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Upper School Students Visit Taiwan

No sooner did Brearley close for the summer then a group of intrepid Mandarin students, accompanied by three faculty members, set out for the island of Taiwan. Their 11-day trip took advantage of the myriad of cultural opportunities afforded by this rich and historic country. 

The group spent the first part of the journey in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. They visited some of the more well known tourist sites, including Taiwan’s tallest tower “Taipei 101,” Longshan Temple, Zhongzheng Memorial Hall, the Confucius Temple and the National Palace Museum, home to many ancient treasures. They explored the Taipei Zoo, the Tamsui Fisherman’s wharf and Tamsui Old Street, a neighborhood known for its pedestrian areas and beautiful sunsets. 

The girls also toured Taiwan University, one of the top 100 universities in the world, and visited a Taiwanese boys school where they took Tai-chi and calligraphy lessons. The boys then escorted them to a butterfly museum and to a shopping area in the city center. Their visit gave students an inspiring glimpse into the daily lives of Taiwanese students, bridging connections and sparking curiosity. 

And of course, we can’t forget to mention the food—soup dumplings, congee, hot pot, all traditional Chinese foods. A visit to the Shilin night market turned into a scavenger hunt after interviewing vendors about the ingredients of various Taiwanese snacks. 

The group’s first stop outside of Taipei was Lukang, a town four hours away. They explored the Lukang Folk Arts Museum, savored a delicious and well-deserved local ice tea and strolled through the charming old streets. Then they went to one of the most famous tourist spots in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake, where they rode bicycles followed by a boat tour. Next, the girls hiked up Ali Mountain and rode on the Ali Forest Railway, one of the three top-ranked mountain-climbing railways in the world. After lunch, they went to Fengyuan Township, where they picked oysters and dug for clams. 

After Lukang, the group explored Taichung City. They went to the National Science Museum and then learned how to make their own sun cakes, the most famous pastry in Taiwan. Then it was on to Beipu where they learned how to prepare the Hakka indigenous Lei Tea.

Everyone returned home having had an immersive cultural experience, improving their Mandarin and creating new-found friendships. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience!

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