Below is a tentative itinerary for the program’s excursion to Taiwan. Note: This itinerary may change, depending on the needs of the student group and our assessment of the evolving coronavirus situation in Mainland China. We also wanted you to know that the students and on-site director Jesse Millett will be joined by two additional Dragons staff members in Taiwan, Luke Hein and Pei Yuan Chen.
PRINCETON BRIDGE YEAR – TAIWAN EXCURSION
NEW PERSPECTIVES: FROM CHINA TO TAIWAN 2 February 2020 – 27 February 2020
As the Princeton group transitions from China to Taiwan, our focus on cultural immersion and service will bring us into close contact with a series of local organizations and contacts. We will continue to build on our program and time in China by understanding the relationship between Taiwan and China and how this relationship impacts culture, politics, and the daily lives of Taiwanese people. This aspect of our program is a holistic cultural immersion with a strong academic focus on the impacts of development on Taiwan’s rich cultural, historical and ecological heritage. In addition to taking and creating space for processing the move from China to Taiwan, students should expect to make the most out of the new experience. We will be deeply engaged with local people and place working towards a greater understanding of self, developing increased capacity for cultural understanding, and exploring notions of service.
2 FEBRUARY 2020 – SUNDAY ARRIVAL AND TRANSITION DAY
Upon arriving in Taiwan, the group will settle in and be introduced to local support staff. The arrival day will focus on taking time to process and reflect on the journey. We will move slowly and check in with ourselves, get introduced to Taiwan, and have briefings around risk management. The group will review in-country risks and how to manage these risks. They will discuss differences between China and Taiwan and end the day with a ceremony to acknowledge travel and transition, celebrate the arrival in a new place, and connect with new partners.
3 FEBRUARY 2020 – MONDAY ORIENTING TO TAIWAN
Orientation to Taiwan
As we move into our first full day in Taiwan, we will spend time orienting ourselves to Taipei city and framing our upcoming new experiences. We will establish group and individual goals and expectations, and set intentions for the weeks ahead. Our morning will focus on group activities and looking ahead at how we can bring our experience in China to this new experience and considering what might set these two experiences apart from each other.
Visit to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, which is situated in a large park and gathering area where students will be able to see people doing martial arts. The most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan, the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall was opened in 1980 in honor of the former President of the Republic of China, General Chiang Kai Shek. Students will learn about Taiwan and China relations and former Japanese occupation. We will also do some orientation activities here in the park.
Visit to Shi-Da Night Market. The main market street is Longquan Street (龍泉街), running parallel to Shi-Da Road (師大路). Shi-Da is a popular area near National Taiwan Normal University. It is popular amongst students and well-known for local shopping and food. The area has changed quite a bit over the years, students will have the opportunity to explore local shops, try popular Taiwanese snacks, and interact with local students.
4 FEBRUARY 2020 – TUESDAY ART, TEMPLES, AND HOT SPRINGS
Visit to Taipei Fine Art Museum
At the Taipei Fine Art Museum, students will have the opportunity to view a special exhibition of famous calligraphy works by Tong Yang Tze. She began studying calligraphy when she was only eight years old and has since developed a unique and recognizable style. Tong Yang Tze is one of Taiwan’s most important modern-day artists and the opportunity to explore her work will allow us to begin our journey into Taiwanese culture and expression.
Dalongdong Bao’an Gong Temple 大龍峒保安宮
The Bao’an temple was originally built by clan members in Xiamen, Fujian who immigrated to Taipei in the early 19th century. Here, we will begin our discussions about folk religion in Taiwan, In 2003, the temple became a UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage site and has represented notable conservation efforts.
Beitou Hot Springs 北投
Located on the outskirts of Taipei city, the group will have the opportunity to visit the natural hot springs and learn about the geological features surrounding Taipei through the Beitou Museum. Visiting the hot springs is a popular activity for locals. Aside from providing an opportunity to relax, the hot springs are often visited for medicinal benefits.
5 FEBRUARY 2020 – WEDNESDAY DAY AND NIGHT MARKETS
Chinese New Year Market on Dihua Street: During the time of Spring Festival, Dihua Street hosts a large market where locals shop before, during, and after the celebration. We will explore the market and get a sense of what spring festival looks like in Taiwan compared to China.
Shilin Night Market: Shilin night market is the most famous night market in Taiwan. Bustling with people eager to try all of the delicious snack foods and shop, there are shops and stalls stretching for many blocks. We will work up our appetites and enjoy a dinner composed of a variety of Taiwanese local eats.
6 FEBRUARY 2020 – THURSDAY TEA EXPLORATION
Visit with Mountain Stream Teas: In Taipei, we will connect with Matt from Mountain Stream teas. Matt is a Canadian who has lived in Taiwan for more than 15 years as an outdoor guide and tea business owner. Matt will introduce us to Taiwanese teas and discuss his experience living in Taiwan and working in the tea industry.
Jilong Tea Trip 雞籠山: After getting an introduction to tea in Taiwan from Matt at Mountain Stream Teas, we will head up to Jilong mountain to get a more hands-on experience. Jilong is about 45 minutes away from Taipei city and is famous for its tea production. The group will visit Jilong’s tea plantations, museums, and farmers to learn more about Taiwanese tea and the culture associated with it.
7 FEBRUARY 2020 – FRIDAY: OLD STREETS, NATIONAL PARKS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Visit to Jiufen 九份 and Yehliu Geopark: Jiufen and Yehliu Geopark day trip, Shifen. Overlooking the sea, Jiufen’s old streets are a maze of food stalls and vendors selling all sorts of fun goods. We will have time to explore the old streets, try a variety of foods, and discuss the historical significance of this area. We can also meet with local ceramic artists and visit their studios. We will then depart Jiufen for Yehliu national geopark where we will visit a museum and walk around the iconic geological features of this unique landscape. We will dive into environmental conservation topics with local park staff and then head back to Taipei.
Visit to 350.org Taiwan: 350.org is an international environmental organization addressing climate change with the goal of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350ppm from the current level of 400 ppm. Dragons has collaborated with the Taipei branch of 350.org since 2016, when the two organizations partnered to run a 2-week intensive course on climate change in Taiwan. After our visit to Jiufen and the Geopark, we will meet with 350.org to learn more about environmental issues and initiatives.
8 FEBRUARY 2020 – SATURDAY TAIPEI 101 AND TRAVEL DAY
Visit to Taipei 101( 臺北101): Before departing Taipei, we will get a look at the city from above. From 2004-2010, Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world. 101 floors above the ground, Taipei 101 is considered one of the world’s largest green buildings.
Depart Taipei for Jianshi: Moving from the big city to the countryside, we will begin our journey into Taiwan’s indigenous lands and culture. Our time outside of Taipei will include lessons on cooking and food systems, arts and crafts, land ownership, and time spent in national parks. We will compare urban and rural living in Taiwan and compare how places have changed over the years.
8 FEBRUARY 2020 – 16 FEBRUARY 2020 HOMESTAY EXPERIENCE IN TAITUNG (JIALAN)
Jialan: Jialan is an indigenous village located near Taitung (on the Southeast coast). Students will have the opportunity to live with indigenous families and learn about traditional indigenous arts/crafts, their connection with the land, and the politics related to indigenous peoples in Taiwan. We will dive into food systems and agricultural studies in Taiwan through our homestay families and community! There will be daily cooking with families, group lessons on cuisine, and history of local foods to the present. We will also take part in local singing and dancing.
16 FEBRUARY 2020 -21 FEBRUARY 2020 HUALIEN EXPERIENCE
Hualien: Hualien County is the largest county in Taiwan by area, but due to its mountainous terrain, it has the smallest population in Taiwan. Located on the East pacific coast of the country, Hualien is well-known for its beauty and indigenous population. We will learn about the history of the region – Spanish settlers coming to mine gold in the early 1600’s and the many changes that the county experienced through Chinese and Japanese occupation, and finally the impact of tourism. We will explore the popular Buddhist and folk beliefs in Hualien and hike through Taroko National Park. Our days here will be filled with further exploration of indigenous culture and lessons, lots of natural beauty and time outdoors.
Taroko Gorge: (day hike)
One of our days in Hualien, we will spend hiking in Taroko Gorge. We will visit the Eternal Spring Shrine, a temple that sits atop a beautiful waterfall. We’ll be able to witness beautiful wildlife such as swallows and over 300 kinds of butterflies. Take in views from coastal cliff points and rocky peaks overlooking clear blue waters. Our time will also include a visit to Qixingtan beach, where we can take some time to relax along the shoreline.
21 FEBRUARY 2020 – 27 FEBRUARY 2020
TAIPEI: LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
Back in Taipei, we’ve planned a few days of formal language instruction and other cultural immersion activities. Our language classes in Taiwan will include a lesson on traditional character writing, a lesson on Taiwanese language, and a continuation of their mandarin classes.