Kaohsiung Medical University
Studying abroad is an enriched experience for students’ academic and personal lives, it allows students to travel abroad experiencing and exploring a different culture, the opportunity to expose in a foreign language, and embrace the foreign cultural experiences. In Solomon Island the number of students studying abroad is skyrocketing each year.
In Solomon Island, there are hundreds of students who are still struggling to get a scholarship to study either domestic or abroad, fortunately that Tony Francis has received a Taiwan scholarship during the period of 2013 and I’m so thankful for the Taiwan government for such an optimistic opportunity.
Tony Francis, who is from Solomon Island and specifically from the island of Santa Isabel is graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Medical laboratory science and biotechnology at Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan.
Being a Taiwan scholarship recipient I have to leave my country and travel to Taiwan to study. Leaving home was not easy but when an opportunity like this arrives one has to choose either to take it or not.
It was on the 28th of August that I traveled to Taiwan for study, upon the arrival at the terminal I was shocked to see tall buildings, high bridges, and smooth roads. Hearing the Solomon Island students who can speak Chinese was unbelievable.
The first year of my program was to learn Chinese language (Mandarin), I never thought that it would be that difficult, a week in Fu-Jen Catholic University learning Chinese was like torturing myself in the desert without water, I had to move my head from side to side, up and down back and forth for me to pronounce those words, it wasn’t as easy as I taught, writing was difficult, reading was difficult and speaking was extremely difficult as well.
The most unforgettable moments for me was when I went to order food from a restaurant, I had to try and imitate different animals, if I want to eat chicken I have to imitate chicken so that waitress can understand what I was trying to order from the menu. Communication was a huge problem for me during my first three months. I found it difficult to communicate with Taiwanese people although they are friendly.
Since communication is a huge problem for me I have to eat the same food for almost three months. Few months later I had started to adjust the living style and food, I started to communicate with Taiwanese and that makes everything much easier and enjoyable.
A year in language center path the way for my study in Taiwan, I had learnt while in the language center, field trip was incredible, I had visited different famous places, and some of this places are where the aboriginal Taiwanese people have lived.
I was fortunate to settle down in the southern part of Taiwan at Kaohsiung Medical University to pursue my bachelor degree after completing study in the language center. Attending Kaohsiung Medical University wasn’t easy, I have to take twenty-two credits per semester at minimum which approximately ten or eleven courses per semester, time is very precious at that time. I am regularly asked by friends and family if I am enjoying medical school and of course I always feel obliged to say yes but often struggle to elaborate further. We learn pathology, immunology, treatments and side-effects before we go to clinical skills sessions. Kaohsiung Medical University is located in the southern part of this beautiful island, Taiwan. Kaohsiung Medical University offers different courses under different colleges.
The time needed to obtain a degree in medical laboratory science at Kaohsiung Medical University, including taking the exams and a clinical practice at final year. The conveyance of knowledge and the development of skills in medical teaching are achieved through the application of a number of various activities or strategies. Lectures, practical exercises and seminars are offered by the university, to ensure that the students receive the supports needed to pass the state exams and become competent general practitioners.
To become a qualified medical technologist. You need to attend practical exercises which are held as frequent as possible with a small group of students. My six months’ internship experience in KMU prepares me to perform the practical test, comparing to our national referral hospital back home, Kaohsiung Medical Hospital is way more advance than our hospital. Taiwan educational system is tough and we student studying there really need to study hard and with that I can tell that Taiwanese put a lot of effort in prioritizing their educational system. Taking ten to eleven courses per semester is difficult for me to cope with, I had to study day and night during exam weeks and take two exams per day, at first it was challenging for me but I begin to get used to the system as I enter the second year.
Students are regularly evaluated by courses, clinical practice, seminars and lectures. The students receive certificates for successful participation in the respective teaching events, which are necessary to achieve eligibility for the exams. The University usually offers courses separately for the first and the second part of the semester of the school calendar; the student can freely choose two subjects. Performance in the elective subjects, clinical courses and practices is evaluated through appropriate tests.
Beside the challenges I faced in the university, the professors are really helpful, in the way that them continue to encourage me to study hard and not giving up. Taiwan is a beautiful place to study.
I like to explore the island and see for myself what Taiwan has during holidays. There aren’t many people who list Taiwan as their favorite country ever, but I can’t stop praising it to everyone I meet.
There is nothing to worry, because Taiwan was just as spectacular as I had remembered. Maybe even more so because this time around, I wasn’t terrified of the food. Taiwan is now my favorite country. The Taiwanese Are Ridiculously Friendly.
When I accidentally got off the train at the wrong stop in Kaohsiung and was looking lost with no idea how to get to my hostel, a guy took me to a convenient store and help me with the direction. He looked up my hostel online then wrote down the directions in English and Chinese for me.
I lost count of times someone walk me to wherever I was trying to go — even if it caused them to be late. When I was feeling lonely in Kaohsiung, my Taiwanese friends always took me out for bicycle riding or hiking. I’ve never encountered friendliness like I had in Taiwan.
Food is a Dream
Long time readers of the site will know that when I first arrived in Asia, I had never eaten rice or noodles. I lived a sheltered life and ended up spending my time in Taiwan eating junk food from 7-11. Aside from those brief moments where Taiwanese friends took me out to eat and I had to pretend I totally knew how to use chopsticks, I kept my eating habits firmly within my comfort zone.
I don’t know what I was thinking, maybe because the food in Taiwan is AMAZING!
After visiting several places and familiarize myself with Taiwanese food, I now firmly put Taiwanese food ahead of any other cuisine in the world. There are night markets in every city, full of unidentifiable dishes of deliciousness. And though you’ll have no idea what you’ve just put in your mouth, I can promise it’ll be the most incredible thing you’ve ever tasted, and you’ll immediately order 10 more.
Dumplings and steamed buns from famous Din Tai Fung; unidentifiable fried meat on skewers; my favorite cong you bing — a messy yet amazing pancake fried with spring onions and wrapped around a fried egg; spicy squid on sticks; bacon, cheese, and egg pancakes for breakfast; fried bright purple sweet potato balls; mango shaved ice drizzled with condensed milk; challenging dishes, like duck tongue, pig blood cake, and chicken feet; a hundred varieties of bubble tea; an enormous fried chicken cutlet the size of my face; oyster omelets; stinky tofu. Okay, maybe not stinky tofu. You need to come to Taiwan for the night markets and the food.
It’s no secret I have an obsession with themed restaurants, you could eat out at a different one every day for months and not run out of places to try in Taipei. There is so much fun!
Kaohsiung metro system is one of my favorites in the world: it’s clean and air-conditioned, stops are announced in English, and everyone lines up on the platforms in a single line. Getting from city to city is easy, too. Trains cover many of the destinations you’d want to visit, and the high-speed rail makes traveling down the west coast fast and enjoyable.
It’s Seriously Beautiful, You’ve got the mountains and rivers in Taroko Gorge.
The beaches in Kenting, The temple lotus park in Kaohsiung, The Sun Moon Lake. And so much more! I love the vibrant city chaos of Taipei; I still need to visit the hot springs in Beitou. One of the things that make Taiwan so great is that you’ll often feel like you’re one of the only foreigners in the country! For such a small country, Taiwan has an incredible amount to offer.
If you’re looking to visit somewhere that has incredible food, is affordable and easy to travel around, has beaches to lie on and mountains to climb, and the friendliest people you’ll ever encounter, go to Taiwan.