My time in Taiwan is reaching closer and closer to an end. Time has gone by rather fast considering that my experience began in the middle of May. I am pretty confident that I have gained some sort of lasting tangible knowledge in Chinese given that there has been a class every day for 3 hours. Additionally, I have picked up on some of the cultural behaviors in this area. Lastly, I have eaten a whole lot of food that would be rare to find in DC.
In terms of learning a new language, the class has been rather consistent. With a solid block of time set aside to learn Chinese, there have been definite improvements in vocabulary and grammar. Not only is there 3 hours for class, there is also the additional time for studying and just general usage to get by in life. The efficiency/effectiveness of the pursuit of language acquisition is much greater, especially when just focusing on a single subject.
While learning Chinese through a classroom setting is beneficial, the use of it outside of class is arguably just as important. The constant reading, listening, and speaking do wonders in reinforcing what is learned in the classroom and facilitating greater learning outside of the classroom. Communicating with people about multiple subjects that are not covered in class obviously expands the source of knowledge. This also applies to the reading of signs and whatnot when getting around the area.
Lastly, and most importantly to myself is the exploration or recollection of eating traditional Taiwanese food has been great, plus the price of items here are much more affordable than in DC. It has been interesting to eat dishes that incorporate the whole animal, which is more often done than in the US. Such dishes include the use of the insides of pigs, ex. the heart, liver, blood, etc. On the other hand, the more popular treats, such as bubble tea and potstickers, are always refreshing as well.
All in all, the study abroad experience so far has been very positive. I have continued to hit the main goals of learning Chinese and picking up on the culture.
Ander Tebbutt, BAccy 2022
Sigur Center 2019 Asian Language Fellow
National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan