When she first arrived in Miaoli City, Jasmine Phillips felt homesick for her life in Junee.
When she returned home to Junee a year later, she felt homesick for the life she'd left in Taiwan.
At age 15, she spent 12 months living and attending school in the city south of Taipei as part of the Rotary youth exchange program.
"I was nervous before I left because I knew my host family knew no English and I knew none of their language," said the now-17-year-old.
It took about four months of complete immersion to build her fluency in Mandarin, so that she could begin communicating with her new found friends and family.
"Everyone was so nice, they put in a lot of effort to speak to me in my language," she said.
"They appreciated it so much when I tried to speak in their language too."
Attending school and navigating around the country presented its significant linguistic challenges, as is commonly experienced by overseas travellers.
"I mispronounced words a lot and people would laugh but they helped me correct it. They were all so open to helping me," she said.
"The grammar and the writing is so hard. Each character has a lot of steps, so one wrong line can mean you've written a whole different word."
Having travelled with her family before setting out on her own, Miss Phillips had built an understanding of the challenges befitting cross-cultural experiences.
But having never been to Taiwan before, her arrival was still marked by marvel.
"Miaoli is a sort of country city, it's much smaller than Taipai which is the main city," she said.
"It's nothing like I thought it'd be, nothing like you might see in movies. There were huts everywhere and lots of greenery, not a skyscraper anywhere."
In the year since her journey, Miss Phillips has continued to practice her language skills, with the hopes she will return.
"My host-brother is getting married next year, so I'll be going back for that," she said.
"I've been to three [weddings in Taiwan] already and they're very different.
"The ceremony is not white, it's red. It's huge, everyone goes so the whole Rotary Club will be there.
"Traditional [weddings] are lengthy too, they have quests for the groom to prove himself to the bride's family."
Not something Miss Phillips set out to achieve, hindsight has governed her recognition of personal growth during her time abroad.
"I thought, 'an opportunity like this doesn't come around often', I learnt to be independent to make decisions on my own, and to put myself out there on my own," she said.
"It's opened my eyes to other opportunities, other languages, other ways of living."
"Now I know the area, they're not just my friends, they're my family. It's amazing to have connections all over the world."