Saturday, May 11, 2013

AMSEP Taiwan for Philippines 2013 Report

Asian Medical Students’ Exchange Program Taiwan for Philippines 2013
A Report
By: Megan Bang-asan

he delegates for the Asian Medical Students’ Exchange Program Taiwan for Philippines, namely Angeli Anne Ang (AMSA-UERMMMC), Megan Bang-asan (AMSA-UERMMMC), Charmagne Loren Yerro (AMSA-UST), and Chris Jordan Go (AMSA-UERMMMC).
The delegates from UERM, Angel, Chris, and Meg, applied for their visas on the same day. Due to differences in schedule, Charm filed for visa application a day after. Because of this, it was said that the embassy demanded extra requirements from her and only released her visa a few days before departure for Taiwan.
Year Level
Angeli Anne Ang
2nd Year
Term. 1
Feb. 16
Feb. 22
Megan Bang-asan*
1st Year
Term. 2
Feb. 15
Feb. 23
Charmagne Loren Yerro
2nd Year
Term. 1
Feb. 16
Feb. 24
Chris Jordan Go
2nd Year
Term. 1
Feb. 16
Feb. 22

Figure 1. Delegate Information. Legend: (*) – Chief Delegate.
Meg, the appointed Chief Delegate, arrived in Taipei one day early and was promptly greeted at the airport by AMSEP Coordinator for National Taiwan University (NTU) Chang Sheng-wei. After taking a long bus ride, the two walked to the humble yet adequate Taipei Hostel. She checked in and had her things deposited in the room. Then, they commenced with a personalized tour of Taipei.

She was briefly familiarized with the transportation systems of the city. Casual talks also led to learning about the way of living, economy, history, and aboriginal culture of Taipei. She was toured around the Taiwan Expo Park, and particularly the Taipei Story House, in Yuanshan. The pair discussed and compared the public and private medical education system of the host and delegate country. After dinner, she was escorted to the hotel, and briefed about what was to happen on the next day.

Figure 2. Select pictures from Meg’s first day in Taiwan.

Day 0 started with the arrival of the other delegates, Angeli, Charm, and Chris, at the airport. Presumably, they took the bus and were dropped off at the same site as the Chief Delegate, who met them at a designated meeting place. Prior to the meet-up, Meg was allowed to explore the area on her own.

Following lunch, the delegates were given Easy Cards for paying transportation. It is suitable to note that other hosts were surprised at the type of Easy Cards bought for the delegates. One said that the Student and not the Adult Card should have been bought because of the lower fares. Nevertheless, the delegates and their hosts took the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) to NTU in Gongguan Station, where they checked into the Lu Ming Guest House and left their luggage. 

Immediately after check-in, the delegates went to Dongmen to try out local food, which the delegates had to pay for, before being directed to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall where, before having a chance to freely wander about and frolic in the gardens, they were able to watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. After, they went to the Welcome Dinner.

The Welcome Dinner, held at an eat-all-you-can sukiyaki restaurant, provided an opportunity for the delegates to meet some of the hosts from Taiwan Medical University (TMU), including Coordinator Lee Tsung-min, for the first time and to make friends with all of them. The night was capped with sharing of stories.

Figure 3. Pictures from the official Day 0 in Taiwan.

The delegates were accompanied by NTU students back to their dormitory and again, briefed on what was to happen the next day and what time they should be ready.

Wakeup call & Breakfast
Tours (if applicable)
Briefing and Rest
Figure 4. General Timeline of events for days prior to departure.

Breakfast was brought to the delegates on time every single day by Arnold Peng, a first year NTU student. After or even during breakfast, they would proceed with tours. 

The primary mode of transportation was the MRT. Buses were used less frequently. By the end of the program, some of the delegates already knew the train routes. The tours also involved a considerable amount of walking, leaving the delegates with sore feet at the end of the day.

Food was authentic, diverse, and delightful. Lunch and Dinner time was variable and dependent on whether the delegates already had their fill of touring. There was one instance when the delegates expressed desire to try Din Tai Fung, a Michelin-star restaurant known for their Xiao Long Bao. The hosts never failed in filling up the delegates’ stomachs. 

Delegates were given ample time to roam around and shop in the night markets. Angel and Charm were delighted, especially Charm who was not prepared for the cold weather of Taiwan. Meanwhile, Meg and Chris were able to play games and try more delicacies.

Briefing was always done at the end of the day due to changes in schedule. 

15 Feb: Friday
Megan’s Arrival
Personal Tour (Taipei Story House, Taiwan Expo Park)
16 Feb: Saturday
Angeli, Charmagne and Chris’s Arrival
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall*
Welcome Dinner
17 Feb: Sunday
National Palace Museum
Zhi Shan Garden
Shilin Mansion
Shilin Night Market
18 Feb: Monday
National Taiwan University (NTU) Campus Tour
Lungshan Temple
Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Shida Night Market*
19 Feb: Tuesday
Pulitzer Prize Photographs Exhibit*
Xinyi Commercial District*
20 Feb: Wednesday
NTU Medical Campus and Hospital Tour
21 Feb: Thursday
Taiwan Medical University Campus and Hospital Tour
Taipei 101 Observatory*
Farewell Party
22 Feb: Friday
Personal tour (Maokong, Taipei Lantern Festival, Shilin Night Market)

Figure 5. Final Itinerary sent the day before the arrival of the first delegate.
Legend: (*): not part of itinerary; Highlighted: NTU hosts; No highlight: TMU hosts

Most of the tours were presided over by the students, with NTU and TMU hosting alternating days. Some notable exceptions, wherein guides were employed, were the tours around the NTU Museum and Library, Lungshan Temple, Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, NTU Center of Genomic Medicine, and TMU Hospital.

The Farewell Party was held the day before Angel and Chris’s departure and may be considered the end of the program. The party was a simple dinner, where the delegates and hosts shared their experiences and souvenirs. Afterwards, they said their goodbyes and the delegates were escorted to their dorm to pack.

Figure 6. The delegates and some of the hosts after the Farewell Party.

Joining AMSEP was definitely a fun and unforgettable learning experience for both the delegates and the hosts. Given the chance, the delegates would do it all over again.

End note
Pictures of the program, taken by Chris Go, can be seen in the following link:


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