First of all let me explain how it all started:
I found Philip's blog because it had a name similar to mine, so I read his profile and wrote the following post:
Hi Philip, It's me again. I'm a high school teacher in Brazil and I've been thinking about interviewing you by e-mail and post it in my blog. It would be a great experience for me to know how do you live and teach English in Taiwan and I believe my students will also appreciate it. They are now creating their own blog to practice the writing skill.
Send me an e-mail if you are interested in helping me with this "crazy" idea.
my e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I got ur message on my blog ! I'd like to help you. Let me know what you have in mind
My students and I wrote the following questions:
Q: Where were you born?
A: I was born in a town called Ermelo in the north-eastern part of South Africa.
Q: How many languages do you speak?
A:I speak three languages.They are English, Afrikaans and a little Chinese.
Q:Why have you decided to become an English teacher?
A:I studied to become a teacher when I was at university, so it’s my profession. English is the only subject I can teach in Taiwan but I love it !
Q:Have you gone to a university?
A: Yes, studied at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and attained a BA(Ed) degree.
Q:How did you get the opportunity to teach English in Taiwan?
A: A friend of mine in South Africa had a contract with a Taiwanese company to recruit teachers for them. One day he asked me whether I’d like to teach English in Taiwan. I did a phone interview with the company and got hired.
Q:What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I spend most of my free time at gym working out. I also like to go to the movies and hang out with friends on weekends.
Q:Was it difficult to get used to living in Taiwan?
A: The first few months were really tough. Taiwanese culture is totally different from my culture. It was especially hard to get used to the food and the weather here.
Q:Have you ever been to Brazil? If not, would you like to visit it?
A: I have never been to Brazil but I would love to visit Brazil. It seems that, just like South Africa, Brazil has a lively mix of different cultures.
Q:What kind school do you teach? Is it public or private?
A:I teach at a language center that is situated on the campus of the National Taiwan University. It’s semi-private.
Q:Are you married?
A:I’m not married. I really enjoy the freedom it gives me.
Q:Do you have children?
A: I don’t have children of my own but I do love children.
Q: Do your students learn English easily?
A: This really depends on the students. Some learn faster than others, but I believe all students are able to speak English fluently if they really study hard and study correctly.
Q:Do you speak Mandarin Chinese? Is it difficult to learn it?
A:I can speak some Mandarin Chinese, I try to study more in my free time.
Mandarin Chinese is kind of difficult.
Q:What are the typical foods in Taiwan? What is your favorite typical food?
A: Some typical foods are dumplings, hot pot and beef noodles. My favorite is beef noodles.
Hot pot (Photo credit: China Foto Press)
Q: What is the most beautiful sight in Taiwan? Could you send us a picture of one of this sight?
A: There are many beautiful sights in Taiwan. To me Taroko Gorge in the Taroko National Park is the most beautiful place in Taiwan. Just Google it, there are lots of beautiful pictures online.
Ok, I found theses images:
Q:What are the most popular regional songs in Taiwan? Could you send us a youtube link with one of the most popular regional song in Taiwan?
A: Mandrin pop music , Japanese pop music and Korean pop music are the most popular. The most popular female singer in Taiwan is Jolin Tsai. I’ll forward you a link a popular song of hers.
Q:What sports do people in Taiwan practice?
A: Taiwan is not exactly a sport crazy country. The national sport is baseball and basketball is also popular here.
Q:What do people in Taiwan do in their leisure time?
A: Cycling has recently become a popular leisure time activity, however most people watch TV, shop or sleep in their free time.
Q: How do people in Taiwan treat the elderly?
A: The elderly are respected and treated really well in Taiwan.
Q:What are the most important holidays in Taiwan?
A: The most important holidays in Taiwan are Chinese New Year and Moon Festival.
Q: How is the year calendar in Taiwan?
A: According to Chinese culture they follow the Lunar Calendar.
Q:Are Taiwan people religious? What are the most common religions in Taiwan?
A: People are quite religious. Taoism and Buddhism are the most common.
Q:How is the climate in Taiwan?
A: Summers in Taiwan are really hot and humid. Winters are very wet and cold. Spring and fall are the most comfortable.
Q:How is medicine and health care in Taiwan?
A:In Taiwan all people have National Health insurance which is pretty good and not very expensive.
Q:How is education in Taiwan?
A:Education in Taiwan is pretty good. Most students go to government schools, which are pretty good. It’s very competitive though and most students attend extra English and Math classes.
Q:How is architecture design in Taiwan?
A:Unfortunately architecture in Taiwan isn’t great. Popular building styles are kind of boring. A lot of buildings look very similar. There are some great looking buildings but not many.
Q:What is the most important thing you have learned during the period you've lived in Taiwan?
A: It’s not an easy question to answer because I’ve lived here for so long and I’ve learned a lot. But if I have to single one thing out it would be this:
It doesn't matter where on earth you live, if you really want to be happy, you need to choose to be happy and be it. Happiness is a choice.