For most people who lived half of their life in the same nation, leaving one’s native place is similar to selecting a different place that is completely different from one’s own growing environment to continue their future life, which is an unimaginable matter.
Currently serving as an English teacher in Dong Hai Elementary School, Adam Matz is an English teaching assistant that Fulbright Foundation helped to recruit. However, as early as in 1999, Adam has made an indissoluble bond with Taiwan after he came to Taiwan for the first time.
“At that time, I just graduated from school and wanted to find a job. Among the three countries, Korea, Taiwan and China, I chose Taiwan.” “Since Korea is very similar to my hometown, Seattle, there is nothing too amazing or there are no special places. Hence, I decided to come to Taiwan.”, said Adam slowly.
Having experiences of living in cities other than Taitung, in particular, metropolitan regions such as Taichung, Adam speaks about his first impression when entering the simplicity of Taitung for the first time: “Taitung is very rural.” When coming to Taitung in 2006, I even felt that there are many roads without English road signs. “For a foreigner who doesn’t understand Chinese completely, it will be more complicated when travelling.” Luckily, Adam had taken Chinese courses in Tunghai University. This allowed him to be able to communicate smoothly with verbal words. He also had some level of proficiency in Chinese reading and writing so that he adapted himself into the local life quickly.
“I usually like to run, and I attended a few rounds of Marathon.” If you are a person who loves outdoor activities, in particular, exercises such as riding bikes, running, living in Taitung is indeed a very fortunate thing. “I went to western Taiwan to attend Marathon. Though having fun, I will breathe in some PM2.5 inevitably. Having a sense of humor is also one of his personal traits. This makes his teaching especially loved by kids. Adam has been teaching English in Taiwan. In 2011 and 2013, he brought the kids from Taitung to attend the program “Partners in Learning” held by Microsoft Company together and won the World Education Forum Award. This proves that even kids from back of the mountain can have excellent and brilliant performance. This builds a great confidence in the kids.
“Taitung is one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
Adam takes the holiday resort, Hawaii, for comparison. “The consumption in Hawaii is very high and the population there is too high and too dense; however, it is different in Taitung, if you want to see the mountains or the seas, you don’t need to spend too much time on traffic. It is a very suitable place for developing sightseeing and tourism.” He speaks about his perspective in a manner neither too fast nor too slow. We can feel that the place that he once thought as a rural region in the beginning is in fact a beautiful place and a place worthy of in-depth discovery.
Other than the habit of exercising, Adam also operates his own blog “Taiwan Style-The Chance Encounter of Western and Eastern”. The blog records the various events related to his life in Taitung. His stroke not only filled with emotion but also inevitably added first-hand information about local tourism in Taitung, presenting such information in both Chinese and English. This makes many foreign travelers discovering his blog when searching the keyword, Taitung, and asking him many questions about sightseeing in Taitung, and even asking about topics beside travel information quite often. They treat him just like “Taitung Dictionary”, which makes him feel especially involved.
“If Taitung wish to go towards the world, creating an English environment is very important.” Adam drew this conclusion with a serious look. For a foreigner who is very fluent in Chinese, the life in Taitung is very laid-back. But for foreign friends around Adam, most of them don’t quite understand Chinese. They will still encounter inconvenient things. For example, when a friend who only understands English comes to the restaurant to have a meal, reading the menu is similar to reading a book from heaven; though for him, Taitung is already a place even better than vacation paradise, he still provides his suggestions enthusiastically. However, how much fun will it be to look at Taitung from the perspective of a foreigner?
Mark When you have time, why don’t you visit Adam’s blog to see his wonderful experiences in Taitung!