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艾森雄 (祕魯)
My name is Luis Carlos Ascencion, I'm from Peru. I came to Taiwan two and a half years ago to study a Master program in agriculture, but finally I found myself envied on the culture, and my interest on knowing the language to enjoy more of my life in Taiwan lead me to deep into learning Chinese. I found that Chinese language was strongly linked to cultural practices and Asia cosmo-vision, not just by living in Taiwan but also after a trip I did to mainland china, it was clear that by learning Chinese it may open a world of new knowledge and experiences. So I decided to stay longer in Taiwan and join a Chinese language center. However learning Chinese did not start in class, it started as soon as Isteped for first time in this beautiful Isla Formosa.

Since the first day I arrive in here, the people who received me started teaching me several words,你好 (ni3hao3),謝謝 (xie4xie4),多少錢 (duo1shao3qian4),some numbers and 我沒有錢(wo3mei2you3qian2), I remember those where the first words I learned. With the time I learned some idioms, initially quite funny, but after all very resourceful when body language didn't work anymore. Among them 人山人海 (ren2shan1ren2hai4) which means, too many people or "people mountain people sea", resulted to be a special expression that a Taiwanese friend may use to justify why to ask you not to do some things that may be embarrassing; and in fact, foreigner people, because of our amaze to new things we can be quite nosy to a such conservative culture as Taiwanese. Another idiom stayed in my mind is 馬馬虎虎 (ma3ma3hu1hu1), not because I ever was told this expression by a friend, in fact I saw it on TV and was the explanation what impressed me so much. 馬馬虎虎means "do things in a not careful way", or its direct translation "horse horse tiger tiger". The complete expression I hear on TV was "男生不能馬馬虎虎" which let me understand that Taiwan and Chinese people do not work recklessly, but take into consideration every detail of their activities in daily life. I think making friends around is the first, and more effective method to learn and put in practice daily Chinese language.

Another way to learn Chinese, which I enjoyed a lot was to sing Chinese songs. In the beginning of course it was a mess, but after a quite long while of trying and practicing, I think, my friends finally could understand at least a little bit of what I sang; this is what I can guess after they told me "你的中文進步了!!! , . . . 一點點. Among other things, taking a driver license test in a country where every traffic signal is in Chinese, go to the doctor and explain an ill, travel around to enjoy the beauty of Taiwan, or simply buy everyday stuff, push you to continuously practice what you learn in class. Taking a Chinese course in Taiwan, in my opinion, is the best way to smooth the learning process of Chinese (a such a different language than mine), not just because of the structured knowledge in vocabulary and grammar you can get, but also because of the friendly environment that Taiwan offers in their schools and everyday life.
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