An earthquake is the perceptible shaking of the surface of the Earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. Earthquakes can be violent enough to toss people around and destroy whole cities. The island of Taiwan lies in a complex tectonic area between the Yangtze Plate to the west and north, the Okinawa Plate on the north-east, and the Philippine Mobile Belt on the east and south. Earthquakes in Taiwan are caused mainly due to collisions between the Philippine Sea Plate and Eurasian Plate. 

Prior to coming to Taiwan, I did research on the country, learnt about its flora and fauna, historical buildings, language, people and culture. Upon arriving to Taiwan and mingling with other foreign students, interesting stories were heard about their Taiwan experience. While I didn’t research Taiwan’s weather, climate and geology, in advance, it was apparent that having a basic knowledge of these topics would be of utmost importance in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of natural disasters that can pose a threat to Taiwan (typhoons, tsunamis and earthquakes).

Even with all the research and readings that were done around these topics, none of it could have prepared me enough for when I would have my first earthquake experience. Earthquakes can be very traumatizing for individuals that are not accustomed to the occurrence of such events; I was no exception.  I can remember it clearly. It was about 3am. I was sleeping and felt the bed rock from side to side. I thought I was dreaming, only to open my eyes and find that the bed was still rocking. It dawned on me that this wasn’t a dream. Panic sat in, and in a voice I barely recognized as my own, I cried out to my roommate (who happens to be Taiwanese) and told her I think we’re having an earthquake. She turned on the light, looked at me, told me not to worry, turned off the light, rolled over, and went back to sleep. In shock, I sat up in bed knee to chest trying to understand what just happened. By now the shaking had stop, but I found it hard to return to sleep after such an experience. I called my mom, messaged my friends, and communicated with anyone who would be concern about my safety. The following day I went to school and shared the experience, some friends slept through it and had no clue that an earthquake had even taken place; I was advised by Taiwanese friends to “GET USED TO IT”.