical sites that have developed unique defining characteristics and distinct identities. There is a ubiquitous theme—found all over the island—that is quickly gaining momentum and manifesting itself in new ways.
Author: Teagan Adamson 艾婷安
Coming to Taiwan, I knew that not only would I be able to conduct advanced cancer therapy research, but also I would have many opportunities to improve my Chinese. I didn’t realize how hard performing both of these tasks simultaneously was going to be. During my graduate studies, I took a break from studying Chinese so it was a little rusty upon my arrival, and I was relatively shy when prompted to speak. After a few weeks in Taiwan, my Chinese quickly rose to the level of comfortable conversation and problem solving, mostly as a result of the classes I was taking a few times a week. Everyone in my lab is required to speak English – and because finding time to do homework isn’t easy when I could be out enjoying Taipei’s rich culture, I’ve relied on some of my other interactions instead. Everyday life has afforded me plenty of practice; before long I could order coffee like a pro and crack jokes with the locals, but I was still looking for ways to improve my level. Luckily, I stumbled across some great opportunities that have transformed my stay in Taiwan, and given me the time to study Chinese