This fall my daily life will be taking a turn out of the ordinary, as I will be traveling halfway across the world, to the island of Taiwan. The island may be small, especially when considering that it will likely not take more than 4 hours to travel to any spot of the island. In fact, travel by high-speed trains enables you to go from the northernmost part of the island to the southern tip in one hour and a half. But be not fooled by its size, the island nurtures the spirit of a giant. Even though the island is densely populated, housing approximately 23 million people, the Taiwanese are known for being exceptionally welcoming to any outsider. This hospitality takes place in one of the most crowded places on earth. Additionally, Taiwan is famed for its natural beauty as the shores give way to towering, green mountains. Upon its discovery by Portuguese explorers in the 16th Century, the island was named Ihla Formosa, meaning “beautiful island”.
As you can see, I am preparing myself for quite an experience and I have the Bradenton Rotary Club (District 6960) to thank in giving me this amazing opportunity, through the Ambassadorial Scholarship. As a recipient, I will be acting as an ambassador of goodwill, working towards Rotary International’s goals of furthering international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries. During my three month stay, I will be living in the capital of Taipei, attending language classes at the Taipei Language Institute and meeting Rotary clubs around the country. On a day to day basis, I will be learning as much as I can about the Taiwanese culture, while at the same time, sharing my own perspective as a student from Florida.
I would like to give special recognition to my sponsor counselor, Ron Schneider and to my host counselor, Dennis Liao, which have been instrumental in the organization of this trip. I would also like to thank my host Rotary club in Taipei, Disrict 3480.