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Rahul Agarwal is a 2nd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Chemical Engineering.
Tuntex Sky tower hotel
nǐ hǎo everybody !!
About the university
National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) is a research university located in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It is essentially a national think tank; more than half its organizations are research centres. Despite its medium size, NSYSU is considered as one of the most prestigious universities in Cross-Strait Economic Zone. In Taiwan, it is best mathematics research college and 3rd best ranked business school, furthermore, one of 50 best universities under the age of 50 worldwide
It was the month of February and almost all of my friends had bagged some or the other intern, I got to know about an IAF open for a foreign university. At first I was very skeptical about applying because the stipend was not much and other reimbursements also barely covered the expenses but still I applied for it. For applying you need to write up a statement of purpose which needs to reflect that you have certain previous experience related to computational fluid dynamics and biofuels is sufficient enough to get you selected.
Now at first when I got selected I really could not believe that I had been selected for a foreign univ intern just on the basis of statement of purpose and my resume. But still it is the best intern I could have hoped for, in second year in my core subject of Chemical Engineering.
About the intern
As 4 weeks is a very small duration to complete any task hence the professor had already told us that we were expected to work for at least 3 months, upon coming back from the intern.
Each visiting student is assisted by a guide who has worked on a similar topic before. My guide was a master’s student so he had a pretty good grasp on the topic and was very helpful. Communication was a problem but Google translate really came in handy.
My project was to build a computational model for an experimental research paper and reproduce the experimental results from the paper. The computational model was to be made using the in-house code provided to me at the start of the intern. My model was to simulate the natural convection flows inside a closed cubic cavity with a rotating heated horizontal cylinder along the central axis using the lattice Boltzmann method to solve the convection flow. The internship plan was quite informal and is more based on your own capabilities. The working hours were roughly from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm but we could work from our dorm room as well. As for reporting my work progress, each week I had to give a presentation to the professor and whole lab group at the end of which there used to be a Question-Answer session based on the presentation and the professor would suggest the next course of action for each one of us.
The university had provision of separate dorms for international students. In international dorm you really have the opportunity to interact with many new people belonging to different nationalities and the friends I made here have given me everlasting memories. The dorms are provided with AC in each room and a refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, microwave, lounge, washroom and a kitchen on every floor. Each morning the view of the beach from the lounge gives a perfect start for the day. The university is surrounded on four sides by both sea and mountains. On foot, the only way in and out of the university is a tunnel through the mountains. The sizihwan metro station was a 20 minutes walking distance from our dorm so it was very convenient if you wanted to go for an outing any time.
Being my first trip abroad, Taiwan really had me wanting for more such experiences. People in Taiwan are arguably the most kind and helpful people I have met in my life .They would go out of their way to help others. Basic courtesy exchange like xie- xie (for thank you) and bu ke qi (you are welcome) are used more often than you will expect normally. One more thing that I found interesting was the fact that Taiwanese people are much more direct with foreigners, I don’t know the reason though.
Kaohsiung is the last stop of Taiwan High Speed Rail (a bit costly but worth it), south of Kaohsiung you can go to Kenting by road which is a beautiful national park surrounded by beaches where you can enjoy scuba diving and other water sports. For natural scenery, you must visit Alishaan Mountains and Sun- moon lake, Nantou but these places are a bit far from Kaohsiung city. The city of Kaohsiung has the largest network of cycling tracks in the whole of Taiwan and you can easily rent a bike using i-pass (just like an e-wallet) which is a smart card that is accepted by almost all public transports in Kaohsiung and Taipei.
The eastern coast of Taiwan is not quite developed, with almost no metropolitan cities, but on the other hand, the western coast is highly developed and urbanized, with all of the major cities like Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung located here. Taipei truly is one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
Now, regarding the food if you are vegetarian then the food here might be quite a problem and should prefer cooking yourself. But if you are a non- vegetarian and that too a seafood lover, then Taiwan is a paradise for you! Also, a local Taiwan drink known as bubble tea is a must try.
Overall I did feel tha the taste of the food was a little bland because Taiwanese, being health conscious don’t like too much spices or sugar in their food but you will get used to it. For daily meals, (atleast for non-vegetarians) eating food outside isn’t too pricey after all, and seems the best option since cooking food is time consuming and moreover, the campus has many eateries . People in Taiwan eat dinner quite early so you will have to adjust to that because after 8:00 pm almost all restaurants and shops close down.
Kaohsiung is well known of having numerous amounts of large and organized night markets, such as the Liuhe Night Market and Ruifeng Night Market, as well as having the biggest night market in Taiwan, the Kaisyuan Night Market. The night markets have loads of weird stuff to eat, buy and see.
I wish that I could have stayed more in Taiwan but alas, all trips have to come to an end. If you have managed to read it till now then I hope that I was able to describe my journey in the best way possible. Overall, the trip was really worth it. The things I’ve learnt, the people I’ve met, the food I’ve eaten will stay with me forever.