Overview of Taiwan

Actually this is an assignment I was asked to write in my “Get to know Finland” course, nothing special here but could glimpse how it is in Taiwan in very shallow way. However, hopefully it still presents a brief introductory story of Taiwan.

In General

image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Taiwan_ROC_political_divisions_labeled.svg/2000px-Taiwan_ROC_political_divisions_labeled.svg.png

Taiwan, my home country, is rather small, crowded, but of quite well-rounded functionalities. 4 times of number of people but 0.1 times area we have compared to Finland.

The Cities and Tourism

The metropolitan cities in Taiwan are (from north to south) Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. There are not only more modern but also the cities being poured most financial resources into. Other cities, like Miaoli, Pingtung, I-Lan, Hualien, and Taitung are rich in their natural and cultural resources which always attract huge amounts of local and foreign tourists. If one would like to visit Taiwan, the experiences gained from those cities would be much much better than that of visiting Taipei 101, the tallest building in the nation. The best parts, in my personal view, to visit are mountains (many of them are over 3,000m) and hot springs. Given that Finns enjoy nature things and sauna while Taiwanese enjoy trekking and immerse themselves in hot mineral springs, I think we do share similarity in some sense. The intense motion between European Plate and Philippine Sea Plate make the nation has long and high ridge lying on almost from most northern to most southern Taiwan. Therefore, we have several national parks with awesome 360-degree views from the top of the mountain as long as one is strong enough to make it to the top. Trekking and camping among the mountain trails and fields are really enjoyable. Forests, are also the precious resources we have.

Food and Daily Lives

Taiwanese dine out often and maybe it’s because we work longer. One can always find food stands, which offer cheap meals, opening until 12am. We have 7–11 and other convenient stores that are 24/7. Besides, we love to have beverages, like different types of teas with bubbles, fruits, or some sweets in them. One can see everyone take a cup of beverage hanging out on street very commonly. Food diversity is pretty wide. We enjoy Japanese food, Italian food, or American food, or I could say that we don’t really have much so-called “traditional Chinese food”. The restaurants are not that expensive, so we often go to restaurant with friends and family.

Languages and Education

“Traditional Chinese” are our official language, different from China’s “Simplified Chinese”. Intonation, pronunciation, and even the alphabets from Taiwan are different from China’s. Besides, there are also people speaking Taiwanese, especially people who lives in the southern Taiwan (like me). We are taught English from we are in the elementary school, however, one probably cannot feel that many of us could really speak fluent English or communicate with others or foreigners in English.

We have 9-year obligatory education. I could say students are mostly stressful during that period. Tests and long-hour studies stuffing and eating teenager’s moment. Mostly everyone attend cram school to learn “test” subjects like Math, Science, Chinese Literature, English, etc. The contents they are taught are pretty much similar with what school’s teachers teach, but unfortunately their parents always think their children could keep pace with others more easily to study in cram school. It is like 7–17 is for school time, 18–21 is for cram school time, and 21–23 is for self-studying moment day in and out. It’s scary.

Most people also receive higher education in University. It is like everyone has Master’s Degree nowadays in Taiwan. The good part of it is, higher education is rather cheap compared to most western countries, the figure is like 500–800 euros per semester. The worse part of it is, many private universities spring out quickly, but their qualities are always being doubted. It turns out that competitions are fierce to get into national universities.

I guess that’s it!