My is name Ishaqa Bah, bearing a Chinese name as bai y-sha. I came from The Gambia, the Smiling Coast of Africa in the western part of Africa. I was extremely happy when I was informed that I have been awarded a scholarship to poseur my master’s degree in Human Resource Development at the National Normal Taiwan University in Taiwan. Before travelling to Taiwan I was wondering and worried about the new environment that I will be living in for two years, once Taiwan is completely different from The Gambia in terms of culture, religion, food, customs, climate and language. Therefore, I consulted some Gambians who visited Taiwan as well as students who graduated from Taiwan. All of them advised and encourage me to accept the offer, because of the rich culture and good experience they had in Taiwan, especially the warm hospitality they received from the Taiwanese people.

In light of the above, I made up my mind to accept the offer and thank God I made the right decision at the right time by listening to those who advised me.

Regarding my experience in learning Mandarin, it was not easy at all at the beginning, because that was the first time for me to travel to an Asian country and compel to interact with Chinese people. Hence, when I arrived in Taiwan it was a challenge for me to communicate with the Taiwanese people especially, when I need to buy food and other necessities from supermarkets. I use to find it difficult to tell them my needs due to language barrier, since most of the Taiwanese people do not speak English and I could not speak Chinese either.

However, big thanks go to the International Cooperation Development Fund (ICDF) for providing us with an experience as well as a patient teacher who taught us the Mandarin in an easy way to understand. Through the help of ICDF we were able to break the communication barrier and have finally enabled us to understand and communicate easily with the Chinese community.

As I said at the beginning it was a big challenge for me to understand the Chinese language as I was thinking that I will never recognize the Chinese Characters much more reading it. Nonetheless, by the end of the first semester the situation had changed. My Chinese language started getting better and had improved a little since I knew how to ask for price of things, my change, and tell taxi drivers where I want to go as well as furnish the campus address to others. As a result, I was able to go to Taipei, Shilling night market, restaurants, shops and other public places alone without having any problem or asking help from others as well as look for someone to accompany me.

This means that there is nothing impossible in someone’s life, its matter of determination and commitment. Therefore, I am encouraging the reader of this article, who is willing to learn Chinese Language to go ahead and learn it, believe me it is a very interesting language which I think everyone in the world should know, so if you are interested in learning Chinese Language do not hesitate to learning it, you will never regret knowing it and I know that one day you will apply it. I would further advised those who are willing to travel to Taiwan either on business or on studies to learn at least the basic Chinese language if they have the chance to learn it in their own countries before going to Taiwan, that would be better, because understanding the basic Chinese language, such as greetings, how to get taxi, locate hotels or restaurants asking prices, the MRT and night markets etc. would definitely help him or her to communicate with the Taiwanese and will absolutely make someone’s life easy in Taiwan. So now you need to know how to learn basic Chinese Language (Mandarin), it’s very easy my dear reader you can learn it through the Internet through (You Tube).

NTNU-Ishaqa.doc5.16 MB