My name is Carlos Argueta (安凱若), I am almost 25 and I am about to finish my master's program. I will probably go back home for vacations and of course my friends will start asking many questions about my experience in Taiwan like how is the food, how is the people, are the cities nice and of course my male friends will ask if the Taiwanese girls are pretty.

For each possible question about my life in Taiwan, I have a lot to say. But if I have to introduce Taiwan to them I will probably begin from my first impressions and continue by telling every single thing that impressed or shocked me about the country and people.

I will, of course, omit things such like: I was surprised to see that everyone around me looked a little different, or things like, I cannot understand anything that people say, etc … as such things are more than obvious and they were assimilated before coming here.

The very first thing that shocked me and that made me think I was going to suffer a little was the weather. Right after the airport’s exit door opened, I could feel the heat coming from outside and after leaving the comfort of the air-conditioned room I started to sweat right away. Of course, what could I expect? We were in the middle of the summer in one of the hottest and more humid places I have ever been.

The next thing that surprised me about Taiwan, and probably what makes me love it, is its people. From the very beginning I could feel hospitality, friendship, willingness to help, etc. Of course you can find some mean people but a lot less than in other places. Other things that I found out later are that in general they are more responsible than us, a lot more hard working but probably the most surprising/shocking thing is the fact that, in general, they are a little more childish in some aspects of life (not everything), they are more shy, they have a totally different way of having fun (KTV instead of Pub or Disco), etc... Of course all the things I previously mentioned are very general and many exceptions exist.

Now comes another important point which is food. I am pretty sure my friends believe I keep eating the so famous and delicious Chinese Fried Rice and “Chop Suey” that we usually get in the popular Chinese restaurants at home. What they don’t know is that the food here is totally different. What we get back home is some mix of Cantonese and American-Chinese food and has nothing to do with the real Chinese/Taiwanese food which in my opinion is much better (although some friends of mine believe I am crazy).

Talking about the economy in general, I have to say that I am very impressed and satisfied with Taiwan. You can have almost all the facilities and services of a developed country at a very low price. If you don’t believe me, try living here for a while and then go to Europe or Japan. From the electricity, water, internet to the intercity buses and MRT, everything is high quality at a great price. Shopping and doing supermarket are other things that are pretty good. You can get good quality clothing and shoes, accessories, food and other goods at reasonable prices although I have to say that fruits and meat are a little expensive and due to economy problems some prices are raising.

Another thing I love about Taiwan, that keeps me constantly happy and amazed, and that makes me want to stay here forever is security. I am sure that some foreigners coming from rich countries don’t understand what I am talking about, as well as many Taiwanese that keep telling me that Taiwan is not so safe. But I am pretty sure that friends back home will agree after I tell them that it is possible to go back home by foot at night after a party, passing through dark places with all your money in your wallet or taking your valuable things with you on the street without getting robed. That it is possible to get back a valuable thing that you left by mistake in a taxi or bus, that you can go on vacation without worrying that your house will be emptied while you are not there, or simply that you can leave your helmet outside the container of your scooter with 99% chances that it will be there after you come back. Such things and many others like the fact that guns are not allowed, make Taiwan a heavenly place to live.

In summary, with nice people around me, good food, good services, safety and all the other good things Taiwan has to offer, I would say that the weather is the only thing that prevents Taiwan for being the perfect place to live.

Thank you very much ICDF for the chance of being here. It is the best experience of my life and I can say without any doubt that Taiwan changed my life.