Type ‘B’ in Taipei by Jacob Magasanik

This summer, I helped my mother move across the country and helped my sister move into her first college dorm. For my mother and sister, these were highly stressful events. Ironically, I will make the farthest move as I journey to The National Taiwan University in Taipei, but I am not experiencing the same stress that they did. It could be that the change has not truly sunk in yet, or that I have prepared well, having taken Chinese for six years, but I chalk it up to my Type B personality, marked by being generally less anxious.

Another aspect of the Type B personality is the tendency to reflect on the world and concepts within it. The prospect of doing so in Taiwan interests me greatly—how better to get a different perspective on the world than to see it from its literal other side? I have tailored my Finance classes, which will be taught in English, to best give me a Chinese outlook on business. How do they view their unprecedented economic rise? What does a regional or global hegemon mean to the Chinese? What do they think of their current stock market crisis? I am excited to ponder.

I view Taiwan as a step into the shallow end of the pool—Taiwan has a fascinating history wherein it has been pulled by both American and Chinese forces. It is less regulated than the mainland; the Internet is largely unfettered and they have their own separate government. But soon enough, I will swim to the deeper end on weekend voyages to the mainland and then my second semester abroad, which I will spend in Beijing. The final aspect of a Type B personality that I will share is the propensity to enjoy the journey, not simply the destination. I intend to.

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