EDITING : 2021.9.9 목 22:57
The Gachon Herald
What it was like to be an exchange student in Taiwan
kweagle  |  g.herald1984@gmail.com
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Updated : 2021.01.27  15:51:03
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At the beginning of 2020, when I planned to leave for Taiwan, Corona 19 was in full swing worldwide, including in China and Korea. We can't stop for a moment now because it's a reality dominated by Corona 19. You need to develop the ability to adapt to changes quickly and flexibly. Although there were safety problems, I thought I would regret it if I missed this opportunity. I thought that was the only time I could study abroad to learn and feel language and culture, so I chose to go to Taiwan without hesitation.

  Living abroad for about five months was not easy. Various education programs were conducted on campus, and we had to make a lot of preparations, such as collecting visa applications and medical checkups. The process was very complicated, but I felt relieved that I could live a stable life in Taiwan through such a thorough process. When I arrived in Taiwan at the airport, the first thing I did was to buy a mobile phone USIM, but I couldn't speak Chinese well, so I felt like I was running into a wall from the beginning. Many employees in Taiwan are not fluent in English. However, I was not anxious and rather motivated by the expectation that there would be more opportunities to communicate in Chinese. It took about 5 hours from the airport to school by car, and my school life began. I started school two weeks after I arrived due to Corona 19 regulation. I could enjoy the time by touring the campus and traveling Kaohsiung and Kenting for two weeks.

Most of the major classes were conducted in English for exchange students. Fortunately, the Taiwanese students were good at English. All the friends abroad were kind and there were many friends who were fluent in Korean, thanks to the famous K-pop and K-drama. Using Chinese and English, I felt that I was growing fast by speaking in three languages while teaching them Korean. Besides the major classes, there were three classes, which were Chinese vocabulary, grammar, and communication. It was very helpful to help strengthen the foundation with review and quizzes. Besides the class, there was a buddy who helped me adjust to school life. The fact that we talked in Chinese, English, and Korean every day on weekdays while we were together. That friend gave me a good opportunity to get more interested in Chinese.

I only memorized Chinese words before I went to Taiwan as an exchange student, but I never studied Chinese professionally and never spoke Chinese, so I wondered if I could do well. However, I was able to develop my Chinese at a fast pace as I learned and started it with interest. While spending a semester in Taiwan, I was naturally exposed to the Chinese language in my daily life, such as online or on-site purchases, choosing menus at restaurants, and going to nail shops or hair salons. Gachon University has a lot of overseas programs like this. I recommend that many other students enjoy this opportunity. Thank you for reading.

 

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