Do you not know what you want?

Do you doubt yourself?

Well, if this is the case, stop, feel, and find your inner home of passion. Find out who you are, what do you want, and why?

If you could do anything you want, what would that be?

Everything you choose to believe originates from your mind-set. If you believe in ghosts or trolls under your bed, it all comes from your weirdly creative mind-set. So, what if you started changing your focus from the negative to the positive?

Start focusing on your dreamworld.

Chase that dreamworld.

Work hard, and play hard.

Start to try being comfortable outside of the comfort zone. 

Find people that you think are inspiring, look at their path and place yourself in the new passionate feet of yours.

Jump with both feet and go for whatever that is.

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1. Get a better understanding of international relations

2. Learn to know yourself better in various circumstances

3. Get a global network

4. Learn languages

5. Broaden your horizon and deepens your curiosity

6. Catalyst for personal development and independence

7. See your home from outside-in, interesting lens

8. Witness contemporary issues from different perspectives

9. Cultural understandings

10. Seize opportunites in terms of work, volunteering, study

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I skrivende stund er det er lyn og tordenvær ut av dimensjoner som jeg aldri har opplevd før. Jeg befinner meg på toppen av et fjell i Taipei, Taiwan. Noen ganger fanger jeg meg selv i å tenke hvordan i alle dager ender jeg stadig vekk opp så langt hjemmefra? I dét jeg tenker på det kommer jeg frem til at det må være en form for nysjerrighet som stadig treffer meg. Norge er et lite land, og jeg har vel aldri heller følt meg til freds ved å være på ett sted for lenge.

Jeg søker stadig etter nye utfordringer og opplevelser som jeg senere kan se tilbake på med fascinasjon og glede. Jeg tror ikke jeg er den eneste som befinner meg i dette scenarioet, å ville reise ut og ikke binde seg til hjemstedet for alltid. Nysjerrigheten er et verktøy jeg aldri kommer til å legge fra meg, fordi selv om Taipei, Taiwan er ufattelig annerledes enn Norge, så vil nysjerrigheten fortsette å dra meg til nye steder.

Hvordan er mitt hjemsted i Norge (Sverige kan jeg også dra inn her, men fokusrer på Telemark nå) annerledes enn Taiwan? Svaret er på ufattelige mange måter. Det er ikke bare naturen som stikker seg ut, men det er levesettet til menneskene her, kulturen, normene, maten, for å ikke snakke om språket.

Det er temperaturen, utendørs er det tropisk og like klamt som Drammensbadet, mens innendørs kan en fryse, altså motsatt fra i Norge. En drikker ikke kaldt vann, men lunket vann her i Taiwan. En starter ikke å lese boken forfra, men bakfra. En har ikke alfabet, men ulike tegn. Mange ting er altså motsatt i Taiwan. Så ja, det er annerledes, men det er også så utorlig fascinerende. Kulturesjokkene kommer krypende opp skulderen stadig vekk, men nysjerrigheten lar lysten på å reise forbli.

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Nå er det snart 3 mnd siden jeg kom til Taiwan for første gang. Tiden flyr som bare det- helt utrolig hvordan tidsperspektiv endrer seg når man er ute og reiser. Jeg er veldig fornøyd med oppholdet mitt så langt, selv om mange ting er veldig annerledes. Jeg har hoppet ut av komfortsonen min mange ganger siden jeg flytttet hjemmefra for å gå på videregående skole. Nå dras komfortsonen ut til lengre vidder, og den blir "stretcet" i alle retninger. Likevel, å gå ut av komfortsonen trenger vel ikke være en negativ ting? Jeg ser på det som veldig positivt, da en lærer å se ting fra ulike perspektiver. Flytte rundt og oppleve nye kulturer og levemåter er fantastisk, fordi en ser seg selv i ulike situasjoner.

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Life-Work Balance in TaiPei 

After coming to Taipei, Taiwan, I have encountered a wonderful culture in terms of how to maintain a life-work balance. The Taiwanese are the best people I have seen, when it comes to balance their lives, work, and even diets. They are so balanced, that they drink warm water, instead of cold, in order to maintain the balanced temperature within their bodies. Before coming to Taiwan, an island with 23 million people, I expected it to have a quite stressful, rushed, and "speedy" environment. It is the total opposite, people are so calm, and even the Metro station is a place to relax. The train/Metro-station is surrounded by healing music, in order for the citizens to have their attention down to their feet before/after a long work-day.

Family Visit & Spring Break

My dad Erik and his girlfriend Maria came to visit Taiwan for 1.5 weeks, thus staying in Taipei for the two weekends, and bicycling in Taiwan the weekdays between. The feeling of having family visit from the other side of the globe is unbelievable and surreal. Over the two last years I have seen family and friends probably less than the average 20 year old, but then it feels even more special when re-united. Also, I am not planning to live on the other side of the globe forever. Down below are some of the places we went during our Spring Break.

Matsu Festival & Pilgrimage

This is definitely my biggest culture shock so far. Amongst of the places we went, but that there is no pictures of in this post, is the Matsu Festival. In Taiwan people volunteer to walk a 9-days long pilgrimage, where they are following their God Matsu. This experience had me face the biggest cultural shock in Taiwan so far, because the spirituality was at a whole other level. There was fire-crackers, people dressing up after their God, and families leaving food outside their homes, locals that wandered with the Matsu figure, in order to get blessings for life.


Not only is the nature beautiful, but the way people live in harmony 

Tamsui River Side of Taiwan

Yang Min Shan National Park

Mochi Dessert

Maria & Dad coming from Sweden to visit

Tamsui, Taipei

Harald & My new roommate, Gabrielle

Tamsui, Taipei

Peace & Love

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After coming to Taiwan I have learnt two things

1. Never expect too much, never expect too little.

2. Always be open-minded in terms of how you interpret the surrounding people,
environment, and situations you find yourself in.

TAIWAN IS COOL.

Yes, there are so many differences between Norway and Taiwan - little is comparable. Yet, it is a pleasure to study here. Why? Well, because it is a very relational society, which means that the term "social" is seen as a must. People hang for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the lectures here are based on both discussion and critical thinking.

The Taiwanese are hard-working. I feel that my schedule is making the glass drop over, but I still find it to be a pleasure. As of cultural chocks, yes, I meet them everyday. However, the sunshine, inevitable exploration opportunities, and friendly people, makes it worth it. Note: You will never be bored in Taiwan.


Yes, Taiwan is unknown. BUT: Taiwan is growing rapidly, both in terms of technology and recognition. I see a lot of international students here, and there is more to come. Taiwan, yet not as known as Hong Kong or Tokyo, will be at its glance in some years to go.


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STUDYING

International Business, B.B.A // & CHINESE!

It is officially over a whole month since I came to Taipei, Taiwan. My previous posts have been most oriented about my impressions of Taiwan thus far. Now I thought of sharing what I do in Taiwan, why I chose Taiwan, and how I like it here. Both Harald and I came to Taipei, Taiwan to study International Business, we are both studying the B.B.A (Bachelor of Business Administration), at National Chengchi University. We are "studying away" from our home uni in Tacoma, Greater-Seattle at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). Basically, I am trying o maximize my schedule here, because I know there will be a long time until I am studying in Asia - maybe for masters, maybe not, at least a couple of years to from now.What we know for sure, is that when returning back to Seattle, WA there is one year of "Optional Practical Training" waiting for us. Hopefully, after graduating in May 2018 there is a exciting job somewhere in this diverse country.

Millennials are facing a lot of obstacles in terms of gaining the best type of work experience, for sure - yet, why let this effect one´s wish of the future? If you think negatively, it will be negative. As of Taiwanese University experience, the lectures here are 3h each, which makes it easier to focus and get your mind on the right track. Back in U.S., the lectures are 50 min, with a pause in between, which in turn makes the Taiwanese classes favorable in terms of time limit. The professors here are very polite and professional in their fields. As of Chinese, we both take 6h each week, and hoping to learn 400 characters by the end of a couple of months - - Woop Woop. I may officially regret sharing this. As of grades, teachers grade from A to C, similar to that of US and Norway (I assume.)

VOLUNTEERING

Teaching Middle Schooler´s // Brainwave Technology helping Mindfulness

Besides of studying my subjects: finance, accounting, statistics, marketing, Chinese, and consumer behavior, Harald and I are both volunteering as English Tutors at the "Affiliated High School of National Chengchi Uni." I am teaching 10 Taiwanese 7th graders in Middle School English on Mondays for one hour. They are all boys, and yes -- it´s challenging to be a teacher when you have no background doing this, however - a great experience to step out of the comfort zone. There are really a lot of opportunities in Taiwan, and I am shocked every day of how large a city Taipei is. The second volunteer project we have this semester is in a Technology Company in which their products originate from "Brainwave Technology." Amongst their products is a "Zen Lamp" that connects your brain to an iPad illustrating your brain movements, and here we can distinguish peoples´ attributes, strengths, weaknesses, energy levels, amongst more. The technological aspect of Asia shocks me each time, because here I feel especially Norway is leaning behind on their development.


EXPLORING TAIWAN & HOW WE LIVE

After being here for one month I must say there have already been a lot of adventures in Taiwan. It is really easy to get around here, the public transportation is significant. This is something I will truly miss when heading back to Seattle, because Taipei actually provides better transport than Washington State. There are high speed rails, and public buses everywhere at all times. As of convenience, Taipei surprised me when I witnessed the 7/11 convenient stores (similar to that of Shell/Statoil in Norway). We were a group of students PRE-GAMING at 7/11. At 7/11 in Taiwan you can find ATMs to withdraw money, restrooms, buy wine, spirits, beer, fill your phone with data/calling, do laundry, buy dinner, meals, basics for school - yes, all this in one convenient store (bensin-stasjon). Enough said about 7/11 (No, I am not trying to be sponsored here, haha). So far, I have seen multiple temples, been at the Elephant Mountain viewing e.g. Taipei 101 which is one of the tallest, 2nd I believe, sky-scraper in the world. As of night life, there are some very nice clubs in Taipei Downtown, so far we have been to Halo, Triangle, Electro. A lot of internationals at Traingle, cool rooftop and view at Halo, while most people and the longest line at Electro.


Yes, I have a "Boo" Teddy Bear. I will say foreign students are allowed to,
as they may encounter homesickness at some moment in their exchange program.


SOME CULTURAL SHOCKS

As of living situation: both Harald and I live in the college dorms. One cultural shock is how strict people are here in terms of separating girl & boys´ dorms. You may visit the other gender as long as you wear a green vest and before 5pm. Hm - definitely re-consider your option of living in the dorms, if you are to study at NCCU in Taipei. At least it is easy to focus in the dorms, as there are no sororities or parties around campus. My roommate is French, and the dorm is located at the top of a mountain with a whole jungle surrounding it. There are temples and tea-houses 10 minutes of walking distance, we live right by the "Maokong" area, and very close to Taipei Zoo. There are some international students here, mostly French, German, and a lot of Latin Americans. So far, I have seen only myself and Harald as Norwegians, and 9 Swedish students thus far. When it comes to cultural shocks, these are met when encountering so many different types of foods, you may be put in situations where you cannot describe exactly what you are eating, but you will save yourself from this hustle if join some locals.

The language barrier here is large, I wish I knew some more Chinese before coming here, so now I am more dedicated about the Chinese than any of my core business classes at the moment. The more Chinese you know, the more fun and the more local you will feel, obviously. As of costs, I have the impression that clothes and foreign brands are quite expensive here. The supermarkets/grocery shops like Jasons is also quite strict in their price, could somewhat be similar to WholeFoods in US or Meny in Norway. However, when buying fruits, buy in the seasons and always bring a local, if you don´t speak fluent Chinese. This will prevent you from paying more than you are supposed to.

THE ATMOSPHERE // ENVIRONMENT

The city of Taipei is literarily mixed between the green forest. It is so beautiful, especially the greenery after the rain seasons. There is a river passing the campus and university, and there are temples and tea-houses a short walk away. What I have not yet explored, but I know is a large tourist attraction, is the hotspots in Beitou District. There is a large city-life atmosphere with all the skyscrapers and large malls, life "Bellevita" or Taipei 101. I am very impressed by how much Taipei offers in terms of shopping, I have found more here than in Seattle and in Oslo. The malls are extreme, and what I find favorable is the ability to find the local foods, versus the famous large chains, as Italian or American food brands. They even have Norwegian Salmon at a lot of the cafés, and the environment here is very friendly. I see a lot of happy people, and not least, calm people. In Taipei, I would sum it up by saying modernized, deeply cultured, and diverse.

That was it for now -- hope some of you are tempted to visit Taiwan, I truly recommend it 

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Woah. Taiwan, You Keep Surprising. 
This weekend we went to a trip with the CIEE organization that both Harald and I are studying away through. CIEE are nice to plan various excursions and activities for us, amongst one of them we have had the three-days trip where we travelled with an awesome karaoke bus through this wonderful island. I keep being surprised and impressed by how much complexity there is in this culture. Everything from high-speed trains to low-key people that seem to be so relaxed and down to earth in this "buzzing" atmosphere of Asian development. We study at a National University in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, which itself sounds to be a very industrial area with a lot of growth, and that is true. What else is true is that Taiwan has basically everything one could look for in terms of vacation.


There are temples and fascinating art that ties back to hundreds of years ago, there are palms, pineapple growth in the mountains, and gondolas that take you to famous hot-spots or tea-houses. There are amazingly big shopping malls that looks more luxurious than what I myself could ever imagine. There are night markets, beaches and coast-lines to make fire and enjoy the sunsets, there are large mountain to do hiking, jungle and tropical islands surrounding Taiwan. And no, this is not me pretending to be Expedia, hehe, but my aim is to show that Taiwan is actually a hidden beauty.


We keep exploring places here in Taiwan that seems to be the "Silicon Valley" of Taiwan. However, in all of this technological growth and 23 million people that live on this small island, there is so much fascinating and deep culture. By saying deep culture I could mean everything from the buddhist/taoism religion, food, music, chinese characters, taosim, art, and even the way of living.

Personally, I have the impression that the buddhist culture made people more aware of the present moment, and made the Taiwanese to be better at enjoying the current moment.

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