I will begin by relating what my social expectations were before coming to Taiwan; based on the orientation we received back home, I was expecting a stiff transition period before blending and socializing with the student community of my University because of language barrier. Secondly, I was also hoping to meet people of divergent cultural settings and also xenophobic behaviours against me as an African black boy in the farthest and isolated corner of Asia, Taiwan.
However, my expectations turned out to be correct but with a very minute pattern of occurrence. I can remember at Pingtung City while shopping in the mall, I feel myself as an alien from the sky because several people, old and young have to pause for a minute just to stare at me. For me the interesting part of it was, sometimes they have to signal one another to show my presence. On culture shock, I find it hard to believe that my fellow local students can walk to the class very early in the morning and would not say hi or good morning to me. This is really sometimes difficult for me to understand. A similar issue is that my classmates will not talk to me until I do, however, I must say that they are very nice to me and this is evidenced by the amount of moon cakes I received from them. I have almost been eating these cakes for five days after the actual festival. Another thing I find discriminating is when I want to talk to someone native students they dash away from me quickly as if something is deficient in my personality. Honestly, I feel reduced when ever this happens to me.
Another interesting experience for me is learning Mandarin because I have always though of Chinese language as strange sets of sound, and typically like throwing a stainless steel plate on a ceramic floor. The sound generated from this plate is actually my notion of the language before. On the contrary, the language positively exceeds my initial perception of it. It is very reach with a variety of great characters that can only be mastered with minds of good retentive memory.
On food, I appreciate the fact that it is accessible any time of the day and night. However, the only unfortunate part for me is that some of the food is sugar added and this is not pleasing for my taste. My most experience with foods is the day I tried hotpot with my classmates at a nearby restaurant. It was so much fun for me; we ate so much food this day by preparing it ourselves on a round table. Every ten minutes a plateful of raw beef is delivered to our table. While enjoy the hot food, I question ‘’duoshao qian’’ beep appearing in my mind because we have consumed a large quantity of meat and yet more plates were still coming. Finally, we finished and to my surprised again, each of us has to pay only one hundred and fifty Taiwan Dollars only. Then I ask my friend, how come we pay less money, she replied ‘that is what we have eaten’. Again on food, the chop stick is another amazing tool I discover since my arrival in Pingtung. I am everyday learning how to use it better but sometimes in the middle of my meal, I will forgetfully separate the sticks as if it is fork and knife. I must say the chop stick may look small but I realized that they have some peculiar characteristics like pick small slice of meat and vegetables at unreachable corners of my bowl and it can give me a big roll of noodles which makes it very special tool for me in the world of noodles.
In conclusion, the culture shocks, the Mandarin and the food are a daily encounter for me and I hope to get used to it over time. There is a just a challenge that every immigrant face in another country but with time I will relate it to others as part of my previous experience a student in Taiwan.

 

 

 

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