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4th issue by NYMU on February 2007

It’s always difficult to someone to share its impression objectively on a country where he is so welcome, however I try to do my best to describe really my observation and what I feel since I landed here in Taiwan at the CKS international airport, august 23. My first impression was that the reality has been above all I could imagine before, and my first words are Taiwan is very marvelous, since day by day I have been discovering the vivacity and the hospitality of the people and its culture even a little bit.

We were very welcome by the staff of ICDF, I would be wanted myself to do not appreciate with all my heart all the worries they gave themselves to make us feel comfortable since the first day, either by their full assistance that they never neglected to provide us or by the arrangement they did to visit some special places like the nice and spectacular Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building with its ball-shaped damper at opened sky that anyone can see, Danshuei old street and the national palace museum with many former items. The two weeks we spent in Taipei was a great occasion for all of us to get acquaintance with other people with different cultures from different counties.

 I visited the Longshan Temple in Taipei, built 1723 during the Qing Dynasty. I'm surprised that I've learnt a lot about Chinese culture from it.

In the temple's main hall where Buddha statues are located, I found thousands and thousands of candles surrounding pillars and covering walls and they are called "Candles of Light". Each candle is placed in a small space under which there is a name tag indicating whose this candle is belonged to.

They use to "sell" candle spaces for a price. It's their belief that those who have a "Candle of Light" put in the temple hall would be blessed for ever by the Buddha because of the proximity to Buddhist statues etc.

Longshan is seen as an emblematic example of Taiwanese classical architecture and I had the opportunity to observe worship a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist, and folk deities.

In the following paragraphs I want share some memories that I had experienced in Taiwan which are very special in some way. The first memory I would like to share is my most impressive memory. The most remarkable for me was visiting the tallest building in Taiwan Taipei 101 which was a really impressive experience for me.

Experiences are very vast in this life, all different, in many ways, but all with the same purpose, teach us something very value for our soul.

About experiences, there is one very weird, embarrassing moments, those moments that you hate when it happens, but after you remember them as a very funny moment.

As for me, I have many of those funny moments, especially one in Taiwan, which is a group embarrassing moment, The Dragon Dance!!

I’m from Burkina Faso a country located in the middle of West Africa. I’m doing a Master’ degree here in Taiwan at National Central University (Jhongli, Taoyuan County) in a program called: International Environment Sustainable Development.

The content of my present article could appear unusual since it will not relate anything about a cultural shock or any of these trips I have had since my year and half life in Taiwan. I think most of our previous articles have related such topics, that’s why I will focus on a topic totally different, but which appears to be on my point of view more than necessary.

When I left my country I was determine to learn from the individuals that I was going to meet in the new chapter of my life. The name of this chapter is Taiwan. Before coming her I imagine Taiwan as a place with great technology and places that I had never seen. The mentality I had was due to the comments I have heard of different individuals in my country.

It was 12:00 PM when I received a phone call from the Minister of Social Affairs of my country. That call concerned a scholarship for studying in Taiwan. Suddenly, I left my office to join the Minister of Social Affairs in order to discuss about the issue. It was amazed me when I received that call because he mentioned things we have to take into consideration involved a depth discussion. Right away, a set of questions came into my mind and I didn’t stop to ask myself “How could I survive far away from my family in a foreign country where people don’t know me? Could I cope with that during two years? Do the foreign people will receive me with happiness? When I will face a problem, to whom I have to share it? Will I get good treatment in Taiwan? Are people friendly there? All of those kinds of questions were asked by my family. Finally, I made up my mind to come in Taiwan without any doubt.

What I am about to narrate to you is weird to me. However, because of cultural differences and location, it is quite common and unique to the Taiwanese community. I was told once by my mom that everyone reality is unique to them, and everyone chooses his/her own destiny. Well in Taiwan I have witnessed and experienced some of those moments and I would like to share them with you.

I admire the vigilance of Taiwanese using Taipei’s s transit systems, specifically the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRT), and the local buses. On several occasions they sleep while using these transit systems. However, they would automatically be aware when they arrive at their destination. I tried sleeping on the MRT once, but to my dismay I overslept and missed my stop. As a result of this encounter, I came to the conclusion that it would be extremely difficult for me to mimic the Taiwanese everyday behavior because they people are already seasoned and accustomed to doing things the way they do.

It is common to experience “cultural shock” while studying in a foreign country; however, in many cases the local students are the ones shocked by international students. Almost two years ago, a group of ICDF-sponsored students came to study to Taiwan, with a large part of us coming from Spanish speaking countries.