Today I received the official invitation e-mail for the homestay program. I have to fill out a short form, stating that I really want to participate, and send them a scanned version of my passport.
Now that I know for sure that I will be travelling to Taiwan, lot’s of thoughts run through my head. But I guess before I can really plan anything I have to wait until the host families are announced. This will be in mid-June as far as I understood. While I do want to travel in Taiwan and see different places, I also want to spend time with my host family. This is the whole point of this program after all!
When it comes to travelling I couldn’t possibly see all of Taiwan in two weeks, even if I was travelling all the time. This page suggests (in German language) different possible tours of Taiwan. The big tour lasts 14 days and you would have to hurry from one place to another – so that wouldn’t be possible for me. Even the smaller one with 9 days of travel would be too much. They just added a third tour since I visited the page a view days ago: A tour of 6 days which supposedly includes the most beautiful parts of Taiwan. So that is something which I could have a closer look at later on. If one doesn’t want to travel oneself, one can book such tours with travel businesses.
My plan is now to inform myself about Taiwan and find out what I really want to see. Therefore I ordered the Lonely Planet guidebook. The current edition was published in March 2011, so that should be up to date! The Lonely Planet website also offers information on Taiwan.
And now some basic information for my friends who asked lot’s of questions about Taiwan:
So first of all, that’s Taiwan!:
Some Information from the CIA World Factbook: Taiwan is about 35.980 km² of size and has about 23.000.000 inhabitants. In comparison, Bavaria (the part of Germany I come from) has 12.539.976 inhabitants and a size of about 70.551 km². Taiwan is a multiparty democracy. The median age of the population is about 38.3 years in 2011 (compared to 46 years in Germany). The official language is Mandarin Chinese (I don’t speak any chinese ^^). The time in Taiwan is UTC+8, this means they are 6 hours ahead of Germany. The GDP per capita is nearly the same as in Germany (information from CIA World Factbook), the unemployment rate and percent of population living below poverty line are lower than in Germany. It is considered a very safe country to travel.
I am currently collecting interesting links about Taiwan and will post them in my next entry. I also plan to collect links to blogs of the other participants from all around the world and post them in my blogroll. 🙂