Chinese Club trip lets students explore Taiwan


Photo courtesy of Mu You

Over Spring Break, the Chinese Club visited Taiwan.

Bringing a new appreciation to Chinese culture, the Chinese Club at West Essex traveled to Taiwan this past Spring Break. Traveling throughout the entire country, the club was able to experience the culture of Taiwan as they discovered new cities each day and took in the unfamiliar country with open arms.

The club was in Taiwan from April 7 to April 16, and had the opportunity to visit Taipei, Keelung, Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Hsinchu. The students said they made many memories as they walked the streets and took in the beautiful views of the shore and mountains.

In Taipei, the capital city filled with famous night markets, students tried authentic delicacies such as bubble tea. Not only did they love experiencing the cities, singing on the bus and spending time together was another highlight of the trip.

“It was really fun going to all the different places,” sophomore Kiersten Yang said. “After completing everything on the itinerary that specific day, we had free time and we could walk around, so we went to the malls or night markets. At the night markets, there were food stands everywhere, so we ate every time.”

Mu You, adviser of the Chinese Club and Chinese National Honor Society, said the trip was very eye-opening and brought a lot of fun to the club. She felt that it had been easy to travel as a group around the cities, and it brought new cultural ideals to the students.

“Everything was perfect and we had a lot of fun,” You said. “It was just like China because people there use traditional Chinese characters, not like mainland China. The people are very friendly and helpful.”

The students even visited a high school that was completely unlike schools in the United States. The classrooms looked very different and had lots of facilities and high-tech equipment. The Chinese Club students were able to attend all core subject classes and even dance and cooking classes with the Taiwanese students. They truly experienced a day in the life of a student who goes to school in Taiwan.

Due to COVID-19, the last time the Chinese Club visited China was in spring 2019.  This year, the club finally had the opportunity to travel back to Asia as a result of the restrictions being lifted.

“We got to go because they always kept asking me,” You said. “It’s very important for us to not only learn things in the classroom, like language process, but also go through authentic culture if you are learning a target language.”

The unlimited beauty of the island made this trip unforgettable, club members said. From the staggering mountains to the sea, Taiwan was charming to all of the students. Taiwan is certainly diverse, home to cityscapes and natural wonders. The beauty is breathtaking to all visitors.

“Taiwan was so fun,” Yang said. “The food there was so good, and the stuff in Taiwan is generally cheaper, the clothes are nice and the people are friendly; the different shopping districts and night markets vary in size but equally have good things. Taiwan taught me a new appreciation for what we have here.”

The amazing trip to Taiwan brought an authentic, special and different view of culture into the students’ perspectives and they were able to explore what real China is like and how to communicate with the people in a genuine way.