Taiwan blog #3 – Elephant mountain has no elephants

Wow I can’t believe we have already passed the halfway point of our journey in Taiwan! Every week seems to be better than the last and these past 2 weeks have been keeping the trend.


For starters one of my bigger fears being abroad was how I was going to get a decent haircut since my hair grows abnormally fast. After a few quick google searches my friend, Brendon, found a barber shop where they spoke English! So for all of you applicants worrying if you’re going to have to go bald and let your hair grow back for 10 weeks (which one of my roommates here actually did—he cut his hair extremely short before coming to Taiwan and just let it grow for 10 weeks because he was too afraid to get a haircut): you have nothing to worry about!


The weekend excursions we went on these past 2 weeks were very history related: the group, led by Rachel (she’s so awesome) went to Tainan to visit Chimei Museum (which has been hands down one of my favorite museums in Taiwan) which had a wide range of exhibits from prehistoric animals to European history—it was interesting to see how other cultures were being showcased in Taiwan because the thought of that never really occurred to me living in America where “diversity” is supposed to be a norm for us. Afterwards, we visited Anping fort (Fort Zeelandia)  and Anping Treehouse. Fort Zeelandia was an exhibit showcasing the Dutch rule over the island of Taiwan. Anping Treehouse is a broken down warehouse that was overtaken by trees. The amount of greenery in Taiwan still astonishes me having lived in big cities such as Philadelphia and San Diego where everywhere you look you see buildings and not plentiful trees.

Anping Treehouse
Outside Chimei Museum







The group also had a tea plantation tour and learned about the history of tea in Taiwan. Almost every single restaurant we had been to serves complimentary tea and not water so it was definitely interesting to learn the history behind it. The tour consisted of seeing where the plants were grown, visiting an old tea house to have a tea tasting, and then going to a tea museum.


Elephant Mountain
Shifen Waterfall

Other notable places we went to these past 2 weeks include: Cijin beach, Shifen waterfall, and Elephant mountain. All offered amazing views so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking!

The research picked up these past 2 weeks as well. In Guo’s lab we have journal presentations which is given based off an article that is related to your research topic. I gave my presentation on how aging affects motor unit recruitment. Really spend time doing good literature reviews because these articles are what help solidify your understanding of your research topic. Alongside these journal presentations we also have weekly progress reports that we present as well. For my project specifically, I spent these past 2 weeks collecting healthy subject data (so everyone in my cohort and our lab mates). The protocol is pretty straightforward, the subject is strapped into an isometric leg extension machine with surface EMG’s attached to their vastus medialis (inner thigh muscle). I then record maximal voluntary contractions and will be measuring and comparing initial firing rates with recruitment alongside terminal firing rates with de-recruitment.

Guo lab undergrad Rachel getting tested

The weather has been great these past 2 weeks as well so let’s hope it stays this way because the group has lots more exciting things planned! Best, Lam

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