Since I came to Taiwan in 2006, I have always supported the International student team of my university, Kun Shan University. Three years ago, there were just male students and I was the only girl here. I never encouraged myself to participate in this kind of competition, so I just cheered them up. In 2008, fortunately, there are 2 more girls coming to study at Kun Shan University. This year, they encouraged me to participate together with the boys.

The experience was really nice and exhausting. We practiced two times and we were ready for the competition. Our university registered for two teams. One was for beginners and the other one was made up of all boys who had previous experiences. The first practice was very rewarding because we were the team which had most people who had never rowed before. However, with the boat leader’s help, step by step we synchronized the rowing with the sound of the drum. After this practice, my arms hurt really much. Two days later we went for the second practice. We were really tired due to the previous practice but we tried to encourage each other to do our best.

At the day of the competition, we were so excited and the atmosphere was really high. We competed against another group of foreigners who study at the language center of NCKU. We got ready and when we listened to the shot of the gun, we started to row with using all of our energy. We were concentrating only on the tempo and trying to do it well.

Everything was so fast. When we looked up, we just noticed that we already won the competition. Everybody started to yell KUN SHAN, KUN SHAN out loud!!! Later, the other boat from our university was getting ready to row against another team from NCKU language center. They also made their best and also won the competition. The record of our team was 2 minutes and 4 seconds, and we were waiting anxiously for the results to see if we had passed to the next competition. Another team of our university had the record of 1 minute and 54 seconds. Half hour later, the judges announced that both of our teams won and moved to the next competition. We were so happy and we, “the Latinos”, started to jump and yelled KUN SHAN!!

The next day, it was our last opportunity to take one of the trophies of 2009 Dragon Boat Competition back home. We were so excited and we got ready to row again. It was a competition between 3 boats, in which only the first and fastest team would be able to compete in the next round. Once again we had to compete with the team from NCKU language center, and also against another team from my university unfortunately.

We paddled with all the effort we had. In this race, another team from KSU won the competition over the team from NCKU language center and our team. Although we didn’t win that race, we felt very satisfied with the work we have done these days of practicing. At the same time, we were very happy because our university passed and moved to the final race.

We waited for about 2 hours for the final competition to begin. We were holding our digital camera and we were ready to take good pictures and to see how another team of our university does during the competition.

KSU had to row against a team from STU and a group of Philippines. They were ready to paddle and we were set to start. We heard the shot of the gun and then the guys started to row hardly. They got the second place and the other Philippines team won as the first place. Everyone started to jump up high and full of joyfulness and excitement because of getting the second place. We were really proud of our teams. KSU students were standing on the front row exited and waiting for the prize. This experience was very beautiful and satisfying. It had taught us a little more about Taiwanese culture and especially about the importance of teamwork.

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