Hello everyone, Ni Hao (你好)
Myself Nitish Nair and my Chinese name is Ni Nair (倪奈爾). I am living in Taiwan for the past 7 years. I came to Taiwan in the year of 2013 to pursue my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from WuFeng University located in Chiayi. While doing my bachelors, I was also doing internship at FEMCO, one of the most esteemed companies in Taiwan.
Before coming here, I knew Taiwan only because of Taipei 101 and as semiconductor hub of the world. When I arrived here, I was very excited. First, I was excited because it was my first time in a foreign country, and second because I was going to live something really new in my life. During my initial days, I faced many hurdles here and first on the list was language. Learning Chinese wasn’t an easy process. I used to take Chinese classes just two hours a week and all the other students in the class were from India too and this was not helping at all. Thus, from that period until now, I learned the language with the help of new local friends I had met and my Taiwanese colleagues.
Besides the experience of studying a new language, making new friends was the best aspect of living in Taiwan. I had a friend who I met at school through the language exchange program. Mostly I used to spend weekend with him and we used to go out often. He took me to many interesting places and showed me the authentic Taiwan way of life by introducing me to his family, his friends and culture. Out of all the places I visited here, I love the east part of Taiwan the most. Hualian and Taitung are so beautiful and mesmerizing that I feel like going there every once in a while.
Moreover, going out constantly and talking to him helped me to improve the skills with the language and mainly to be familiar with the Taiwanese people and their habits and customs. I came to know that in Taiwanese culture, number “4” is considered as unlucky while number 6 is considered as lucky. In India there is no specific number considered as unlucky, but people consider odd numbers like 1,5,7 as lucky, specially number ending with 1, for example 111 or 501.
The next hurdle I came across in Taiwan was food. The cuisine back home in India is primarily vegetarian and the spice content is higher as compared to Taiwanese food. I prefer to eat rice with curry. But when I came to Taiwan, the first meal I got was a Taiwanese lunch box which had white rice, cooked vegetables, pork and no spices at all! And I had to eat all that using chopsticks. This was totally new to me. But as days went by, I got used to the cuisine here and now I enjoy it. As of now, oyster omelette and minced pork rice are my favorites. Although I have learned how to use chopsticks, I have not perfectly mastered the skill yet, so I am still clumsy sometimes.
Working in a different country comes with a complete change of lifestyle – it definitely did for me. Having an 8-5 job in a different country in a different language does sound intimidating, but I realized it is an opportunity to experience something different and improve on skills, not only language skills but also life skills. After graduation, I joined the same company FEMCO. As I did my internship here, I was familiar with the people and work here. My multilingual communication skill combined with my technical skills helped me to act as a bridge between my company and the clients we have in Indian subcontinent and all across the globe.
One of the reason I love Taiwan is the way they do things here. Just take COVID-19 pandemic as an example. When the whole world is under lockdown, people in Taiwan are able to live a normal life. The level of understanding and co-operation between the government and people here is very impressive and this surprises me.
To conclude, studying, working and living in Taiwan is an enriching experience for me as it forced me to adapt to things that were unfamiliar and unusual to me. I became independent and open to new exciting and terrifying challenges that I would have never encountered in my home country. And that is the most rewarding of all, life in Taiwan gave me the opportunity to learn and develop as a person, helped me to discover new things, beliefs and passion that were unknown to me before. Interacting with new people and culture has opened my eyes to all sorts of aspects of life.