June 30th 2017

Today we had our regularly scheduled mandarin class from 9:10-12pm and then afterwards we were going to go to the night market that’s what the plan was. We started off our day in Mandarin by going over what we learned previously, which would be counting in numbers into the thousands place. After that we learned more words for us to use in an everyday conversation in China and Taiwan, most being phrases for food or drinks and we went over what the Chinese characters symbolized. For instance, the word for milk is nǎi and its symbol is 奶 which symbolizes a woman with a child and breastfeeding. At the end of the class, we were assigned to take a picture of similar characters that we learned and bring them into class on Monday. After class, everyone decided to do their own thing, but most people just relaxed in their room waiting for the night market getting projects done. When the time came to leave for the night market it started to rain incredibly hard and we decided it would be a better idea to just go to the mall and shop around (good thing too because it rained till 10 pm) so after all was said and done we split up again and went our own ways. Vince, Noah, Trent, and I all decided to stick together and went to a restaurant called HOPS, it was an American restaurant with American food, but I was getting a little sick of using chopsticks myself so a fork was a nice change of pace for me.  Lastly, we broke off once again where Trent, and I were all alone in a mall and decided to head back. Yet, we went down one floor to many and ended up in H&B while looking for an exit Trent found a Hawaiian shirt in the store and told me the story about how he collected one of his last trip from Jamacia and wanted to get one here as well. So we hunted down the sales clerk and took us some time to ask some questions about the shirt and if it would shrink (no materials list on it!). Fun conclusion to a good day.

-Written by  Mitchell Staedt

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Today we started class, due to fact that the students are affected by jetlag we woke up around 6 am and then lied in bed till about 7 am. Then Sulley and I started by heading out to the Morning House which is where most of us will be getting breakfast for the next 6 weeks. We meet Elena and Erin at the cafe and ate with them. Later on, we got ready for our day by getting cleaned up and figuring out what we’d be doing for the rest of the day. We left for our first class at around 8:30 am ( the class starts at 9:10 am) but we left early so Professor Pittenger could talk to us about group members not getting along and it’s being normal under our circumstances.  After our “pep talk” our Mandarin professor walked in and started her review. We mostly went over what we already learned for the first two hours of the class but then in the last hour, we learned why the Mandarin numbers having looked the way they do, describing heaven, earth, and humans. We had a little less than an hour break before our next class started. Our next class was a culture course that talked about the different cultures that make up Taiwan, being mostly Japanese and Dutch. The class ended around 4:05 pm a little later than expected but we quickly went over to the dorms and got ready to go to the gym to workout. Vincent, Sully, Elana, and I all went to the gym to work out, while Erin, Trent, Noah, Camile, and Lora went to eat dinner with students that live in Taiwan but went to Ashland University. The four of us stayed till the gym closed at 6 pm (we got inside around 5 pm) then hastily went to the showers to get cleaned up. Afterwards, we went to the night market and got some strange but tasty foods. Overall, a tiring day but very satisfying.

-Written by  Mitchell Staedt



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Monday June 26th, 2017:Today was the first time waking up in Taiwan, and it seemed like everyone was exhausted from not getting enough sleep, due to jetlag. Everyone in the group got an early start to their day, most of us waking up around 5-6am and waiting for our day to start at 8:30 am so Trent, Noah, Sully, Vincent, and I decided to go for a walk around campus before we got breakfast. We walked around campus for around 30 minutes then we decided to head back to get our stuff before we head out to breakfast. I got a noodle egg and mushroom meal for my first breakfast, it seemed to feel more like a lunch food but it was a good change of pace for me. After we all finished breakfast we got a tour of the classroom that we’d have our language class in for the next 6 weeks. There we meet our learning partners and a couple of our new teachers. After all the introduction’s and videos were over they decided to treat us to lunch, surprisingly they ordered 10 pizza’s 5 of which were unique. After lunch, our learning partners took us on a guided tour through the campus, mostly the library but it was a beautiful sight to behold. The building was spectacular from the inside to the outside, the inside of the building was recently renovated and looked like a modern masterpiece. After that tour, we had a break till 3:30 at which time we’d go shopping. Our first stop was Nova, it was a huge mall that was four stories tall and what seemed like endless amounts of stores inside with products that confused and amazed us. It took the entire group around an hour to pick out everything they wanted to purchase from the store. The last and final destination we went to was Japanese style cuisine, which most of the group didn’t know what they got since the entire menu was in mandarin most people took a shot in the dark. A couple people were surprised what they got and others need time to adjust to the new food. Overall we did a lot of walking and returned around 8 pm that night and was expecting everyone to get a good nights rest.

-Written by Mitchell Staedt

Tour de Campus

Today was our first look at one of the main reasons we’ve come all the way to Taiwan. But, before we get to that, heres the most important thing: the food!

We started our culinary escapade on campus at Morning House and later at White Beard.DSCN0394

Morning House is basically the equivalent of a Chinese diner, serving breakfast food and milk tea with everything. I promise that this burger tasted so much better than it looked, and the whole meal only cost NT $70, or about US $2.30.


I destroyed this sandwich taking it apart, certainly doing a disservice to how well it was prepared

Translated it was a burger with egg and cheese and a hash-brown served with tea. Although it may look markedly subpar, it was quite honestly delicious, with a sweet sauce over the lettuce and an extremely American style slice of cheese.

While sitting outside of Morning House enjoying our breakfast, Trent and I noticed that the coffee/tea shop next door was just beginning to open. To our surprise we found delicate pasteries and an enomous menu of both tea AND coffee based beverages, something that doesn’t appear nearly as often as it does in the US. Below is the result of this trip, a Brown Sugar Milk Tea and a blueberry pastry, both of which were extremely well made. With the tea at NT $50 and the pastry around NT $40, another ~US $3 later was money well spent.



The tiny fork and knife were way more useful than they appeared, even if they were two inches long.

After breakfast, we headed to Orientation. There, two amazing Providence University students introduced us to Carlos Huang, the director of the language program here, as well as our professor for our Mandarin Course, and a vice president here at the University.

After breakfast, we headed to Orientation. There, two amazing Providence University students introduced us to Carlos Huang, the director of the language program here, as well as our professor for our Mandarin Course, and a vice president here at the University. We watched a few videos about Providence and greater Taichung, as well as enjoyed some lychee that they had just picked off trees outside!

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Lychee have a pit like a cherry, skin like an orange, and are slightly tart but also very sweet.

To our surprise, after our morning presentations, we were brought pizza! Pizza Hut to be exact, but topped with corn, mushrooms, jalapenos, and pepperoni, just to name a few. If the boxes didn’t look like this: IMG_0515

you’d be hard pressed to know that it didn’t come from your local Pizza Hut.

After lunch we headed on a short tour of parts of the campus, mainly the library. The building is ten stories tall with two basement levels and amazing views of campus and the surrounding city.

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After our tour of campus, we had some time to ourselves and then headed to Taisuco, basically an enormous Taiwanese Walmart. We stocked up on some much needed supplies (I made a list and still forgot to buy towels) and then headed to dinner. After some extended gallivanting around Taichung [the original restaurant we were supposed to go to was closed] we settled on a Japanese restaurant that was quite honestly not good.

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Some overcooked chicken, some super dry pork, and some fishy tasting broccoli was waiting for us, and the air-con was blasting in the restaurant, instantly freezing our food. 2/10 would not recommend. There’s certainly something about a bad meal that will take the wind out of most people’s sails and this was no different, as we all seemed to become far more tired and withdrawn from this point onwards. Nevermind the fact that we’re still trying to get on local time [as I write this post at 4:00AM local time]. Getting on a regular sleeping schedule cannot happen soon enough and it’s certainly be the worst part so far in getting acclimated to being here. The language barrier is extremely steep but the sleep deprivation somehow tops that in every way.

Tomorrow (Tuesday June 27th) we have a tour of Taichung which will be amazing. This city is the second largest in Taiwan at 2.752 million people and lies against the ocean, making it a crowded but uniquely gorgeous place.

IMG_0469After arriving in Taipei, we took the fanciest mini tour bus known to mankind 2 hours south to Taichung and Providence University.


Pulling up to St. Bosco residence hall around 9:45 PM local time (12 hours ahead of Ashland, OH), we received our room keys, our air conditioner cards (!!) and headed to our suite style rooms.


The air conditioning set-up is designed to prevent wasted energy and only works through a declining balance card:


For tomorrows events, we have breakfast at 8:30 AM and orientation and shopping for living essentials to follow. We’ll all have updates for everyone back at home over the next 6 weeks so be sure to follow #COBEinTaiwan on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and WordPress to stay tuned to everything we’re up to.

Now Boarding

So far we’ve been travelling since 5:30 AM EST and its currently 4:33 PM PST, so we’ve had a full day and haven’t even begun the longest leg of our trip, 14 hours in-flight to Taipei, Taiwan. Our smiling faces might not be so happy after this next leg, but we’ll certainly be happy to be off the last plane of the day!

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Before we left Cleveland, Sully found Browns head coach Hugh Jackson and snapped this picture. hugh and sully

Hopefully within the next 20 hours we’ll have arrived at Providence University and be on our way to a great six weeks!

Game Day

Everything’s pack. Bags are weighed. Lists are checked. And this is what my alarms are set for:

Here’s to not oversleeping and to smooth trips through the TSA