This is my last entry for my study abroad experience in Taiwan. Since I got here I have had none but good things happen to me, blessings I would call them If I wasn’t trying to avoid sounding cliché. It’s my last day in Taiwan since tomorrow morning I’ll be taking a flight to San Francisco. I’m currently in Taoyuan and I’m meeting with a friend at 3:30 at the Taipei main train station (it is 1:49 right now), I also spent all day yesterday exploring Taichung with a friend.
I look back now and I’m filled with a plethora of feelings. Sad because I’m leaving such a wonderful country and all the friends I made here without knowing when I will have the chance to come back, fear because I have no idea how to make it to the airport tomorrow morning, joy because I will see my little brother again after such a long time, and happiness because of the memories and experiences I’ve had here.
I can’t help but say I fall in love more and more with Taiwan as I travel around it. The culture in Taiwan, I feel, is quite interesting. But interesting does not do justice to it. Chinese culture in Taiwan has something different that I have not experienced in any other countries I have been to. Besides the people being inviting and patient, there is a lot of emphasis on traditional values. By traditional values, I refer mostly to family values and a hard-work culture.
I am forever grateful to all of my teachers and instructors at Cheng Gong National University for their patience and hard work. Every day I would meet my one-on-one teacher that would help me improve anything from production use of grammar, word choice, or Taiwanese history. I had discussion classes every day as well, which seemed rather absurd to me at first because, I thought, how could I even discuss issues that I can barely discuss in English or Spanish? Now I’m very grateful that I discuss anything from Air Pollution in Beijing to Foxconn’s Foreign Investment in the U.S. It was not easy. I worked hard every day and at times I hesitated my choice of learning Chinese, I doubted myself and thought I would never truly speak Chinese good enough to actually communicate with people at a deeper level. The day before my flight I spent the whole day with a friend I made in Taipei, who took me to walk around Danshui, just about 30 minutes away from Taipei, and the place where the Spanish established Hong Mao Cheng (I can’t really recall the name in English right now). Her English was not good, so we spent the whole day speaking and communicating in Chinese. I could explain myself over a variety of topics, from school to family life, from the difference of living in Northern and Southern Taiwan to the job market in Taipei. It was then that I realized my time in Taiwan was fruitful and that I want to continue studying Chinese until I become truly fluent.
In the end, I a forever grateful for the opportunity FEA has given me, and I hope to use my language skills to make a difference in society and someday give back to causes like FEA and help someone else achieve their dream of speaking a (ridiculously) difficult foreign language.