As a New Zealander studying Chinese in Tainan, I am constantly reminded of the incredible cultural diversity in New Zealand. Tainan is such a different place, always bustling and full of life! Let me tell you what I have been up to this first week abroad.
My experience in Tainan has been one of amazing discovery and learning. I am constantly surprised by the friendly locals who take the time to help me navigate the language and cultural differences. Every day I am pushed out of my comfort zone and learn something new, especially with the different writing systems. The classes I take are incredibly challenging, but the rewards are immense. I am furthering my skills in speaking, reading, and writing, as well as understanding the culture and history behind the language. My classmates come from around the world, and we often share stories about our respective cultures.
Tainan is a city steeped in culture with a history that dates back centuries. I’ve been able to explore the many landmarks and monuments, including the centuries-old Chihkan Tower and the Anping district. The city has a unique mix of Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese influences, which I’ve observed and appreciated. From the ancient temples and shrines to the modern shopping districts, there is something for everyone to explore. It’s been incredible studying Chinese in Tainan has opened my eyes to a new culture and language while also providing me with a greater appreciation of my own. As we learnt in class, it has been a 大開眼界 experience.
One of my most unique experiences in Tainan was visiting a cat cafe. These cafes are popular hangout spots for locals and tourists, and it was great to experience them firsthand. I interacted with the cats, enjoyed a cup of tea, and took in the atmosphere. It helped me to 放心 and miss my own cat a little less.
But what really stands out about Tainan is its amazing food. The local cuisine here combines Taiwanese and Chinese dishes with unique flavours. I’ve been able to sample various dishes, from street food to fine dining. I especially love having火鍋 (hot pot, pictured above) and the Tainan special 牛肉湯 (beef noodle soup). Everything I’ve had has been delicious, and I’m sure I’ll keep exploring the local cuisine for the rest of my stay.
My time in Tainan so far has been an incredible learning experience. Not only did I get to further my studies in Chinese in this first week alone, I also had the chance to explore the unique landmarks and cultural sites that make Tainan such a unique city. I’m really starting to fall in love with this incredible place, 我愛你, 臺南.