Friday, 24 August 2007

Studying Chinese in Taipei

Today I had a placement test for my Mandarin Chinese course. I studied here in Taipei for six months last year, and the test was to determine whether I could continue where I left off or if I would need to repeat some lessons. Fortunately I don't need to repeat any lessons.
To be honest I find Chinese a difficult language to learn, especially the writing, but I've surprised myself at how much I've learned so far, and being able to hold conversations with people in the street is a real buzz, and more than enough incentive to continue.
Walking to my school reminded me of a couple of things about Taiwan. It's amazing to me that when I come back here after a few months away to number of shops and restaraunts that have gone out of business or have opened up, the turnover here is really high.
One really good thing I was reminded of is the way blind people are treated on the metro. There are always attendents to escort people on and off the trains, and once on there is always somone willing to help, infact it's often the closest person to them, a complete stranger will just take them by the arm and offer assistance, and more than once I've seen sombody help a blind person off the train and out of the station, even though it wasn't their stop.

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