Making international friends in Taiwan
By Nelson Huang
It was a regular January winter night as I headed to a bar in Taipei. The place was Brass Monkey and inside they were having an activity. There were attractive men and women hanging out by the pool table. “Hi! Nelson!” A big friendly smile greeted me. “Welcome to our event!” That was my first impression of the International Student Meetups in Taipei.
I started regularly attending their events and soon became the first Taiwanese organizer of the Foreign Students Club. Sometimes people ask me why I like to join the international student events and why I like to help organize, since I am a local student. Here I want to share my motivations to join this club and how other foreigners and locals alike can benefit from participating as well.
- Networking Opportunities
Imagine you are in Kaohsiung and your girl-friend is traveling in Oslo, and she gets stuck during a heavy snowfall. You remember you met some Norwegian students before who are now back home. Maybe they can help or give you some advice, if only you had stayed in touch. Get my point? By making new friends from many different places, you’ll have a valuable network of people who can assist each other when it comes to traveling, studying, finding a job overseas, or even dating (maybe they introduce their friend to you and you end up dating). Of course you will have to go out of your way at times to help those people, but it’s more than worth it for the help you get in return.
- Learning Intercultural Communication
Knowing more people means listening to more stories and exploring more psychologies. It is like seeing the world through multiple pairs of eyes. That might not seem important to you, but knowing how people think can be helpful in many ways. We live in an international world and we will always be in contact with people from different parts of the world. Intercultural communication is a great skill to hone, whether it be for making friends, talking to strangers, traveling abroad, or getting along at your workplace.
Now you might believe this is not that important but then ask those who’ve been lonely and know the feeling. I bet you’ve been there, too. The best part of socializing in a friendly environment is that it is easier for you to make new friends and build your confidence for meeting strangers. Socializing is an important skill for life and work. And it’s never too late to start socializing, is it? And the added bonus is of a community event is, many of us know each other already, at least well enough to keep you safe if you get drunk or lose something.
The purpose of the Foreign Students Club is to help you make the most of your stay in Taiwan. Being in Taiwan isn’t only for studying or making money. It can also be an unforgettable experience of making friends, networking, and building your character.
We also need your help to improve our organization and make it a better platform for all international (and local) students like you. Please do not hesitate to give us your suggestions.
Thursday’s international student meet-up is just one of the projects run by the Foreign Students Club – and it’s all free (along with free drinks for ladies!), but if you’re a guy, please come before 9pm or the bar will charge you 150NT. To keep up to date on events and projects, please follow our Page. And you can learn more about us at the links below:
About the Author
Nelson Huang is studying Public Health at Fu Ren University. He speaks English, some Spanish and loves making friends with people from all over the world. He has been helping to organize the international meetups for the Foreign Students Club on thursdays for almost a year.