Growing up in low coral islands, Kiribati, earthquake is the most scary disaster I’ve never had experienced since my first arrival in Taiwan. My first earthquake experience in Taiwan, actually, was in about twelve (12) years ago while I was studying Chinese at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). However in February 2016 was my first time experiencing the worst and scary Earthquake.


Since these were my first experiences I’ve never had, it was really hard for me to forget such kind of feelings.


To begin with, I used to go to NTNU computer room everyday after class to kill the time, checking and sending email to my friends and family back home. However, one afternoon around May while I was enjoying reading my emails, the earthquake came. I could feel my chair was sliding to some corner of the room but after a while, the shaken was so obvious that made me rushed out from the computer room panicking. This room was not on the first or second floor but on the 5th or 6th floor. As I rushed out, I could notice other foreign students in that room were rushed out too. I never knew this was an Earthquake but I was heard from one of the International students rushing out from the computer room screaming “EARTHQUAKE”. The first thing that comes up in my mind that time was my family. I think I will never see them again as I thought the building was going to collapse and end my life. Fortunately, it was not too long and the earthquake was stopped. My face changed dramatically from being nervous and afraid to a smiling one while looking at other students standing beside me nervously. However as I walked back into that room to collect my books, I was so surprised to see local (Taiwanese) students been there acting normally, chatting smilingly to their screen. I was wondering what was actually in their mind, are they not afraid? Out of curiosity, I asked my Chinese teacher, the next day, about the events happened the day before and found out that Earthquake was normal to the Taiwanese people so as students because it happened on the island many times a year. Since then I was started acting like a Taiwanese student when earthquake came, no matter where; Tainan or Taipei, I did not panic and afraid anymore.


After seven (7) or eight (8) years being away from this country, Taiwan, I came back again for studying in Kun Shan University (KSU), Tainan. All ICDF students including myself are staying on the seventh (7th) and eighth (8th ) floor of the 10 storey dormitory.


Since the beginning of the semester, in 2014, earthquake came so frequent which I think it was normal compared to previous experience. However, during the winter vocation in early 2016, February, a very strong earthquake hit the southern Taiwan especially in Tainan, Yong Da District (永康), the area where KSU located. It was so strong that some buildings, mostly in Tainan, were collapsed, many innocent lives of Taiwanese people lost. It was so scary, not to me only, but to other friends of mine too.

During that time, I was joining my country-mates in their apartment for celebrating the Lunar New Year. It was very late in the night but still we were still awake enjoying each other’s presence chatting and playing cards. Unfortunately, a very strong earthquake came all of a sudden, drifting us from place to place, waking the sleeping ones on the 2nd and 3rd floor. We did nothing at first as we hope it would be last for a second only however we were started panicking when the hit getting stronger and stronger for more than a minute. Everybody rushed off to the door and decided to run out from the building or not. Some of us shared their ideas about Earthquake safety precautions where they mentioned places like under tables, corner of the building, away from glass windows, and so forth. Since time is limited to think, everybody was staying close to each other under the verandah, waiting for anything to happen. We chose the verandah because it was the most safety place as we can access to the main road easily when their three-storey apartment collapse. Additionally, the power in the entire area was off during that time, making ourselves felt insecure. Fortunately, the quake was stopped after a while and the power was back to normal again. Everybody’s feelings were clearly expressed on their pale faces during that moment.


After learning the bad news and the location of the incident from TV, I hurried off to school to see the conditions of my classmates and friends in the dormitory and I was so glad to see them all in good shape.


Though Earthquake is not so scary, it is better to be prepared to take safety precaution whenever it happened, especially those who live in high buildings, as nobody never know how strong it would be.