Before coming here, I heard that people were very polite, but when I experienced it, it was more than that.   Two Taiwanese, my "buddies", received me and my now friends from other countries at the airport, they took us to school, helped us introducing places, showing us around the school, explaining us how the school system and culture as a whole works in here, and giving us a hand in anything we needed.  Since then I noticed that in here, even if you don't ask people to be polite or for a favor, they are more than welcome to help others.

Currently I am in my senior year, and during the time I have been here, I have lived in the dormitories of my beautiful university.   In my 1st year I shared a room with 1 girl from Belize and two Taiwanese girls.   A girl from Guatemala, one from Mongolia and two from Taiwan lived next door.   I made friends with them, spent time together in their room, so I considered they were my roommates too.   

During that time living with them I learned how to be tolerant, patient, and respect the living style of local girls. 

  I begun to have an idea of how sharing space with Taiwanese could be.   I started my Chinese classes and I usually asked them to help me with homework or explain me things I did not understand very well.  The 4 Taiwanese girls helped me very much when I started learning this new language.  They were very supportive, they encouraged me to practice day by day, and made corrections in my pronunciation.  They were and are a very important part of my life.

For my second year, I lived with the Mongolian friend I made in my first year, and 2 Taiwanese.  For this time, I was a little more open minded, and knowing that local people sometimes may be quiet and shy, I tried to create a "sisters environment" by making jokes with them, dinners, and having a great time together.     I was still studying Chinese, the three of them helped me with Chinese, I taught a little Spanish to them.   One of my local roommates always forced me to practice Chinese, which is a good thing, because thanks to that I got to know a little Chinese and practice it with confidence.   During that year I learned from them to be more open minded and to seize any chance I could speak Chinese.

For my third and current year, I decided I wanted to have a little more privacy by living in a room for two people, and I did not select any specific roommate because I wanted to have a local roommate to practice Chinese. In both years I had Taiwanese roommates, but they were very quiet and did not spend too much time in the room, so I did not practice too much. But at any time that they were there I tried to speak Chinese and practice and they were really patient with me, I really appreciate that.

I have to say that living with people from different cultures and life styles is not so easy, there are issues to overcome like sleeping time in the room, privacy, not having a messy room, or different personal nonconformities.  But I have learned that is better to speak out, in a polite way, and let others know how you really feel than keep the bad feeling inside. Sharing cultures is a matter of respect.  And I will always admire the respect that is lived in this country from kids to old people.

I love Taiwanese culture, most of the things I know about it is thanks to local friends or classmates, being polite, help others no matter what, be patient and tolerant are two of the most important values I have developed in here, seeing people doing good, creates encouragement to do good and be good. I have so many things to be thankful for, the patience of my classmates, their friendship, teaching me Chinese and make me practice it, but most important for making me feel like I am at home

 

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