and there she goes, again (how I moved to Taiwan on a whim, part two.)
As I wrote in my last installment of this strange journey, starting school in Taiwan isn’t something I could have possibly imagined doing even a month ago.
Now, I’ve got a whole future to construct, a whole new game plan to map out. It’s easy and fun to log onto Skype & hear the envious exclamations from friends: No way, I can’t believe you did that! That sounds so fun, that’s totally insane, but I bet you love it!
I do love it, but at the same time, I am insanely scared. Currently, I’m enrolled in a rather…mediocre institution in Taipei. Though I am eternally grateful that they decided to receive my application more than a month and half after the closing deadline, thus enabling me to stay in Taiwan rather than returning to the US, I know that, as things stand, I’m unable to stay there for long. Though currently boasting the most well-developed international/English programs in Taiwan and the distinction of being the first American-accredited university in all of Asia, Ming Chuan University, even now, is looked down upon for its past as an all-girls school known for producing two things: good secretaries & good wives.
what that one guy said in that one cab (adventures at ming chuan, for now.)
I was having another life-affirming, 10-minute conversation with a chatty cab driver when I mentioned that I was enrolling in school in Taipei. Upon ascertaining that I had moved from a school in New York (which he assumes to be NYU, as that’s the only school in New York recognized by anyone in Taipei) to come to Ming Chuan, he nearly choked on his betel-nut, exclaiming: What, honey, did you meet a rich banker’s son in Taipei? Because that’s the only time I’d recommend a girl like you to go to Ming Chuan. Otherwise, you’re better off driving a cab, like me!
I’ve heard various things from friends & family in Taipei, about Ming Chuan. But in the end, I didn’t move here to get a stellar education. I was talking to my dad about my worries and he promptly dispensed some good advice. “Stephanie,” he said, “nothing in your life will ever be perfect. You’ve just got to weight the pros & cons, the sacrifices & the gains, and make your choice from there. It’ll never be exactly the way you want it to be, and the sooner you learn that, the happier you’ll be.”
I’m not sure how going to Ming Chuan University will be. I visited it on the first day of the Chinese New Year break. It has a breathtaking view of the eastern side of the city, and by the time I climbed all the way up to the communications building where my classes are to be (oh, did I mention that Ming Chuan is built entirely on the side of a mountain?) the sun had hit the city and the entire school at just the right angle, flooding it with light. Whether Ming Chuan be my shining city on a hill, or merely another prison, like Fordham, I can’t possibly yet know. But in the end, for $900 per semester (yes, sir. 900 bucks. one semester), the classes I want in English, the chance to live in the city I adore & easy access to the beautiful, beautiful world (Sri Lanka? Tokyo? Bali?); I suppose that it’s a risk I’ll be wiling to take.