Can I Be a Foreign Student?

By Chen Pin Hua(陳品樺)

Studying abroad might be a dream for Taiwanese students. However, is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? Actually, studying abroad isn’t as simple as we think. Accordingly, in our in-depth coverage, we interviewed two students: one has studied in the Untied Kingdom since senior high school and the other was an exchange student to Turkey. Their life stories might help us clarify some myths and make better decisions.

Racism is believed to be the primary challenge for foreign students. Other than being made fun of because of our skin colour, stereotypes can also be harmful. Lilliana Liu(劉語合) is a student of the London School of Economics and Political Science(倫敦政治經濟學院LSE)and president of Taiwanese Society, an LSE students’ union. Liu said that she wanted to make other Taiwanese students feel England is another place they can call home. Having lived in the UK for over seven years, she knows what it means to be home sick. But for those want to study abroad, she recommended ’’make sure your English ability is good enough.’’

Lilliana Liu(left),the president of the LSE Taiwanese Society.
Lilliana Liu(left),the president of the LSE Taiwanese Society. Photo/ Lilliana Liu(劉語合)

In her secondary school years in the UK, Liu had to take second language classes. Because of her nationality, teachers turned down her application for taking French class, saying ’’You are a Taiwanese student, you have to take English as a second language.’’ She was desperate, but she put in extra efforts to prove her skills and talent. ‘’Instead of the teasing words people usually use to poke fun at Asians, they despise us subconsciously and that truly is frustrating.’’

Lilliana Liu(right/2)has participated in the Model United Nation.
Lilliana Liu(right/2)has participated in the Model United Nation. photo/ Lilliana Liu(劉語合)

Nevertheless, we were born in Taiwan, and naturally have beige skin Therefore, we asked Chen Yi-yun (陳奕云), a student of National Chengchi University(國立政治大學)who had been an exchange student at Ankara University(安卡拉大學)in Turkey for a year, what is the most important characteristic for foreign students to conquer those difficulties. ‘’Be open minded’’ was her answer.

Chen, Yi-Yun was having a tradition meal with a family in Turkey.
Chen, Yi-Yun was having a tradition meal with a family in Turkey. Photo/ Chen, Yi-Yun(陳奕云)

Moreover, most of the Turks are Muslim, so our lifestyle is quite different from theirs. Due to the diversity, Chen chose to ‘’embrace the differences.’’

Chen,Yi-Yun(right/4)and her classmates in Turkey.
Chen,Yi-Yun(right/4)and her classmates in Turkey. Photo/ Chen, Yi-Yun(陳奕云)

Despite the discrepancy with her Turkish school mates, Chen bears in mind not to use her antiquated impression to see her new friends. Muslim have their own religious tradition, such as not eting pork and worshiping Alah five times a day. ‘’Sometime I would pray with them as well,’’ she said. Showing them our respect would not only give us a wonderful experience but also make a lot of friends. Being an exchange student could broaden our horizon from many perspectives; however, one year was too short a time to explore in depth a city, a country or its culture.

There are two sides to every question. Studying abroad might be difficult at first, but if we can open up our mind and work harder than others, we could gain more than we ever imagine.