Choosing to study in a different country that you’ve never been to is already stressing enough, so choosing a country that’s literally on the other side of the earth just adds even more. Luckily, I have some pretty good roommates and teachers who understand and empathize with the everyday struggles we go through. Because of this, I’ve been able to find a couple of ways to clear my mind when days get monotonous.
Taipei is a very large city that was built for walking, so my first and favorite way to de-stress is to go on walks. Whether that’s with my friends or alone, I feel much better after getting some fresh air and seeing all the stores and restaurants near my apartment that I can eventually visit. There are also plenty of temples in and around Taipei that offer me plenty of opportunities to get in some steps. Most are in the mountains with hilly terrain and have hundreds of stairs inside, so they are the perfect areas to visit for exercise if hitting the gym isn’t your cup of tea.
Another plus of living in Taipei that helps to alleviate some stress, is seeing all of the adorable pets that people have. Pet culture here is very different than where I’m from in America. Most people here tend to have smaller dogs, but every now and then their are some large dogs that you don’t expect to see. Because of Taiwan’s hot and humid weather, most people tend to buy carriages for their dogs to ride in and get fresh air instead of letting them walk on the hot asphalt. This means my roommates and I get to regularly ask people to pet their pups. Not only are pets abundant in the city, but it is also very common to see temple dogs, which are just random dogs who do not belong to anyone, but the community around the temple tends to the dog and they occasionally live in the temple.