I started my Thursday morning at the Bank of Taiwan. Time to open a bank account! My stipend from Fulbright will now go directly into my very own Taiwanese bank account!! I have a check book and an ATM card now! Very exciting. Luckily I had Kelly (our super amazing program coordinator) with me to help me fill out all of the Mandarin bank paperwork. Opening accounts for everyone took longer than expected (my two roommates didnt even have a chance to open theirs!), so Kelly sent everyone to the train station, but I was last so I got to go with Kelly on the back of her scooter to the train station. It was really fun!! Way more fun to be with someone who knows what theyre doing than to drive myself for sure. We got on the train to Nan-Ao, about thirty minutes away. Nan-Ao is absolutely beautiful. It is where aboriginal tribes of Taiwan live, so it is full of really interesting cultural elements that we dont get in Luodong or Yilan City. We traveled there to visit six aboriginal schools. Three people will get to teach there this year!
The schools had a lot of really cool elements that no other school had offered…things like origami club, botanical gardens, road running, river tracking, weaving and mountain climbing. They were really conscious of the nature surrounding them and worked to bring it into the curriculum, which I really love. The other really cool thing about these schools is the students are aboriginal, so they not only are learning English, but they speak their own aboriginal languages. I wish I could learn their language, but I think I better stick to mandarin for now!!
Our trip to Nan-Ao, marked the end of school tours. I have seen all 26 schools and it is time to make my decision as to where I will spend my year as a Fulbright grantee. That’s why I’m behind on blogging, sorry everyone! I have been taking time to sit and think about what schools I want to preference and why. What I put as my preference is not at all a done deal…it’s up to our coordinators and the county government to decide our placements…but our opinions do play a part, so it’s a big decision!! Every school is truly impressive and I know I would be so happy at any one, so while I have spent a lot of time thinking about my preferences, I know it will all work out fine in the end. I cannot wait until Thursday when we find out!!!! (: Let my year living (and working) abroad truly begin!