The big day finally came I have to leave for Taiwan, filled with mixed feelings leaving behind my family and friends and the obscurities of what lay ahead. It was a very hectic journey that held out for more than a day I finally arrived at the Taoyuan International Airport with quite a few friends all looking tired and beaten. Upon arrival at the airport, we met some Gambian students who escorted us to the place we will be calling home for the next four years.
The first few weeks were challenging as expected the food was completely different, most of their foods contain pork, making it impossible for me to eat these foods as a Muslim. I can remember eating so many Sardines during my first month that till this day I find it hard to eat sardines.
The Language barrier was also a very big obstacle for me in my early days; it seems whatever Chinese I learn in class wasn’t helping. Whenever I talk to people their response is “Wǒ tīng bù dǒng” meaning I don’t understand. Nothing in my entire life offended me as much as this sentence does. I believed I was saying the right thing, how comes they can’t understand me, the only thing that comes to my mind is that they just don’t want to talk to me because I’m a foreigner. Well, I guess I’m no longer a foreigner because they can understand what I’m saying.
Though at the beginning it was tough for me, but after adopting my new environment with a little improvement in my Chinese I start to have very fun and exciting experiences. I believe it’s really important to have the experience of studying abroad. It’s important because it helps to make you responsible in your life. But to be responsible you have to take the good and bad part, too.
Abdoulie Fatty is a third year student in Taiwan pursuing his degree in Civil Engineering. This was his first experience.