First of all I would like to mention that I have already lived in Taiwan for a year, so far, it has been an excellent experience assimilating the day to day environment Taiwan provides. If someone asked me, ‘how much has your Chinese improved throughout this year?” I would answer back, “Well at least I know more then when I came, and currently my progress is at steady growth rate”. But to my defense the Chinese language has a reputation of being among the most difficult of languages to learn, statement that I do not refute, never have I felt a language so complex to understand, since most of its pronunciation can be easily be misheard or misspoken leading to a non desirable misunderstanding. A simple example is the word “wen” depending on the intonation given; it can have different meaning starting from a question to a kiss. Of course this obstacle can be overcome with a lot of practice and also a good teacher.

Luckily my Chinese teacher was patient and had the devotion and experience to transfer to me and my classmates the skill to discern some of the intonations emitted when the language is spoken. Although I do not completely differentiate the tones and only have achieved a basic level in the language, 趙老師 (my Chinese teacher) always encouraged us to practice more, and take it in our daily life. That is if we really want to master this cumbersome language a lot of perseverance and dedication is needed (since averagely the foreigner willing to completely learn the language needs to dedicate almost a 5 year period).

What I mostly remember about趙老師(teacher Cao) was the grim look on her face whenever we didn’t understand her lecture or just replied “聽不懂” (can not understand what I heard) or “不知道” (Don’t know), it was a look characterized by frustration, disappointment and at times a little hilarious, but still she kept on teaching always trying new ways we could understand and until an extent she did succeed. She was always nice to us and sometimes brought us candies and cakes. At the ending of the first semester, she shared with us a cake, celebrating the ending of the classes and also her birthday. Also she took us to a field trip to the Taipei zoo and Maokong, it was a really nice trip and we were lucky since the other teachers did not do this, and when we mentioned about this to the other students, they started to complain that they did not have field trips nor does the teacher accept the idea.

At some point she would let us debate, although it is weird for a debate to occur during a language class, but since my classmates have been the same throughout the entire year (even during both semesters of the Chinese courses) we have developed a trust among us much like a comradeship. Also some curiosity about certain events involving the Taiwan’s culture and its daily life would invade my head, and so I would respectfully ask the teacher about them. She gladly answer and clarify the doubts, matter that for me is important since we feel that she is willing to go beyond the teachings of the class and extend the lectures to better understand some of the culture, although at some point she stated and I admit, that I asked to many questions and weird ones. But still I have a great respect for my teacher and try to keep these distractions at a minimum possible, to not divert much the attention from the class.

At the end I can say, that I have a great deal of appreciation and respect towards my Chinese teacher.