Before my first experience of earthquake in Taiwan was in 2011, my host university had organized a drilling emergency preparedness program for international students also walking through the streets you could see emergency preparation at full gear, I was privilege to visit the emergency preparedness organizations in Taipei and I saw how buildings in Taiwan has to go through proper and detailed scrutiny before you can live in such buildings, places you could go for safety if a terrible earthquake occurred, even to the extent of quality information on survival tips and dress codes taught within the classroom walls. I was impressed at the good initiative and it actually braced me up to “be prepared”, but raised some sort of panic in me as I began calling my family back in my home country, informing them about the recent happenings in my host country. At this point when I realized informing my family back at home was actually raising some fear in me and tension for them, I had to stop informing them abruptly as I prayed and hoped for safety all through the unforeseen period the earthquake might occur. Suddenly, I felt such peace and tranquility beyond words as I moved on by facing my studies and enjoying my time in this beautiful island.

My first experience was at night as I was well tucked in bed to retire for the night, shakings in the buildings, movement of items on tables, students coming out of their rooms to the common living area, meanwhile not forgetting we were already mentally prepared, from the time we were informed, we always went to bed at that period maximally dressed thinking perhaps it might happen in the middle of the night in order to be well covered to move at the unprecedented happenstance. Some of us had earlier purchased light snacks, food stuffs, toiletries, warm clothes, torch lights, first aid kits, charged mobile phone with airtime, water, you just name it. Immediately, I reached for my packed bag, walked confidently to the common area, sincerely I could not describe why I felt so much peace during the ordeal, however as we waited for the most drastic happening in the common room, and we waited endlessly that night till we all went back to our respective rooms one after the other.

While the shaking is terrifying, the actual fear doesn't start until the ordeal/ experience is over.  While the shaking is going on, you don't have time to be afraid at all, - you suddenly switch to thinking with instinct and not with emotion.  The emotion does come no doubt, especially when you can't contact your family as it is happening. After getting back to my bed, after this first experience, i was just wondering and appreciating the mental preparedness we had been exposed to initially and the way I saw the emergency government officials of  Taiwan gearing into action to prepare in case of a break out instead of been reactive after an unforeseen event. Seeing that alone, made me feel safe and knowing that I was in a country that cares for its citizens and more also the foreigners resident in their country. To me, that speaks volume of the Government of Taiwan.

As usual, after this international students got sharing their experiences, for some they were used to earthquake happenings back in their home country, for some that was their first ever experience of and earthquake occurring, I belonged to the latter category, as I carefully listened to other students experiences and reactions to it, I could deduce on thing which is imperative, been “Pro-active and not reactive” in whatever situations or circumstances, this speaks volume of how you respond to the situation, the impact of the situation (how positive or negative),  cost effectiveness in managing the situation after it has occurred and the recovery form the situation. The preparedness I was exposed to had helped me to be calm and confident even while other experiences of earthquake during my stay in Taiwan. In closure, I must say, Taiwan as a country has an exceptional integrity and upmost concern in terms of been pro-active resulting to safety, prevention of causalities perhaps in any circumstance, management of an emergency and maximum provision for relief. On these grounds, my experience has been very positive and of a smooth sail.