The InSite: What was your reaction
when your dad said you were going to move?
Simona: We had talked about moving
before, so I wasn't entirely shocked. But (to)
Taiwan! (That) was a shock. I didn't even know
where Taiwan was
and when I got here I was
really shocked at how different it was from Italy.
I expected some place
didn't even know where Taiwan
TI: What was your first impression of
Simona: It was extremely hot and humid.
Also, the people are so conservative here
seems like everyone is so concerned about tradition
and "following the rules." In Italy everybody is
much more open minded. You wear whatever you want,
and nobody cares
it's a show of your
personality. Here, in Taiwan, there's a set
standard, and if you differ too much they can't
accept it. And they treat those people (who don't
conform) pretty badly
I think that's really
TI: Are there things you admire about the
culture in Taiwan?
Simona: I admire the strong moral ethics
of the people, and the strong work ethic.
admire the strong ethics of the people, and the
strong work ethic.
TI: Is the language difference a
Simona: Not really (laughs), you would be
amazed at how far gestures go. Also, there are many
people here that do know a few words of English.
And hey! For prices there's always a calculator!
But seriously, ... the language problem doesn't
TI: What's it like not being Chinese when
everyone else around you is? In other words, do you
feel like you stand out in the crowd?
Simona: Definitely! It's not like in
America, where everyone is of different races.
(Here) it's almost completely Chinese, so when I
walk down the street with my blond curly hair....
(Laughs) but ... I don't really mind.
language problem doesn't really exist...You
would be amazed at how far gestures
TI: Have you met any prejudice against
you because you are a stranger?
Simona: No, actually, people bend over
backwards often to give a helping hand, most people
are very nice. Cab drivers even try to teach me
Chinese in the taxi! (Laughs)
TI: How about your new school? How is
it different from your old school in Italy?
Simona: Both are American Schools
(schools for American students living abroad.)
(But) the personality and culture of the school is
heavily influenced by the culture surrounding it.
The Italian American School was much more
easygoing, and not so much concerned with grades.
Here, the competition for grades is enormous,
mostly because of the pressure the Chinese students
(a large majority of the school's population) get
from their parents. The Chinese definition of
success is based so much on what kind of grades you
get, so the stress and competition at the Taipei
American School (TAS) is crazy. There's so much
work! In Italy we could go out every day, but at
TAS all you do every weekday is homework. I have no
life on weekdays.
people bend over backwards often to give
[you] a helping hand...
TI: Have you made any Chinese
Simona: I have friends who are Chinese,
but not local people. TAS's community is very
separate from the local community. (Also).... since
I do not speak the language, I do not really
interact with any local Chinese people.
TI: What advice would you give to
teens moving ?
Simona: Try to keep an open mind,
especially if you're moving to another country.
People have different cultures and traditions, some
that you won't understand
you have to learn to
respect them and not judge them from your values or
your mind set, because you're the guest in their
member Kathy Chang is also a
to keep an open mind, especially if you're
moving to another country. People have
different cultures and traditions, some that
you won't understand...you have to learn to
respect them and not judge them from your
values or your mind set, because you're
the guest in their world.
student at the Taipei