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Student adapts to Taiwanese life

The Parthenon

Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013

Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2013 23:05

cond half of the semester adjusting to a new way of living.

Good has been living in Taiwan the past couple months and has been studying business beside other exchange and local students.

While there are many differences between life in Taiwan and life in America, there are also similarities that have helped Good adjust to life in another country.

She said one similarity is the way students behave in Taiwan.

“I don’t really know there is that much difference,” Good said. “Students go to class, have dinner with friends, study for tests, procrastinate on assignments, go to work, participate in clubs and organizations, play sports and do whatever they want for fun on the nights and weekends.”

Good said the organized school sports are not as big a deal or as promoted in Taiwan as they are in America.

Being an exchange student, Good has not had to take all her classes in a foreign language. Good said most of her classes are geared toward exchange students or are in English for Taiwanese students who want to improve in speaking that language.

Being an exchange student can have other advantages too.

“Teachers really want the students to enjoy their time in Taiwan and explore more of the country and culture, so the classes are less demanding,” Good said.

The way the classes are set up is different than at Marshall.

“You only have class once a week for two to three hours with a 10 minute break every 50 minutes, except for my Chinese classes, which is two hours every day,” Good said.

Aside from the college aspect, there are other parts of Good’s daily life that are different.

While she still eats meals at the cafeterias and restaurants, she also has the option of eating at a vendor on the street near campus. Good said she has to have a friend go with her to restaurants because the menus are all in Chinese and she is not able to read what they say.

In her spare time, Good goes to night markets, which she said are popular in Taiwan and have different kinds of local food, crafts, clothes, pets and games.

“Some are simple and similar to the set up of a flea market or arts and crafts fair, while others are much larger and more like Chinatown,” Good said. “The prices are usually always the cheapest at night markets, although they may not always be the most sanitary places to buy food.”

Good said in order to get from place to place, she generally has to walk or ride the bus, which can also be a challenge because the schedules are not in English. Many Taiwanese people ride motorbikes everywhere.

Good has had to get used to different aspects of the culture in Taiwan as well.

“The biggest difference between the two cultures, for me, is definitely the language,” Good said. “Students here can speak a varying amount of English depending on their past education and how comfortable they feel with speaking it.”

Despite the differences in language, daily life, beliefs, customs and other parts of the culture, Good said there are a lot of similarities past the surface of people.

“We like to laugh, have fun, sing along to our favorite songs and spend time with family and friends,” Good said. “We also all face hardships and challenges in life, whether they be a difficult test, learning a new language, family issues, health problems or a national tragedy. The culture may be different here, but personally the surface differences of foods, languages and customs are not a problem at all because the deeper aspects of life, such as thoughts, desires and emotions, are the same.”

Jessica Ramey can be contacted at ramey95@marshall.edu.

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