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20. My First Impression on Taiwanese People

Taiwan is a big developed country of Asian continent, located several thousand km far from BURKINA FASO. Thanks to relationship between TAIWAN and BURKINA FASO, TAIWAN as in the past gives every year scholarships to BF students permitting them to study abroad. Having that opportunity arrived in Taiwan since August 23th, 2009 for two years studies in international nursing master. Before coming in Taiwan we had some good ideas of this country which name is famous in working hard with courage for the development.
I knew only that Taiwan and BF are some friends linked and we knew some Taiwanese working in BF as doctors in the regional hospital of Koudougou. When I arrived at Taipei airport I got fear because I felt alone among many people I didn’t know before. My brain was working roughly and the mind was already back to the country.


My name is Nadjy Joseph and my Chinese name is Qiao Nai Qi. I come from an island in the Caribbean called Haiti.
I have the chance to get the ICDF scholarship for a master degree in health care administration in Taiwan. I was so happy and I was expecting to discovered many things about this country.
Before coming to Taiwan, I made some research to get to know exactly this country where I am going to live for the next two years. My research tells me that Taiwan is an island like Haiti, off the eastern coast of China between Japan and the Philippines. It is about the same size as Belgium where I went twice and its total area is 35, 801 square km different than my home country Haiti who have 27,750 square km. Taiwan was given the name “Formosa” means “beautiful island” by the Portuguese explorers 500 years ago when they first saw it. Another thing that I learn is the official language on the island is mandarin not Chinese like I taught and the two most important cities of Taiwan are Taipei, where I’m going to live and Kaohsiung.


When I first set foot in Taiwan, I didn’t have the slightest idea what I would encounter. All I knew for sure is the general concept everyone has about Asian people: slanted eyes, black straight hair, and thinly built. So, I knew that I would be seeing doubles because everyone would look the same to me.   I, however, came with an open mind to learn more about their lifestyles, food and traditions. I thought that this would be the secret in overcoming what most students fear when going abroad to study- CULTURAL SHOCK!


On August 23rd, 2009, I departed from Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok, Thailand) at 08.25am and arrived to Taoyuan Airport at 13.00pm to join with Taiwan ICDF orientation period start on August 25th, 2009. First, I am not only depressed but also homesick so much because this is the first time in other country. After two days, I knew more friends from many countries (most from Central America and Africa) so I feel better. Because I think, this is a good opportunity to learn more each other and exchange some culture, life style and language between Eastern and Western.



When it’s night, it’s day, but it’s the same time.
The moment I arrived in Taiwan, I entered a parallel universe. I had spent 2 days travelling from my home in St Kitts and Nevis to Taiwan, 21 hours of direct flying time to reach the other end of the globe, to experience an atmosphere rich in culture and full of friendly people eager to make you smile; a different but life enriching experience.


Taiwanese people are friendly, honest and dedicated, they have demonstrated this during the orientation; on August 23rd 2009 we landed at the Taipei International Airport, there we were received by students representative of the ICDF (International Cooperation and Development Fund) who escorted our team direct to National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) the host institute, where we joined the rest of other students around the globe all being sponsors of the ICDF scholarship in different field of studies.



I arrived in Taipei (Republic of Taiwan) the 22nd August 2009, coming from Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). We have quit the day before towards 8H am: I was with nine compatriots, coming to study in Taiwan grace at a scholarship of International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF), organization of development based in Taipei. There is around forty days that I am in Taipei enrolled at National Yang-Ming University (NYMU) in first year of PhD at the International Health Program (IHP). How did I do to get this scholarship? Also, what are my first impressions in Taiwan and on Taiwanese People? That are the questions I am going to answer.



I’ve always been fascinated by the many places and people that I encounter along my life’s journey for the experiences are priceless. My name is Marnus Cherry, and I am from a small island in the Caribbean called Saint Lucia. Saint Lucians are known to be a hospitable people. How dazzled I was when I first laid feet upon arriving on the unknown; you immediately feel welcome into a community of friendly faces who were eager to help. The Taiwanese people made me feel right at home. I must hasten to say many thoughts ran through my mind those days prior to arriving in Taiwan. Was I certain that I had made the right decision in coming to Taiwan? What if …? But a tiny voice kept reminding me that one of the reasons I am here is because of my fascination and my interest into higher education and that everything would be okay. I was comforted once more when I remembered that almost every reading that I had done on Taiwan had the same thread running through it pages – “Taiwan, the land of friendly people and their delicious dishes with breathtaking sites.” I had already started experiencing the friendly faces by the persons who greeted me in Taipei, the center of commerce and culture, the home of one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, Taipei 101 was just unbelievably spectacular, but wait I was getting hungry and the next obvious stop would have to be a restaurant. 



Just one month ago and 25 hour of flight back to Peru, after being told that I had been awarded a scholarship to study master studies in Taiwan, and with all the following preparation that something so important bring with it, there was in fact not enough time to wonder or worry about my life in a so different country as Taiwan is. Not only because of Taiwan is in the other side of the world, but the religion, food, customs, language and even the bathroom is different. There were so much expectations the last two or three days in Peru when thing started to calm down as far as everything was almost ready to depart. Even though I have been in Japan when I was 15 years old - and I mention it because it is the same part of the world – I was pretty sure that culture in Asia is too diverse; and also even when I was told a lot about Taiwan by people from the representative office of Taiwan in Peru, relatives and friend; I reckon that the only way for me to really be able to know the taiwanese beauty is in Taiwan and just if I let me surround by its people, its nature and its culture. With this premise in my mind, the following lines will talk about, how was my first impression on taiwanese people and how this amazing new experience has been developing up now.