Before coming to Taiwan I was thinking about the fact that I was going to move so far away from home, to the other side of the world. Taiwan is a country with a different culture, language, food, and weather and that definitely scared me at first. On an island as densely populated as Taiwan, most people would think that the last thing a local would want to see is more outsiders coming in. Yet Taiwanese people have showed me that they are exceptionally welcoming to foreign visitors

 The first thing I noticed was the weather. When I left Peru it was winter and when I arrived in Taiwan it was 38°C, it felt like a giant sauna. The hot weather made me tired all the time for the first days, but with the upcoming days I started to get used to it.

For young people, western clothing and pop music are in vogue; disco and hamburgers are also popular. Fortunately, most of them talk English which makes things much easier because communication is everything when it comes to social relations. Even though the language barrier can be formidable at times I usually try to overcome it with a smile and sign language, Taiwanese people are very kind and they always do their best to try to overcome the language gap.
I remember two weeks ago, going to the hair salon to get a haircut because I found it difficult to have long hair during summer. The Taiwanese hair dresser gave me an Asian haircut and I almost cried because I knew that it didn’t look good on me, however a group of Taiwanese girls couldn’t stop telling me how cute I looked and how pretty I was with that style. That’s when I realized that Taiwanese people are like Peruvians, they never want to make you feel bad or sad.
Taiwanese people are very famous for being friendly and extremely modest. They would never accept any complement about how pretty, nice and wonderful they are. It’s also kind of difficult to make them accept a gift, they will always refuse it at first and say they are not worthy for such a gift. Very crazy thought!
It is well known that most Asian people look young and that’s completely true. Since I’ve been here, there has not been one time that I could guess someone’s age right. I think this is because most of the people eat healthy food, like vegetables, seafood, and soy milk and they always practice sports or do exercise. It was really weird for me to see a group of people early in the morning, practicing Tai Chi, it seems to be very slow and not helpful but after doing some research I found out that most of the time is practiced for health reasons and longevity.
You will notice that Taiwan does not have many garbage cans on the streets and even though they are always clean, people are used to keeping their garbage and never littering. That is a big difference to many other countries such as Peru, and the only answer is that culture is something that is learned not natural behavior.
There is also a big concern about the environment, it is common to see separate buckets so you can dispose your waste classifying them on glass, aluminum, plastic and organic waste. They also try to reduce the consumption of bags and containers, for example, some stores might charge you extra if you want to take a plastic bag.
Finally, I must say that Taiwanese people are good hosts and make foreigners feel at ease. I am so grateful and happy that I have the opportunity to study abroad and come to this lovely country that has been treating me very nice. I’m more than sure I will have such great experience within these two years.