Caitlyn Black

Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
Arcadia University
Heinz Programming Area: 
Economic Opportunity
Study Abroad Country: 
International Experience

Caitlyn Black traveled to Taipei, Taiwan for one month during the summer of 2017. She took a class on Global Perspectives on Chinese Business and Economy in which she learned of Taiwan's economic growth and its relations with China. Taiwan was a life-changing experience for Caitlyn. She was integrated with Taiwanese students and others from all over the world. Taipei is a city that has a familiar, but very exotic atmosphere. Taking the bus or walking away from main tourist spots like Taipei 101 - where familiar American brands are seen - everyone embraces the crowded Night Markets. At the Night Markets, dozens of scents and sights hit her at once; including ramen, fresh guava and pineapple, cheap but unique plastics and fabrics, counterfeit designer clothing, cute characters plastered everywhere, and the occasional disturbing (yet strangely intriguing) scent of “stinky tofu”. Caitlyn’s favorite meal to grab was the freshly grilled squid and a bowl of frog eggs, along with kumquat and green tea bubble tea. Taipei 101 is a massive building located right in the center of Taipei that can be seen from almost everywhere. Whenever Caitlyn was lost, like on the tea garden mountain of Maokong, the building acted as the North Star. Temples with extravagant decorations and colors could be found in the cities or hidden in the mountains, in which Taiwanese people and tourists came to worship the gods. Traveling out of the city and into the countryside, Caitlyn visited Yilan. She had the opportunity to pick her own scallions and make the ever-popular green onion pancakes. Caitlyn traveled to Kenting National Park on the southern tip of Taiwan. White-sand beaches, caves, coral reefs, and mountains were the common sight. At night, Caitlyn experienced the street-food, bars, and nightlife, and numerous stray cats and dogs that took some time to get acquainted to. The young men and women expressed themselves through clothing. Fashion seemed to be important. For example, some of the young women wore 6-inch platforms, thick and frilly dresses, big hats, jeweled glasses and belts, and backpacks that carried small dogs. Designer clothing (such as Gucci, Nike, Supreme, Adidas, and Calvin Klein) was the key touch to most of the outfits. Every chance Caitlyn got she traveled to a different part of Taiwan to be engulfed in the new culture. Tamsui District of New Taipei City in north Taiwan gave her one of the most amazing experiences abroad. After going out onto a boat to watch the sunset, she walked onto the black sand. The black sand covered the entire bay with shallow pools of water spotting the landscape. Caitlyn stood in the middle of the bay where lights could be seen everywhere expect for the blackness of the East China Sea in front of her. To others, it appeared she stood in the middle of the ocean. Caitlyn had many incredible experiences like this. She took in the beauty instead of the lure of the material items or the shopping Taipei offered. Caitlyn ensured that she took time away from campus to explore as much of Taiwan as possible. She experienced tastes, smells, sounds, and sights she had never came across before. Taiwan was a valuable and essential part to her growth academically, globally, and individually. Taking that experience, she has established a deeper desire to travel the world and see more of Asia.

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