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When I was studying abroad for the first time in my life, I had to fight really hard for my Taiwanese identity. There were a lot of Chinese students (unlike Taiwanese students) who were trying to verbally bully us, teasing us about our identity.
I remember the first day of university, I had to make a self-introduction and someone in the seats shouted, “Taiwan is part of China." I could have made a smart reply, but I didn’t want to lose my temper and show that I was of their level. Instead, it gave me the strength to take action and start telling people around me the differences between Taiwan and China.
For example, I studied really hard and hung out with a lot of foreigners. I also traveled around to show that Taiwanese people are different. Back then most of the Chinese students used translated textbooks. They also hung out only with each other and spoke Chinese in class. It was like you were not even studying abroad. Doing all this worked for me.
My Chinese classmates were quite hostile towards me at the beginning. I remember a friend telling me that they were talking on WeChat about doing something to annoy me because I was Taiwanese. But in the end, they didn’t. I think it’s because when they asked me questions, I showed that I was willing to help them and I wasn’t their enemy.
For example, when they asked me questions about a TV show they were watching but couldn’t understand some slangs, or about some Taiwanese dramas, or assignments and so on. They slowly started to show signs of friendliness and it grew into wanting to know more about Taiwan and even wishing to visit me, including the guy who shouted on my first day that Taiwan was part of China. He is now a good friend of mine.
Edited by Olivia Yang
The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The original article was published on Humans of Taiwan here: (1/2) (2/2)