I am Julia (24) and have taken part in the Blind Applying campaign. I have been selected by Evonik for an internship at the Advanced Project House Light & Electronics (PHLE) in Hsinchu, Taiwan. For five months, I will be working on the synthesis and application of metal oxide particle coatings and experience a new culture and living environment. For more information about Blind Applying visit www.blindapplying.com

Thursday, 3 July 2014

world cup and office sport

It's soccer time all around the world and Evonik’s Project House Light and Electronics completed the collection of intern stickers already. The day usually starts with a discussion about the changes of the positions in the department’s tipping game and ends quite late as the time difference between Taiwan and Brazil makes it a bit hard to watch the games. We went to bars in Hsinchu downtown for the group matches of Germany and watched the eighth-final against Algeria at the office at 4 am. – The only day I started to work at 6.30 am in Taiwan ^^
Our Spanish and British workmates were released from this kind of problems at a quite early stage of the world cup. :D

One of our Taiwanese colleagues told us the Argentina shirts had been sold out but most likely because Taiwanese prefer the colour rather than the soccer skills of the country’s team. Soccer is not a very popular sport in Taiwan but still some people watch games at the weekends and you can see some decoration from time to time.

Besides soccer, some interns are really into another sport which is about increasing the sensitivity for knowledge protection issues. So once you forget to lock your computer when leaving your desk for a minute, your desktop backround is changed to friendly remind you that anyone could do whatever he/she wants with your data.
Well, let’s see if we will have more serious office wars after the France – Germany match tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 June 2014


... is one of the most popular sports in Taiwan, even though there were some game-fixing scandals in the past which led to a decline in attendance. In the CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League), four teams are competing so that one team plays several times against the same team during a season. In April, we went to see a game in the Taoyuan Stadium with our language exchange group.

(In my case language exchange means I ask questions in English about the Chinese language and try to repeat some Chinese phrases which are commented by friendly encouraging nods of polite Taiwanese who pretend it is somehow possible to understand what I am saying.)

The game started around 6.30 pm and ended after three and a half hours when the Lamigo Monkeys finally managed to run around once – Well, in memory of my time in Australia, let’s say baseball is not as boring as cricket. 

But it is less about watching the game and more about cheering anyway. Motivated by an orange-haired guy and a bunch of cute cheerleaders, the spectators shake and clap little plastic baseball bats, scream and dance short choreographies. During the last few innings, the atmosphere before every single pitch was like during a penalty kick in a soccer match.

So in summary: an evening like a huge children’s birthday party.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

dragon boat festival

It has been a while since my last post. Some work for my past and future research, I did in the evenings and on the weekends, as well as the usual behaviour of computers when you try to finish something important was one reason for that. I guess my friend was just worried that I do not get enough sleep and forced me to stop (Is your Mac so caring? :P) The second reason was yesterday's dragon boat festival and the corresponding training sessions.
The Evonik interns got the chance to join the "Dragonboat Legends", the team of the Hsinchu International School, who won the competition of the international teams (no way to be up to the standard of the Taiwanese) in the last few years. So after warming up properly, 
  • reach as far ahead as possible
  • dig the paddle in with force to the end of the blade
  • pull back as straight as possible and not too far back
  • go back to the first position as fast as possible
and most important: be synchronized with the other 15 paddlers. At the finish, a person on the dragon's head catches a flag and throws it into the water and the team whose flag touches the water first wins. The paddling is actually not so exhausting for your arms but the back and one leg will definitely hurt the day after.

We became second which was a massive disappointment for most of the other (male ^^) interns and a reason for extensive discussion about what happened and why and ...

 Well, no worries, it was heaps of fun and the commitment of everyone (including our hydrophilic flag catcher) was very high =)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

long distance Mother's Day gift

As I am far away and could not think of anything useful amazon could deliver to Mama to show her how much I appreciate that she has always been a strong and hard-working woman who served as an example for me and supported me in following my dreams, I went on this website and donated some money to help to register more potential stem cell donors for leukaemia patients (btw, registration is easy and for free). 

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

my new little universe

After solving some initial problems, all doors in the flat are unlocked, I even have my own key to the house and can use the A-GPS of my phone when I get lost. =) Despite some new problems (e.g. 142 mosquito (or something similar) bites on my right leg – too lazy to count the ones on the left but the estimated number for it is fortunately lower), I could settle in and get familiar with my new environment.

Around 8.30, I go to work by bus number 5608 which has a timetable in the style of 'busses go from 6.15 to 22.45 every 10 to 20 min.' (This is just a guess as I can only read the numbers ^^) So the variance of the waiting time is comparable to what I am used to since my time in Australia (and less compared to trävelling wis Deutsche Bahn).
Evonik’s veilchenblaue (it seems, the heart is (vlei) net only beating for the BVB ;-)) world is located at the ITRI campus. Besides quite a lot of measurement devices to characterize materials, there is sophisticated equipment in the coffee corner which supports reading and creating of violet powerpoint slides as well as filling space above the 'confidential information' label which is printed on every page of my thick black lab journal.  

I have lunch with the other interns at the ITRI canteen and usually buy some food from the diverse take aways around our residence for dinner. It is getting easier to find the way to get home, but still …
... the universe is expanding ...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

a list of first impressions

  • a warm welcome from my flatmates (also European interns at Evonik) and a lot of help to get started in Taiwan
  • a mattress on the floor, a desk and an office cupboard (= entire furniture of my room) in a clean flat with a big living room and two bathrooms in a 16-storey building with a large swimming pool
  • busy streets with heaps of scooters driving like in Roma

  • Sim card and transponder card to pay for public transport were easy to get, ATM next door
  • phone: "connection not available, unable to perform operation" atm: "error. transaction cannot be processed"
  • eating with chopsticks works quite well
  • a lot of signs in English, very few people can speak English
  • charger of the toothbrush works with the 110 V power supply, hairdryer doesn't

  • greatly relieved - the atm finally decided to give me money

already the first weekend trip - my very kind workmates invited me to join them for the FGS weekend temple retreat in Kaohsiung (more information) to learn about Buddhism and experience the monastic way of life 
  • saw and heard a lot of things, I never came across before
  • heard a  lot of things, I came across quite often because they are common sense
  • still cannot really connect to the idea of beeing religious

back in Hsinchu
  • starting to feel sick - nose closed, sore throat - probably because it is, especially compared to outside, freaking cold everywhere inside 
  • locked myself out of the second bathroom where all my stuff is in and gonna be a purely natural beauty on my first working day tomorrow

Friday, 11 April 2014


Yesterday, I finally arrived in Taiwan.
The last one and a half week in Germany was busy even though I felt like doing nothing. To deal with organizational matters is time consuming and unproductive. I would have liked to spend all the time with friends and family but I was just running here and there, calling people and writing to get some stuff finished. I managed nearly everything I wanted to do before leaving. Just my international driver's license is still at the local city office of my home town (Gera – if you do not know it, I can recommend this ad of a local consulting company, if you know it, I can recommend to watch it even more ^^ Gera - Ich komme wieder) When I arrived in Gera on Tuesday, the office had just closed - how dissapointing. =(

I spent the night repacking my bags to lower the weight of my luggage. So I was already tired in the morning at 8 am when my train to the airport was leaving and managed to sleep a bit in the plane. I usually do it like that because I have some (bigger) problems with fear of flying. Around 4 pm the next day (Taiwanese time), I saw the ocean and the island for the very first time.