dasmania wrote:lol you sound pretty crafty, I like your style. Well maybe I'll try it for the first semester and see how things go. Wouldn't hurt to get to know a bunch of people off the bat, hopefully no crazies. Whats that they say though, if you look around the room and you can't see the crazy person, its probably you. Some noodles for thought.
Ha, I did go a little "guerilla" trying to learn Mandarin. And this was back in the late 90s. I bet people in the 70s and 80s had it even worse.
You know the best time to get on campus and make friends, now that I think about it, is summer session. The summer students are remedial students, of which there are lots of overseas Chinese whose Chinese isn't as good as the locals so they end up flunking classes. They're easier to befriend because they're not really treated the same as local Taiwanese students and don't fit in very well themselves.
I found it hard to enter the regular student groups, though people were nice, but I could tell they were sort of just tolerating me. Taiwanese student identities are pretty rigidly constructed around school identities, like xue2jie3 and xue2mei4, and tong2ban1tong2xue2. If you don't have this predefined relationship, it's a little harder to smoothly integrate. It's like there's no predefined reason to be friends. The regular students are a bit more hesistant about going outside the fold, they're just trying to keep up with their tongxue's group activities.
I got a much better reception at the adult cram school I taught at in the neighborhood. There were plenty of university students going there (in addition to their regular classes), and they wanted to take me out after class and hang out. But on campus, I felt like I didn't fit in that much. It was mostly the students that I'd met through the cram school that ended up befriending me and became my Taiwanese friends.