Home | View by Schools

13. NCKU

When one travels, it is only natural to want to try the country’s gastronomy and experience its culture. If there is something I must say about the night markets in Taiwan is that they are the perfect place to achieve both of these things; it is an ideal place to go to for everyone wanting to experience the Taiwanese culture.

I must start by saying that, in my opinion, the topic for this article was not adequately phrased. I understand the idea and I think it's an interesting theme; however, the combination of valuable and valueless gives it a negative connotation. I think something like "Aspects I like the most of Taiwanese higher education and aspects that could be improved" would express the same idea in a more friendly way, and I will use this last wording as the topic for this article.

A characteristic I really like about higher education in Taiwan is the specialization of the professors: a person must have a good education background and postgraduate studies in order to qualify as a university teacher. This way, it is ensured that the people in charge of educating others have the sufficient knowledge to do it. I also like the possibility of taking elective courses from any department in the university; this allows us to explore new fields we are interested in and to meet new people with different background, experiences and abilities. As an extension of this, we have the opportunity to study special courses taught by visiting professors. I mention these last aspects based on my (and my classmates') experience: graduate students at NCKU. I don't know if the case is the same for the undergraduate students or in other universities.

Hello there! My name’s Alejandro Marín and I come from Nicaragua (尼加拉瓜, long trip right?), I’m currently studying a Master in Civil engineering and management in National Cheng Kung University (成大). Prior to my arrival, I worked as an Intellectual property analyst (IP analyst) for a U.S. based- company in my country as well as freelance structural engineering consultant. I’ve been here for 10 months and I still have one more year to go back home. Studying in Taiwan has taught me a lot about “respect culture”. The high esteem students hold for their professors is something I really admire and try to imitate day by day, furthermore, this respect culture is specially applied for elder people. Whenever I get on a bus or take a train, I also see special spots reserved to elder people. By watching all this, I really think compare the way elder citizens are treated in my country and also the mindset of people around my age, the lack of respect for seniority and wisdom is the day-by-day routine in my country, now I think differently and wished everyone in my country imitate the Taiwanese in this aspect.

Taiwan is a country that has given me the most special and meaningful two years of my life. Not only because I’ve accomplished my main goal, but also because on the way that it has helped me to grow up as a person.

If people who have lived on their own for an extended period of time in a foreign country with a quite different culture told me that they weren't influenced by that environment and lived as if they still were in their own country, I would not believe them. During the almost ten months that I've been living in Taiwan I have noticed how I've modified some of my habits and have got used to routines that I didn't have at home. I have also identified similar "adaptations" among my classmates, and I think that to a certain degree, we have become a Taiwanese version of ourselves. From the smallest details like saying 嗯! to demonstrate approval or understanding to more obvious things like having a favorite dish that just a few months ago we didn't even know of its existence, I'd dare say that every one of us has experienced at least a slight change in our habits and preferences.

Studying abroad is not a simple decision, it requires: determination, strength, support, but the most important is the willing achieving the goal you proposed.

When coming to Taiwan I discovered a different country, different environment, everything was new to me. I had never left my country for more than a month which means I had never been away from my family for any time further than a month; but after taking the decision to apply and being lucky with such a great opportunity, I decided to come.

The first month of my stay was the hardest one, because I wasn’t used to so dramatically changes, like time zone, not being able to speak the language, the amount of scooters driving crazily without respecting the traffic lights. It was really hard, and at some point I asked myself what am I doing in Taiwan? I miss my house, my family, my friends; but as I mention in my first paragraph studying abroad is not an easy decision you need support, and I had it since day one; my parents were always there for me.

How do I overcome homesickness? When I arrived here in Taiwan I’ve never felt homesick, because before to come here I prepared myself to know I will miss our typical food and family specially, but talking about the food I found some way how to get ingredients in my city and cook some meals from my country, so related with the food I don’t have problems miss it; but I will miss some meals from here when I return to my country, for example Thailand food, dumplings, Vietnam food and other meals really delicious. Now talking about my family, yes I miss them but we know the family whatever the place we are, they are grand part in our life and they always be there, remember us and help us at distance if is necessary, also is one of the rule of the life, leave them one moment in our life to success our goals; In my part I have the good luck to have my brother livening in Taiwan and he is a big support if I have this kind of issues, also I had the luck to bring my sister to visit me and travel with her around Taiwan, finally my friends in my city, I have many of them, so I won’t be feeling alone or homesick, I take them like my family and one of them appreciate and adore so much, She came with me and also we are studying in the same university, and she became like my sister. So other support that I feel here my Taiwanese friends helped me so much such as how is the life here, their customs, their food, how to get those kind of food that I mentioned before and other things that appreciate from them and other students who came before than me. Other thing I could miss, my activities in my city, but also I found the way how to do that like the gym, sports, travel to relax myself, visit place that I can enjoy the culture of the country and other things easier to do here  than my country. So to conclude, homesickness is just for me, one way where many people have to pass in their life, but nothing impossible to success that issue, we just have to put our part, be mature, know and how change something’s how to do our activities like in home.

Hello everyone I am James Paul, from Haiti and I am a graduate student of civil engineering department at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), located in Tainan. I am also a recipient of the ICDF scholarship for the international civil engineering and management program (ICEM) which is a very well-defined program.NCKU is one of the most prestigious universities in Taiwan, with a high reputation in science, engineering, medicine, management, planning and design. Since September 2013 I have been living in Taiwan, but Living far from home country is not easy, but not also complicated. How do I overcome homesickness?

My first strategy was to find people from the same region like me.There have been many challenges to overcome: such as culture, language barrier and others which may create some culture shocks and homesickness. However, when I first came in Taiwan, I was really supported by some former ICDF students from Latin countries who are in the same program with me to help me to accommodate with the life in Taiwan, and also I found help from some fellow Haitian that I have met at NCKU. Their support was very important for me to settle in Tainan community somehow to overcome some real problem that I might face as I have not spoken Chinese.

For the last three months, I had living in Tainan, Taiwan and had been a wonderful experience. Before I came to Tainan, my best friend and I had the opportunity to study Chinese in Hsinchu for ten months; and even though is the same country the situation had changed for me a lot, because this time the challenge is to pursue a Master Degree in Engineering and Management; and deal with everything again and on my own. I always see Taiwan as the best option to study abroad, because they have an excellent education system and also I will have the opportunity to learn Chinese and improve my English, tools very important nowadays.

At the beginning it is a mix of feeling, because the new environment, new people, different culture, language, weather, and classes, so on; that makes you feel excited and anxious at the same time. However Taiwan people had not disappointed on me, due of my experience in Hsinchu, they always was willing to help me in anything they can, and this situation happened in Tainan again, which makes me feel very happy to come back to my second home.

Hello, and thank you for dedicating part of your time to reading this. Considering that this is the first time I am contributing to this newsletter I think it would be appropriate to introduce myself. My name is Cristóbal Guevara, I'm from El Salvador and currently I'm studying the first semester of a Master in Civil Engineering and Management at NCKU.

Since I've only been here for three months, I haven't had many opportunities or reasons to acutely miss my home. In fact, the most serious episode I have experienced so far was halfway from my country to Taiwan. The previous weeks had been so hectic that I barely had time to say goodbye to my closest family and friends, and it was until that moment, inside a plane flying across the ocean in the middle of the night, that struck me the fact that I was leaving behind everything and everyone I knew until that moment and it would be a long time before I got to see them again. I felt overwhelmed and powerless, but there was nothing I could do about it in that moment, so I tried to sleep, which was quite easy given the fatigue of so many hours of travel. When I woke up I felt much better, and a few hours later I was arriving at Taiwan, where there were so many new experiences and things to do that I didn't think of it again. I got in contact with my family as soon as I could, and now I communicate with them, and also with my friends, on a regular basis.