I am privileged to be spending four years in Pingtung, Taiwan, as I study for bachelor’s degree in Tropical Agriculture and a major in animal science, under the Department of Tropical Agriculture at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. I have been in Taiwan for at least two months now and so far I am enjoying my time here, although some things may be hard to get you used to but as far as this it’s a nice experience.
Taiwan seems to be a thriving place for the aspiring student of knowledge with many people flocking here to study. People from various countries such as Africa, Tuvalu, El Salvador and the least goes on, they all come here to continue with their education. The education system in the ROC produces pupils with some of the highest grades in the world especially in Mathematics and Sciences. It has been criticized for placing excessive pressure on students and eschewing creativity in favor of rote memorization. This system produces very intelligent individuals; I can speak from personal experience in class with some local students who always study last minute in preparation for exams and yet contribute to the highest grades. Taiwan is not only a place for education but a place to experience a different culture.
I arrived in Taiwan on August 29th 2011 at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei. It was a bit strange that many of the Taiwanese workers at the airport wore masks on their faces covering their nose and mouths and kept on waving some kind electrical device at the visitors, it seemed a bit rude in my opinion because it made me feel very inferior to them and made me more home sick. Upon living the airport fellow Saint Lucians and I were then taken by some escorts to the National Taiwan University hotel, where we stayed for a total of three days for orientation but in those three days my country mates and I went exploring Taipei, visiting parks, restaurants but my favorite experience was the night markets where vendors would gather around a certain corners and sell all sorts of items from clothing, food, ornaments and the least goes on. The night market was usually crowded with lots of locals and some tourists everyone intrigued about the items sold there, especially the food, one popular dish was stinky tofu which smelled like a rotten egg but I heard it tastes very good and actually have some health benefits, for instance it can reduce the incidents of breast and prostate cancer. Taipei is not only the city over which towers one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, "Taipei 101", but home to the world's largest collection of Chinese art treasures at the breathtaking National Palace Museum. My adventure in Taipei was soon cut short and my new journey into the southern part of Taiwan would soon begin.
The drive to Pingtung took approximately five hour’s since we travelled by bus but it was not at all a dull experience looking out the window one thing which really caught my eye was the level of agriculture of the Taiwanese, they had such huge farms far more larger than those of my country. The Taiwanese invests a lot into agriculture. The ICDF scholars and I arrived at our new school on September 1st 2011. It was not at all a good site to see the living conditions for example, climbing onto a ladder to get to a bed which has no mattress; although one of my professors said it’s good for the back. The people of Pingtung are similar to those in Taipei. On early mornings you find Taiwanese exercising and carrying out their Feng Shui, on nights when going around the campus you could find dance clubs and some acting taking place. Taiwanese are not at all good dancers but they have heart. My adventures in Pingtung have not yet fully began as a result of workload but I have been certain places like Pingtung City which is similar to Taipei but a lot smaller and like Taipei the Taiwanese here are generally shy. I would surely recommend Taiwan as a destination for studies and also to pick up some new cultures.
 

 

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