- To get a perfect core in SAT Subject Test for Math II and Chemistry.
- To remain in the finals for Eastern Scholastic Championships for swimming
- Be an official licenced guide and make a company, with an aim to guide and introduce young foreign students to Japanese culture.
- Organizer: Tamkang University, Chinese Language Center
- Program Name: Chinese Culture Summer Program in Tamkang University
- Date: 2 weeks in July, 2017
- Participants: International students
- Place: Tamkang University, Taipei campus
I Went to Taipei to Learn Language and Culture of Chinese
During the past summer break, I immersed myself in Taiwan, mainly to learn the Chinese language, but also to expose myself to Taiwanese culture, food, and customs.
I decided to challenge myself to learn in Taiwan because I began to learn Chinese in my high school right now; I wanted to brush up my knowledge, and my roommate is indeed Taiwanese, therefore, I was very interested and exposed to Taiwanese music and movies.
I initially thought studying Chinese could easily be done through taking language lessons in Japan, but I was also intrigued by the unique culture of Taiwan, which had bolstered my determination of studying abroad.
I enrolled in a customized program hosted by Tamkang University.
The classes were held every weekday from 9:00-12:00, and 14:00-17:00, but I also spent time with my Taiwanese friend and my host family during the weekends.
We found this flexible program through a website that specialized in providing information about study-abroad programs in Taiwan; we reserved the airplane tickets and found our potential host families by ourselves.
Two Weeks Full of Homework
As mentioned above, there were two three-hour sessions, and we used a textbook called “実用視聴華語”, from which I learned Chinese reading, speaking, listening.
We had indeed lots of homework for a language program; it usually took me more than an hour to complete. Furthermore, there were small vocabulary quizzes on a daily basis, which had encouraged me to constantly review.
Honestly, I found learning Chinese in Chinese very difficult, since I was learning Chinese in English in my high school.. Even though the teacher’s speaking was intentionally slower, conversations with classmates and peers were more challenging.
However, after being immersed myself for a week, I began to comprehend more of their conversation. Furthermore, since Japanese people are used to Kanji, I realize we have more advantages in reading and writing.
I Enjoyed Sightseeing and Food Culture As Much As Possible
During after-school hours and weekends, I did much sightseeing with the host family and the Taiwanese friend.
I visited Taipei 101 and the National Palace Museum, as well as many Taiwanese restaurants. In the National Palace Museum, I saw the famous “Jadeite Cabbage”, as well as many ancient Taiwanese writings and art.
I also had the opportunity to visit book stores in Taiwan; it was very surprising to see many Chinese-translated books by Japanese authors, including Keigo Higashino and Miyuki Miyabe. Even though these books are too difficult for a Chinese beginner like me right now, I hope to read them in the future.
I also had the opportunity to be exposed to local Taiwanese food from my host families; they prepared such delicious dinner everyday, which had significantly shaped my experience at Taiwan.
I also visited the Lungshan Temple of Munka, one of the most known Taiwanese “power spots”, with my host family. I remember I prayed for academic excellence.
I Earned Almost Full Score at “HSK” 3rd Grade
Even though I only stayed in Taiwan for two weeks, I believe I significantly improved in my Chinese knowledge and skills, especially in listening, since I only listened to Taiwanese with very minimal English not Japanese.
Through this experience, I passed the HSK 3rd grade exam with nearly a perfect score.I hope I continue to pursue Chinese as one of my interests and hobbies in my career.
Thus, from this experiences and encounters with sophisticated Taiwanese culture and language, I recommend learning Chinese in Taiwan as one effective way to learn both Mandarin and Taiwanese culture.
Editorial supervision by Komako Hattori