By Michael Ke
After the first month, everything is gradually getting on track. My daily routine begins with waking up at around 8 or 9. Then I usually try to have a quick breakfast. After that, I welcome my day full of classes with open arms. I have classes every morning, which makes me have a more regular life schedule. Since my last class usually finishes at 3, that means I still have plenty of time to have extracurricular activities or explore the city. There is great difference of course arrangement between Taiwan and the US. In Taiwan, when it comes to a three-credit hour course, we always finish all three hours at once. In that case, we have to take the class from 9 to 12, or from 13 to 16. Sometimes it is quite difficult to maintain concentration throughout the entire course. But the good thing is, we are able to finish all modules at once as well, which makes the class material easier to remember. The course arrangement in the US, on the other hand, is more like the format of high school in Taiwan. I have exactly the same schedule every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Meanwhile, there is another routine on Tuesday and Thursday. The best thing about separated-day class is that a fifty-minute lecture is much easier to focus on. Thus far, I am quite used to the American college style.
As I mentioned above, since my last class is over pretty early, there is plenty of time for me to explore around the campus or even the city. I spend most of the time in the library because it is the most appropriate place to be when you have tons of assignments. The Charles Library has beautiful architecture with great equipment. When it comes time that I have assignments due, I often stay up late in the library. The other choice for me to study in is the Student Center South. Compared to the main Student Center, the south section is much quieter and cozier as well. Accordingly, it’s safe to say that the Charles Library and the Student Center South are my second homes.
Besides the class arrangement, there are other differences between Taiwanese and American students. For example, I found that once class is over, the students always leave the classroom in a speedy way, eager to rush to their next commitment. The efficiency of packing is beyond my imagination. Moreover, I observed that Americans are really not fans of the umbrella. Whether it’s a snowy or a rainy day, Americans always embrace mother nature. I once asked my friend why Americans seldom use the umbrella. He replied to me with a surprised face as if he had no words. In addition to American culture, the other international exchange students taught me some lessons as well. One memorable experience is that Korean friends told me that almost every Korean has their own Myers-Briggs personality type (MBTI) result. It’s an introspective self-report questionnaire indicating psychological preferences. What’s more interesting, they even guessed my result right before I finished the test.
All in all, I do enjoy experiencing different cultures, and that is the reason why people travel or study abroad. It has been nothing but a great adventure so far and I can’t wait to explore more.