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14

A gentle country with a spiritual calm, where

every man must spend a year of his life as a

Buddhist monk contemplating the meaning

of life. In contrast, the glittering gold temples,

colourful floating river markets and a fragrant

tropical atmosphere fill Bangkok, Thailand’s

capital city, with energy and activity.

As an ASSE exchange student, you can

live life as the Thais do, learning the language

and all about the fascinating Buddhist culture,

and experiencing the warm hospitality for

which Thais are known. The royal family still

earns enormous respect, though people today

balance religion, royalty, a modern political

system, and a rapidly growing economy.

Live an exchange year in this country of peace-

ful dignity and modern progress, and you will

have a special understanding of the complex

country of Thailand.

When Portuguese sailors first set foot on the

island of Taiwan in 1590 they christened it

Ilha Formosa, the “Beautiful Island,” because

of the lush, mountainous terrain they saw

stretched out before them. Today, all across

the island ancient temples punctuate the

landscape, and serve as popular social centers

as well as places of worship for the Taiwanese

people. Although there are three main reli-

gions–Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism

–they are all closely linked and share the same

philosophy: aiming to live in harmony with na-

ture by searching to strike a balance between

the calm, feminine side of the body and mind

(yin) and the active male side (yang).

As an ASSE exchange student in Taiwan

you will have the unique opportunity of experi-

encing firsthand the amazing contrast created

by the beauty and serenity of the Taiwanese

countryside, and the hustle and bustle of the

rapidly growing city of Taipei, which over the

last 20 years has been transformed into the

modern high-tech capital of the island. Spend

an ASSE exchange year in a land of such

fascinating polarity, learning the language and

being immersed in the culture. Gain a price-

less insight into a culture so vastly different

from your own.

One in five people in the world today lives in

China. It is a country whose history and civiliza-

tion stretch back thousands of years, a country

boasting regions as diverse as the country is

grand. A large proportion of the population

still lives in the countryside, mainly relying

on traditional methods to cultivate tea, rice

and cotton, but the number of city dwellers is

steadily rising. Spending a year living with a

Chinese family, mastering the intricacies of the

language, and gaining enhanced sensitivity to

the national culture, will help pave the way

for a successful understanding of one of

the world’s oldest and most impressive

civilizations.

By choosing to spend an ASSE exchange year

in China, you are stepping into a new world.

The language is totally different and the writ-

ing an art in itself. Say goodbye to knives and

forks, as chopsticks become your means to

sampling new and tasty Chinese dishes served

in small bowls. Discover that even the daily

chore of grocery shopping becomes an amaz-

ing adventure when small market stalls jam-

packed with interesting wares replace large

supermarkets, and where handlers haggle for

the best prices. Attend a Chinese high school,

and learn the importance of education in a

country where only those who graduate have

what it takes to compete in the expanding

economy. Most importantly, experience life

amongst a people who nurture close family

relations, loyalty and a dependency on one

another mostly unknown in the western world.

Thailand Taiwan

China