Lucas

PRE TRIP REFLECTION

  • How do you feel about the upcoming trip?
I feel largely excited for the new experience, but also slightly nervous over the language, also known as my lack of knowledge of the Chinese language, and that I have never before been to Taiwan.

  • 3 things that I am looking forward to
I look forward to seeing new sights and learning more about Taiwan and its culture, as well as the astronomy field there.

  • 3 things I hope to learn from Taiwan
I hope to learn about Taiwan's culture, Astronomy in Taiwan, and its place in society.

  • 3 things I hope to learn from my friends
I hope to be able to pick up the Chinese language again, learn more about Taiwan from the friends who have been there before, and lastly, I would like to learn to be able to work efficiently in a team with all the people who I am not as well acquainted with as the others. 

  • 3 things I hope to learn about myself
I would like to be able to learn more about my ability to fit into another culture, as well as work with others and live together as a group for an extended duration like this.


  • 3 challenges I give myself
My first and foremost challenge to myself is to make this one of my most special overseas trips in my four years at SST. I also intend to challenge myself to integrate as well as possible with the local language and culture, and lastly, I intend to put in my utmost effort into producing a short video cataloguing these 8 days here in Taiwan, with the exceptions of certain less recordable locations, activities, or visits, of course.


  • What are my expectations of Taiwan?
Lastly, I hope that Taiwan will be an intricate and engaging destination with friendly people and an enjoyable culture, which will undoubtedly give us all a wonderful collection of memories to treasure.



DAY 01 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Insightful, engaging, and meaningful.


  • 3 highlights of the day 
Learning about the natural rock formations that make up Taiwan, shown in a smaller scale by the rocks at Yehliu. Visiting the sulfur mines in the mountains which to this day, produce steam day and night. Observing how the telescopes in the Taipei Astronomical Museum were used to help produce meaningful and helpful data than can be used to help predict events.



  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan was formed by the convergence of the oceanic Pacific plate and the continental Philippine plate. This is the reason for the mountainous and volcanic terrain often found in Taiwan. I also learnt about how old mines in the mountains near Taipei have resulted in sulfur leaking out, which reacts with water or moisture to produce clouds of steam and high temperatures.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I enjoy interacting with the locals, particularly those in the night market, and also found myself oddly interested in the geological history of Taiwan. I learnt that I enjoy certain eastern foods which I do not eat even remotely often, despite being initially skeptical.

  •  3 things you didn’t do so well
I feel that I could have put more effort into being in a better mood throughout certain parts of the day, and also that I could have been more approachable to my juniors. I am also slightly disappointed in myself for not packing as efficiently as I could have (yes, it is trivial, but it annoys me anyway).

  • 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
I look forward to the visit to the Central Weather Bureau and the local university. I particularly look forward to visiting another night market, as I am eager to continue sampling local food and culture.



DAY 02 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Hectic, informative, and exhausting.

  • 3 highlights of the day
Learning about the process of building a satellite, as well as the rigorous testing phase, and the various uses of satellites.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan is a major contributor to joint international space programmes, is also one of the leading nations in weather sciences, and has highly advanced geological sciences education opportunities and research jobs.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I learnt that I find weather patterns surprisingly interesting, that I enjoy learning about the less-but-still-relevant Astronomy-related fields, and that the idea that we barely know anything about our universe fascinates me.

  • 3 things you didn’t do so well
I was relatively tired throughout the day, and could have managed both my sleep and my mood better. I could also have been more active in some of the activities.

  • 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
I look forward to visiting the National Taiwan University and the Lishan High School, and interacting with the students there in particular.



DAY 03 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Relatable, interactive, and educational.

  • 3 highlights of the day
Interacting with the students at Lishan High School, listening to the National Taiwan University's physics professor's lecture about cosmology, and visiting the Martyrs' Shrine.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan's government has their sights on scientific innovation and advancement in the future, Taiwan has spent large amounts of money of developing education facilities, and has a strong sense of national pride.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I learnt that I am eager to see how students in other countries learn, that I enjoy making new friends, and am curious about the history of countries with interesting pasts like Taiwan.

  • 3 things you didn’t do so well
I could have interacted more with both the people at the National Taiwan University and the Lishan High School, and could have managed my time better.

  • 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
I look forward to the undoubtedly exciting discussions that every long bus ride brings, as the visit to the Taichung Natural Science Museum, as well the next night market on our list, the Fenglia Night Market.



DAY 04 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Thought-provoking, enlightening, and tiring.

  • 3 highlights of the day
Visiting the 921 Earthquake Museum and the Taichung Natural Science Museum, as well as experiencing the weather patterns that we learnt about at the Central Weather Bureau several days earlier.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan has unique weather patterns including a storm system called Mei Yu, which brings heavy rain and flooding, which we experienced firsthand today. Taiwan's Taichung Natural Science Museum is both one of them largest and most visited museums in Taiwan.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I enjoy leaning about the theoretical aspects of physics, and how they can be applied in fields such as earthquake monitoring and computer component manufacturing.

  • 3 things you didn’t do so well
I could have slept more the night before and been more alert throughout the day, and could also have been friendlier to my juniors, some of whom are on their first trip.

  • 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
I look forward to the long travels, as well as our visit to the Tainan Astronomy Museum, and yet another night market.



DAY 05 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Enlightening, educational, and rainy.

  • 3 highlights of the day
The visit to the Tainan Astronomical Education Area and the exhibits about the solar system, geo- and heliocentricity, as well as astrobiology. 

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Flooding in Taiwan occurs frequently due to the relatively short rivers that are unable to hold the capacity of rain that falls during rainy seasons. This is aggravated by the Mei Yu effect mentioned yesterday. 

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I learnt that I enjoy learning the history of astronomy, as well as its current applications and ongoing advancements.

  • 3 things you didn’t do so well
I could have slept better the night before, eaten fuller meals, and tried to be a better judge of time.

  • 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
I look forward to visiting the Observatory in Kenting and learning about the way that astronomer conduct their research, as well as hearing further tales of Mr Tan's adventures in the Kenting area.



DAY 06 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Eye-opening, insightful, and applicable.

  • 3 highlights of the day
Learning about how nuclear energy is used in Taiwan, as well as seeing the natural gas vent and the cat head (I love cats).

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan's main source of power is nuclear energy, but the much less environmentally friendly fossil fuels come in second. Lastly, I learnt that Taiwan decides on where to dispose of their nuclear waste via a referendum, unlike most other nuclear-powered nations.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I learnt that I enjoy learning about the various types of energy, their applications, as well as their production methods, and I noticed that I have been able to pick up Chinese again to a usable extent.

  • 3 things you didn’t do so well
I could have tried to get some additional sleep on the bus, which would have tremendously boosted my mood and focus throughout the day, both of which I could have had done better.

  • 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
I look forward to better weather, the opportunity for stargazing with my friends, and visiting the Kenting Marine Science Museum.



DAY 07 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Strenuous, packed, but enjoyable.

  • 3 highlights of the day
I enjoyed learning about the conservation efforts being undertaken in Taiwan, mainly for their highly at-risk coral reefs around the island, seeing the gorges formed by the same tectonic plate collision that formed the entirety of Taiwan, and lastly seeing the vast number of species at the Marine Science Museum.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
I learnt that people in Taiwan tend to value their environment very highly, which includes them being will to support protection of coral reefs and other environments, as well as placing great priority on recycling. Additionally, I leant more about the tectonic plate collision that formed Taiwan by observing the gorges, mountains, and valleys near the coast of Taiwan.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I learnt that I am eager to take part in more physically demanding activities as I greatly enjoyed the short trek around the coral mountains, and learnt that I have an interest in marine conservation and the biology behind it that makes our oceans so valuable to us.

  • 3 things you didn’t do so well
I could have been more alert and focused, and could have tried to be more positive, especially during the short trek, as most of it was spent complaining about the heat, instead of appreciating our surroundings, which is another thing I need to learn to do better.

  • 3 things you look forward to tomorrow
I look forward to seeing the exhibitions at the Museum of Science and Technology, having our final meal here, and then finally going home and getting some much-needed sleep (14 consecutive hours should be enough).



DAY 08 REFLECTION

  • 3 words to describe today’s experience
Educational, inspiring, and thought-provoking, as I learnt a lot about various topics including typhoon management and semiconductor technology, admire the scientists who's work boosted these industries forward, and made me question my own ambitions, as to what field I should choose to study, respectively.

  • 3 highlights of the day
Taking our last group photos was an emotional and memorable experience. Additionally, visiting the Museum of Science and Technology was a very interesting experience as we were able to see the exhibiton on Typhoon Morakot and the damage done in its wake, as well as the exhibits on Taiwan's technology industries, as it allowed us to learn more about the place of science and technology in Taiwan.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about Taiwan
Taiwan places great emphasis on the need for scientific and technological advancements as they see these as the basis of the country's future economy. Additionally, this last museum visit has made me realise that while Taiwan has significant contributions and innovations in many fields, the country stills find that there is need to educate the public about there less-common fields in order to ensure their continued progression.

  • 3 things you’ve learnt about yourself
I learnt that while I am quite familiar with science and technology-related fields, there is still much to learn, and I should do my best to find out as much as possible, as these are the fields that hold the keys to the future of humanity. Furthermore, I have learnt that I should do my best to keep the fire of science and technology alive within me.

  • 2 things you didn’t do so well
I could have been more attentive during the guide's speeches throughout the exhibition, and could have tried harder to get both into and out of bed at a reasonable hour.

  • 1 thing you look forward to tomorrow
Finally being at home.



  • END OF TRIP REFLECTION

  • How is the Taiwanese culture shaped? What are the historical events that shaped its culture? 

It can undoubtedly be said that Taiwan is an island with a very unique and interesting culture, from their origins as isolated fishing villages and mountain tribes to its colonisation by the Dutch and Spanish to its current status as the worlds' 22nd largest economy with high standards of healthcare, education, lifestyle, free speech and much more. Specifically, the major contributors to Taiwan's culture today are its beginning as an island of villages, its occupation by the Chinese, the Dutch, and the Japanese, and lastly the retreat of the Chinese Nationalists to Taiwan.
In its early days, Taiwan was little more than an island populated by a handful of tribes of tough aborigines, who seemed like the natives from the Philippines in terms of appearance and speech than the people from mainland China, in contrast to the situation now, where the vast majority of Taiwan's population speaks Mandarin and has mainland Chinese ancestry. Very little is known of Taiwan's history at this time due to the lack of written sources, thus it can be inferred that there was no advanced civilisation present. However, Japanese and Chinese historians have made record of Taiwan, but neither of the then-empires ever intervened greatly in Taiwan.
This situation, however, came to an abrupt stop after the Qing dynasty was removed from power in mainland China in 1683, and sought refuge in Taiwan, officially annexing it. The island remained largely undeveloped until the 1800s when the Qing-ruled administration began to develop infrastructure in the country, which accelerated its growth tremendously. Some time after this, the Dutch and Spanish also discovered Taiwan, which opened Taiwan to trading routes. In 1895, Taiwan came under Imperial Japanese rule, which once again helped develop the island nation. 
After World War II and the Chinese Communist Revolution, the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) led by Chiang Kai-shek were forced into exile in Taiwan. This eventually became a major part of their culture, as they even now consider the Nationalists to be heroes who defended Taiwan and its people. Additionally, the Kuomintang gave major contribution to Taiwan's cultural scene by bringing with them the vast majority of cultural treasures from mainland China, as well as the entire Chinese gold reserve, which had been ever-increasing since the early days of the ancient dynasties of China. Their influence is still seen today, i everything from memorials to architecture.
As a result of all this turmoil and immigration, Taiwan today is an extraordinarily friendly place where people from all walks of life are generally accepted. Furthermore, the people tend to be ahead-thinking, and place great emphasis on ensuring the country's future, which includes everything from recycling and environmental protection to military readiness and a strong education system.
  • How does science and technology impact the Taiwanese lifestyle?

Science and technology are some of Taiwan's largest fields, in terms of industry, research, and education. Taiwanese tend to consider this important, as it is their greatest source on income, when considered on the national scale. 
In terms of industry, Taiwan produces numerous products including phone and computer components. This makes up the majority of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and provides income for a significant proportion of Taiwanese.
On the topic of research, Taiwan is quite advanced, as shown by its universities, including those that we have visited, being part of, or even leading, prestigious internal scientific projects. Furthermore, many of these institutions have highly advanced facilities as the local government finds their work to be of high priority, as it impacts the future of the country and even the world.
One major example of this is Taiwan's bridges. Due to the high frequency of earthquakes and typhoons in Taiwan, the nation has developed some of the most shock- and weather-resistant bridges in the world. To most, this is standing (no pun intended) proof of Taiwan's progression in engineering science, which accurately showcases the country's progress in other science and technology fields too.
Lastly, science and technology are considered to be of high importance in the Taiwanese education system as Taiwanese essentially consider science and technology-related fields to be the future of their country, and thus emphasises sciences in schools in order to nurture competent workers who will be able to bring their country to greater heights in the future.
  • What is the importance of science education in relation to the technological/economical progress of a country? Explain.

In a country, ensuring that students have a strong scientific background is important to ensure that people are able to ensure the country's continued survival in the ever-increasingly competitive international market, which is best achieved by consistent scientific and technological advancement and innovation.
In terms of economics, every country needs a strong science education system as it ensures that students are equipped to enter the workforce in science-related fields, which make up the backbone of the global economy today. Thus, science education is extremely important as it ensures that the country's industries are able to progress in the future.
A common example of this is computer chips, as the overwhelming majority of semiconductors, which are used to make microchips in our computers. This accurately showcases the need for scientific education, as it was in fact Taiwan's very own homegrown scientists who developed the technology to create 18-inch semiconductor disks, which is highly impressive, considering that they were the first country to do so on an industrial scale.
In the technological progress of a country, scientific education ensure that there will always be students who are both capable and interested in doing research work, which will help the country develop new technological innovations. It does so by cultivating a love of science, logic, and understanding in youth which they will carry with them throughout their lives.

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