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29th issue by NTOU on December 2011

Hi, my name is David Montalvo, I study at the National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences (NTUNHS) and my program is International Health and Nursing Administration. I come from Quito, Ecuador, a small country located in South America.
Actually, my adventure in Taiwan began in Quito, in February, when I Knew ICDF was offering scholarships to study in this beautiful country of kind and hard working people. I felt like one of my dreams started to come true: Asia, and specially Taiwan, has always fascinated me, even if I never had the opportunity to visit this continent before. I remember the time when I passed by a Chinese Language institute in Quito, and I dreamt about speaking Chinese and traveling to a country where this language was spoken.  Many of the friends I have wanted to live in other countries of America or Europe, I always wanted to visit Taiwan.

My name is Antonio Coyoc. I come from Belize Central America to embark on a four year journey here in Taipei, Taiwan. Thanks to the ICDF and The National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences for the acceptance to accomplish my degree In International Health and Nursing Administration.

Completion of this program would help me achieve my goals of furthering my education in nursing, through the specialized course work offered as part of its health administrative program. This program would enable me develop and exercise my leadership skills in nursing administration. It would also broaden my medical knowledge, which would prove most valuable in building my capacity to deal with some of the health issues faced by a developing country.

Being in Taiwan has certainly been an amazing experience. At first, the cultural shock was strong; not understanding the language, not knowing exactly what you’re eating, and if you’re eating it in the proper manner is hard. To that you have to add the fact that you’re coming into a new place where you don’t know absolutely anyone, and everyone is a stranger. Luckily, once I arrived to the ICDF induction I started meeting all sorts of incredible people, from all over the globe. I was startled to see so many people from different countries, coming together; I was the only Colombian but everyone was really nice and welcoming, which made the homesickness feeling less present. From time to time (and still at times), I looked around me, and could not believe I was actually in Taipei. Not even in my wildest dreams, had I ever imagined living in Asia, and I knew I was up for a big ride.
Being an international student is challenging for anyone wished to study in foreign country? As my case, all international students could meet many obstacles and should show their capability to solve themselves each problem. I would like throughout these line to share my modest experience and knowledge as current international students.
Going to Southern part of Taiwan
I am an Indonesian, my name is Subhan. I love travelling, especially to new places where people I have not met before. This story was in the beginning of summer 2011, I travelled to Genting, the southern part of Taiwan. I had heard before that Genting is a most interesting place to do adventure, because there are coasts, hills, fruit gardens, and a lot of other sightseeings.
I had planned with my friends to go there before our final exam, because this is a right time to gather with all Indonesian to do an adventure travel before summer vacation when most of us would go back to our home land. I departed in the early morning when other people in my dorm are still sleeping. I took a local train from Neili train station, because there is no faster train from my small city. Oh, forgot to tell you, I am studying at Yuan Ze University, and to get to Neili train station only take 10 minute long by walking. After got off at Chungli, then I changed the train with Tzu Chiang, a faster one, to proceed to Kao Hsiung, the last southern station on Taiwan train route. My friends also took the same train, but they live in Hsin Chu, so only need to wait around an hour before my train arrived in their city. Then we had joined in the same train.
While in my country, the Republic of Ecuador, many times I was wondering to know “how it is going to be in Taiwan”, specially “the first days”. Now after two months of my trip, I want to remember the first days in Taiwan. I hope that this information can be useful for the next students under TaiwanICDF Scholarship Program with the same question.
After 38 hours, between flights and stops from Quito-Ecuador, crossing Miami and Los Angeles in the United States of America, finally we were in Taiwan International Airport. My trip was with my wife, Yisely, and awesome people like Jose, Luis M., Luis G., Fatima and Cristina, they came to study in different programs. While waiting for luggage there was another South America guy, we started to talk and he told me that he came to experience the culture and learn the language, it was a point in common, the desire to learn about the culture and language in Taiwan. I decide to change some money in case that I needed, and Jose made a call notifying that we were in the airport, as the instructions in the Letter of Invitation and Acceptance mentioned. We walked to the main gate and two guys with a big smile give us the welcome. That was very nice; there were two Taiwan and Latin America students. That was maybe 23:00 of Sunday on august 28th. Then a bus came and drives us to National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). While in the bus the Television news refers to a typhoon crossing near Taiwan, that night was raining a lot and the temperature outside the bus was probably 32 Celsius. In NTNU everything was ready; they assigned our rooms and we went to rest. That was a pleasurable rest after many hours of sitting and a lot of tired.
Would you leave your home country for one unknown and with a clearly different culture? What if you were a relatively well established professional who was actively employed for the last 7 years? Would you dare to pursue a post graduate degree, after seven years of having finished your college, in a country whose academic level is much higher than in yours? Of course you would! Especially if you were granted the opportunity I was, a full scholarship in Taiwan by TaiwanICDF.
Remember that time when you were younger? That time when you went on your first trip to the market with your mother and you were filled with that child-like wonder and awe for everything that invited your senses on an adventure? Close your eyes and remember the medley of smells, kaleidoscope of colors, and the collage of faces and smiles. But for me, I remember most the beautiful orchestra of sounds, the laughter, the happy chitchat among friends, shouts thrown above my head and darting from every direction, and then the gentle buzz of low voices too far in the distance to decipher, yet made beautiful as they collided with the low hums of vendors who truly do ‘whistle while they work’.
Now, I want you to think of the last time you had an experience so brand new and exciting that it took you right back to that time you walked alongside your mother in a busy market. It is not so difficult at all to recall such a time when you find yourself in Taiwan at this moment in time. I remember believing, while riding through the streets of Taipei on our way to our University, that it just doesn’t get better than this! Needless to say, Reader, I was pleasantly surprised when it did, every single day. In fact, the word pleasantly made it sound as if I was always a lady about it. Let’s just say that once I had to pick up a few things I knocked over while jumping from my bed when I learnt that our group was headed east to Hualien on one of the best cultural and educational trips of my lifetime!
This month marks one year and three months since I have been in Taiwan. I still remember when I had to board the plane from the Hewanorra International Airport from St. Lucia. OH how time do fly so quickly! Here I was going into a new country and not knowing what to expect, especially in a country whose cultural heritage and people were so different from that of my country. Well,now one year from now I can emphatically say that I have enjoyed every minute, every second and every day that i have spent in Taiwan.
I have had many experiences and adventures, both good and bad. The bad I quickly realize had its benefits; it made me learn valuable lessons, either in learning about the culture, language or direction. Taiwan has slowly grown on me and has made this era of my life one of the most fulfilling and happiest one ever.
My adventure in Taiwan has been a very long one, but it has always been a lot of fun, interesting and one of self-growth. Seven years ago, Asia, and all that this signifies, was a foggy concept for me. I still remember the excitement I felt when I received the news that I was going to pursue my studies here, and looking up in a map where Taiwan was. This excitement started getting bigger and bigger the closer I got to the island, as I was ready to take such an opportunity as a huge adventure. I came as an open book, opened to submerging into a new country, diving into a new culture, a new environment from which I could learn and grow. With this mentality adapting was as some say “a piece of cake”. I was lucky enough to study in Taipei, the big city, noisy, smelly crowded and full of surprises. As in my country I was used to an urban environment, from day one I had a mission: to explore this city, and then the whole country, as much as I could!