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Today Wednesday July 23, 2014 we have our first typhoon day!  It is much like a snow day except you DO NOT want to go out and play in it.  The entire city of Taichung both businesses and schools alike have been closed down due to typhoon Matmo.  We have been cooped up in our dorm room for the entire day.  We are allowed to leave, but they highly recommend that you do not.  This morning around 11 am the students at the front desk came over the loud speaker and told the building that if anyone would like to order lunch and not venture out into the madness that they would do that for us.  All of us guys on our floor took advantage of the opportunity!  It was very kind of them to go outside on our behalves, just another fine example of the generous hospitality that we have been experiencing during our stay on “Isla Formosa.”  I enjoyed a movie in our dorm room with Brad and myself while we ate and now it is time to churn out some pages on my homework that I have been putting off!  I think that we will venture into the city later tonight and see all of the damage and really just enjoy the fresh air.  

I would like to apologize in advance for the lack of photos of the current happenings outside, as I do not particularly want to venture outside with my camera.  Please enjoy the photos that were taken last night, the calm before the storm.  

The view from our balcony overlooking the majestic city of Taichung.

Another view of the city.  

That’s all for this world traveler.  I look forward to seeing you all stateside!

Best Regards,

Jake

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From what I have read from my fellow trip-mates, there has not been much light shed upon our living quarters.  Today is one of our few slow days, so why not enlighten you of this new place we call home as I work on a bit of homework we have from our lăoshī (teacher).  We, as in the men live on the second floor and the women live on the fifth floor.  Each floor is divided by gender and members of the opposite sex are not allowed on the others’ floor.  We have vending on the second floor, so our central common area is free to both genders at any time.  Each room is divided into three two man rooms with a common room that is shared by all three rooms.  Attached to each room is a bathroom with two sinks, two toilets (one standing and one sitting), a urinal on the men’s floors, a wash room if you choose to hand wash clothing and dry it, and two showers.  

In my room of 2E2 is Bradley and myself.  As luck would have it, I would be paired with him of all people as he was my roommate first semester freshman year.  We get along well as we are already familiar with each others habits and mannerisms.  As I type this, he is laying behind me watching a movie on his mattress pad.  

A normal day in the life here at good ole’ PU as they call it consists of this:

Wake up around 8 to go and get breakfast at what we fondly call breakfast street.  Then, walk back up the hill to campus and climb the steps of St. Peter Hall to go to Mandarin Class.  We are in Mandarin Class from 9 am until noon.  We have this class every day of the week.  Both of our professors are extremely enthusiastic and love that we are grasping both the culture and the language so quickly.  They are what makes it that much more enjoyable and drives us to keep furthering our knowledge.  Then, we have break time for lunch.  Usually, we order in food which is usually rice, noodles (with or without soup), dumplings, or even McDonald’s!  After lunch is done then begins the fun.  We will either have a planned program or free time to discover the city on our own!  I much enjoy free time, because we have to fend for ourselves as far as food goes and sometimes you don’t get what you ordered….  After the evening finishes I almost always go exercise with Michael, because you definitely do not want to be out exercising and sweating when the sun is up!  Not even the locals want to be out on the track when the sun is beating down upon it.  That about does it for a day in the life of an exchange student here in Taiwan.  

 

 

 

Our own slice of Heaven.

“The facilities”

The vending station in the lobby of our floor.

The clean water dispenser.  Tap water has too much chlorine in it to be potable.

The laundry room of the building.

Our view from up here in 2E2.

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When I originally prepared for this trip I knew that I would meet many new people, especially those from Taiwan.  What I did not know, is that within our group I would meet new people as well.  I have developed strong relationships with both people from Ashland, but many other Universities and states as well.  Within our group there are people from Kansas, California, Washington D.C., and even South Korea, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Guam.  I have learned as much, if not more, from them about our own culture as I have about the Taiwanese culture.  Living in Ohio has been a blessing to me, but it is not the most progressive state to say the least.  Being around others from all corners of the U.S. and surrounding countries has been a real treat!  As far as our learning partners go, we like to watch them as much as they enjoy watching us.  When we first arrived here, we were all at a night market to try stinky tofu and Demi, one of our learning partners, kept pushing us to try stinky tofu (a famous Taiwanese dish).  When I asked her if she liked it, she replied with “I don’t know I have never had it.”  To this I was shocked, how could she be forcing it upon us in the first week when she has yet to have it after over a century of living here.  Low and behold, she just wanted to see the reaction on our face after we smelled it and ate it.  If you are wondering how it tasted, it was as the Taiwanese say “還蒿.”  Which is hai hao and means okay, or not bad in English.  I wouldn’t go searching for it, but I too would force it on foreigners simply to watch the reaction on their faces.

Aside from learning from others, I am learning from myself.  I recall going on family vacations and learning of the places that we would travel to, though through all of the fun and happiness by week two or so I was ready to be out of the close quarters.  One thing was for sure with a “Miller family vacay” and that is that there was always a good verbal spat (and if it was between my brother and I, we may or may not have duked it out).  Now that is with people that are extremely familiar with each other, and knew that it would be best to work out the problem there rather than push it back to a different time.  Imagine it with 20 some strangers that are constantly together and will more than likely not see each other (those from different states).   You could imagine tensions get pretty high at times.  I have seen many a moment where I was sure that there was about to be a few words exchanged between my classmates, yet they take a step back and just breathe.  That is the beauty of world travel.  It takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to dig deep down and find the strength and patience.  You are not in your house, you aren’t able to get an American cheeseburger, you are not able to hug your loved ones or go and see a movie with your best gals.  We are fortunate enough to have this experience and it is just that, an experience!  I read something today that went like this, “No one will remember the special days in their life, they will remember the special moments in their life.”  Yea…I will let that one sink in until my next post.  In the mean time, enjoy the pictures of what we have been experiencing.

 

Our group at the Central Science Park

Gong Fu class…hit ’em with the high kick! 

Mountainous views to make you appreciate how small we as humans really are.

 

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So far everything has been great. It seems like everyone has enjoyed their first week and have begun to adjust to the changes pretty easily. Yesterday was pretty great. I started the day off with a run and then headed to breakfast, which was inexpensive and very good. Then we headed back to the dorms and went to class. Our classes have been great, especially our Chinese classes. Both of our teachers have taught us so much already. I’m surprised with how easy it is because of there teaching. Once we finished class we went to a market that was close by and got lunch and toured around a little. One of our learning partners took us to a fun little coffee shop. That not only had good coffee (from what I was told, I don’t drink coffee) but they also had air conditioning and some good food. Once we were done with the coffee we went into Taichung for dinner and movie. Unfortunately the movie we wanted to see was sold out so we just ate dinner and relaxed.
Today we went to sun moon lake, the Chung Tai Chan Monastery, rode on a gondola, and then finished the night at ponderosa steak house and buffet. The monastery and sun moon lake were very beautiful and we were lucky to have cooler weather. The food at ponderosa was comforting and we all enjoyed a nice meal from home. Overall, the past two days and really the past week has been great.

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Had a great first day of classes. Started the day off with a run down at the track that’s on campus with Jake and Brad. Then we went and got breakfast before class, which was great. Class was really interesting and we all enjoyed our teacher. During our lunch break Casey, Phil, and I went into town and got lunch. We really were adventuring because the majority of what we ate was unknown to us. It was quite the experience and enjoyable. We finished up classes and now we are headed out to get sushi. Couldn’t get much better.

Attached is the picture of our lunch

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Here’s a picture of the group in front of Taichung’s new Taichung City Government building. We got to your around this building and learned about the building and some of the history of Taiwan and it’s government. Following this we went to one of the shopping malls close by and we attended Ding tai feng, which is famous for it’s dumplings or xiaolongbao. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed them. The rest of the day we spent touring the rest of Taichung and the night market. Got to try some interesting food. Pretty great experience. We hope we can make a another trip back.

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Social MediaAre you constantly charging your phone because Facebook is draining your battery? Does your Twitter feed need to be refreshed every half hour? Do you know the perfect Instagram filter for every occasion?  If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may want to consider looking into a Marketing Major.

Now, you may be thinking, “Why can’t I just major in Social Media?”  Well, as much as I would like to be a Social Media Major, I’m glad I’m not. Social media is a key component of any marketing plan, but a Marketing Major can help you understand all aspects of the marketing field, including social media.

The good news is that you can have a job that includes social media in its list of responsibilities. So, how do you get one of these fantastic jobs? Marketing is an overarching major that encompasses different key functions, and social media is one of them! I have found personal success through Ashland University’s Marketing Department. The assortment of classes prepares you for the variety of tasks you will be asked to do in the real world. Social media has become a must in today’s world for many companies.  The benefits of social media are many, but generally include:

  • Company branding
  • Improved brand awareness
  • Word-of-mouth advertising
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Increased customer loyalty and trust
  • Improved audience reach and influence

Companies cannot ignore these opportunities.  That’s where you come in, the ever-savvy Marketing Major. You know about these from classes you’ve taken. Ashland offers many marketing classes that touch upon different aspects of marketing. While all of the classes are important, I believe the most critical course that relates to social media (before Ashland offered a social media marketing class) is Consumer Behavior.

Consumer Behavior MKT 326

Why do people buy the brands they buy?  Why are millennials more likely to try a new brand compared to baby boomers? In the end, it is all about the customer and why they do what they do.  Consumer behavior gives insight into these obscure combinations of age, location, risk tolerance, and many more factors that affect customers at the counter (or shopping cart, for all of you online shoppers). By learning about how customers think, you can learn how to interact with them on social media. Social media can be broken down into four main categories:

  • Advertising (Buy our product)
  • Service (How did you like our product)
  • Data (How many of our products did you buy)
  • Content (Here is an article showing our new product features)

If you can show a potential employer that you can effectively do these four things, you increase your chances of success. I have learned different approaches to these tasks from the Consumer Behavior course, and now have a deeper understanding of customer relations.

Social Media MKT 451Twitter Feed #AUMKT451

Ashland is keeping up with current business trends by offering a Social Media Marketing class for the first time in the College of Business and Economics this semester.  I am currently in this class and it has already taught me so much in the first five weeks. Every Monday at 6 p.m., around 20 AU students put on their comfiest clothes and sign in to MKT 451, the Social Media Marketing class.  Not only do we interact with the live online class, we tweet about it with the hashtag #AUMKT451. This twitter feed proves to not only be informational, but fun! I know I really enjoy seeing what my classmates find interesting and this reinforces concepts for me. MKT 451 is teaching me concepts that I know I will directly use in my job post-graduation.

Now, there are some naysayers out there about careers in social media.  Jason Nazar wrote an article called “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get” in September 2013 for Forbes.  I find his 4th comment rather controversial, “Social Media is Not a Career.”  While I agree that being a “Social Media Ninja” is not a feasible professional aspiration, I think that skills in social media can support you in a career. If you are looking for a job in social media, you have to back up your talent with sound strategy, and the classes you take as a Marketing Major can help you accomplish that. Successful social media is about looking at the big picture and opening up the conversation with your customers. It is a powerful touch point, and when used correctly, it can create powerful brand loyalty.

Taylor Zorman is a double major in Marketing and International Business with minors in Spanish and Psychology.  She is a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Campus Activities Board and is currently the Student Conduct Intern.  Connect on LinkedIn with Taylor.

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