I remember when I just moved here, many people thought Taiwan is located in China and that has always made me laugh, but annoyed at the same time. Taiwan, which is about the size of Maryland and Delaware together, is a small country located in East Asia off the coast of China, and southwest of Japan. Separated not only by the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan and the United States are also separated by the differences in school system, culture, and environment. I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and I lived there for a great part of my life. I moved to America when I was still in middle school.
A huge difference between Taiwan and America is school system. Students stay in a classroom and teachers move from one classroom to another. Furthermore, students do not get to choose classes until college. Perhaps I remember I hate the most about school is not having enough vacations. I could never forget the time I looked through my calendar and I have only one day off from school for the semester, it was just unbelievable. Even when we are on vacation, teachers always give us a lot of homework, and it looks like they do not want us to enjoy the vacation.
Moreover, schools start at 7:50A. M. , and students do not get out of school until 5:00P. M. Afterward, most of the students have to go to the cram schools for another two or three hours. Cram schools are specialized schools that train their students to meet particular goals, and they are really popular in Taiwan. Even a teacher from school can open one of their own. During the last year of middle school, we had to stay in school until 9:00P. M. in order to prepare for the test which is required for high school admission. School is a very competitive place in Taiwan.
I started as a freshman in high school in Atlanta, Georgia. I was surprised that there are so many holidays just in one semester. There is at least one holiday each month. It is just like a heaven for me, and teachers don’t really give you homework during the holidays. Also, I get to get out of school at 3:40P. M. , and there are no cram schools that I have to go. Teachers encourage students and don’t give a lot of pressure nor push too hard. In the same way, teachers like students to be creative and think outside of the box. Schools in the United States also urge students to volunteer.
I remember when I was a senior in high school, and we have a day called the senior service day. On that day, all seniors have different duties like cleaning parks, planting trees, and helping out at an elementary school. Additionally, public schools are free from elementary through high schools. Therefore, parents do not have to worry about paying for admission and book fees until their children go to college. In Taiwan, parents want their kids to be ahead which is why they send their kids to different kinds of lessons when they are still little.
I remember I have taken piano lessons, painting lessons, writing lessons, English classes, and math classes; you name it, and I’ve probably had the lesson. Most of the people also believe getting into a good college leads to a better future, which is why everyone has to get into the best college. People define a better future as making a lot of money. My mom always tells me if I don’t get into a good college, I will not find a job and my life will be horrible. Health is also really important to Taiwanese people, and they will do anything to be healthy.
Consequently, there are a lot of shows telling people how to be healthy and people do whatever they hear. Similarly, parents in the United States want their children to get into a good college as well. However, the most important thing for parents is their children are enjoying the things they are doing, and they don’t have to make a lot of money in order to be happy. Whatever they decide to do, parents always support them. People also emphasize being healthy in the United States with healthy lifestyle by exercise and eat right.
It is really convenient in Taiwan. You can go to many places just by walking. You can find a grocery store right off the street where you live or a restaurant. If it’s a little far, you can always take a bus or a cab. However, it is very hard to find a parking lot. Sometimes, my dad had to spend at least half an hour to drive around to get a parking lot. Also, scooters are popular in Taiwan because it’s small, doesn’t take a lot of space, and easier to find a parking lot. Nevertheless, the weather is always hot and humid because Taiwan is surrounded by sea.
Whenever I took a shower, I was sweating already by the time I got out. Typhoon season is between June and September, so it is raining most of the time. Also, Taiwan has bad pollutions, there are many people have allergies. My nose was always stuffed when I was in Taiwan, but it never happens after I moved to the United States. Weather in Atlanta is always dry and mostly sunny. Even it’s cold in winter, there is snow to have a snow fight and there are plenty of winter sports to play. I went to Boston last winter and learned how to snowboard.
I had a lot of fun even though I fell hundreds of times. However, if I was in Taiwan, I never get to experience this. Also, the land is really big so I don’t have to worry about looking for a parking lot wherever I go. Now I know why there were many people in Taiwan dream to move here. It is not as stress as in Taiwan, and encouragement is used rather than keeping students for after school. Better school system, and different ways of expectations, and changes of season. After living here for five years, I know I will definitely live here for the rest of my life.