In a span of 3 weeks, I have learned and experienced a lot about Taiwan and Tainan City. The people in Tainan are known for their hospitality. The laid-back attitude, friendliness, and willing-to-help spirit of the people of Tainan speak volumes to a foreigner like me. Certain cultural differences may come as a shock, but the charm of the intimate city will draw you in before you know it. One particular charm of Tainan is the food culture. Tainan people put a big emphasis on meals, even having restaurants that are specifically for breakfast and soon closing after morning hours. There are dozens of small shops and restaurants to try, until you find that one spot that you will frequent during lunch every single day. Your taste buds will never get bored. This detail-oriented attitude is also reflected in the TISLP at National Cheng Kung University. The size of this program initially surprised me, as I did not expect the staff for one summer program to be so large and the curriculum to be so thorough. This makes for a heavy workload, but the potential for progress is guaranteed. At times, the stress and homesickness, along with any additional circumstances, can weigh heavily on a student, but it’s encouraging to see how involved the teachers are and how they genuinely care for their students. One very enjoyable event was the Chinese Table, where all the students and their main teachers had dinner together. We all got to see our teachers outside of the classroom setting and really get to see how human they are, while laughing, eating, and pouring tea for each other. The time here passes quickly, so it’s important to take advantage of all the opportunities to soak in as much Chinese, culture, and memories as possible. It will surely be an unforgettable and fruitful experience for anyone who participates.
By: Giselle Jernigan
Term: Summer 2019