Abroad in Taiwan: A Conversation with Betsy Dryburgh

Trace Levos
A DIS sophomore tells us all about her unique experiences in Taipei.

DIS students often set aside time to study abroad at one of their many sister schools around the globe before they graduate. When sophomore student Betsy Dryburgh decided to take her trip, she knew she wanted to go somewhere different. We sat down to talk about her trailblazing experience in Taipei, Taiwan.
 
So why did you choose to go to Taiwan, of all places?

I've been learning Chinese for a couple years now and I didn‘t want to be one student in a crowd of exchange students, so I started looking for something isolated when Mr. Pave gave me the option to go to Taipei. On top of being the only one, my correspondent is in the grade below me, so I get to meet even more people here! I didn’t technically choose Taiwan, but I'm glad I accepted the offer.
 
What has been the coolest experience that you have had so far?

I think the coolest thing I've done is go to the Night Market. They have these markets that pop up on normal roads from around 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and it's always bustling. They have restaurants, shops and games all the way through and it smells amazing all the time.
 
Any challenges you’ve had to face?

The most challenging thing was being away for so long and not being able to speak the language. I've never been out of the country without someone I knew before so it was overwhelming being around new people at a new school in a new city so far away. I really missed everyone for the first couple days, but then I realized it was only six weeks and it got a lot more fun after that.
 
How’s the food?

I was really picky about the food I ate based on whether or not I thought it sounded or looked good. But after about a week here, all I was asking about was what it was so I could know for next time! Even though the exchange isn’t even finished yet, I've already become less picky.
 
What advice would you give to someone preparing for their foreign exchange trip?

Don't think you’re going to get there and everything will work out. When I first got there, we were stuck at the airport because we couldn’t find the car. I thought people at my school would speak English so I walked up confidently and rambled on in English until they asked if I spoke French. The important thing is to just be prepared to try new things and be open-minded about the differences.
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