Honiara’s sole Mandarin teacher, Li Kuei Mi, has had feedback from Solomon Islands students studying in Taiwan’s universities. As well as studying, the students are also enjoying speaking Mandarin (Taiwan’s common language) as it is the easiest way to communicate with the Taiwanese people around them, she said.Ms Li, during her annual break from teaching at Solomon Islands National University (SINU), visited some of the students she taught here before the left to study in Taiwan. They are based in Kaoshiung and Taipei Simon Tewa Tomasusu, Joseph Lefotoo and Robinson Minevaleke are currently doing their Post Baccalaureate in Medicine in I-Shou University in Kaoshiung. Ms Li guided them to one of her favourite neighbourhoods in Kaoshiung, Pier 2 Art Centre, a vibrant recreational zone transformed from clusters of abandoned warehouses.
So far, Ms Li said the three students were all satisfied with their studies in Kaoshiung. Joseph Lefotoo said that the Taiwanese strive for the best. “They are very innovative and want to lead in areas of science, medicine and other technologies. It is a country that always does research in science, medicine as well as sociology.
“Taiwan has some of the best universities and hospitals in the world, hospitals which are fully equipped. “I think Taiwanese people are the most loving, kind, with moral values, studious, considerate and very smart,” Joseph said. He added that Taiwanese are always proud of what they are doing, especially in presenting their
country to the rest of the world. They want to contribute to the welfare of humanity around the globe. Robinson Minevaleke described Taiwan as rich with diverse culture and a relatively low cost lifestyle, an amazing and cheap transportation system, advanced technologies, and quality and affordable education. “That is remarkable and that’s what makes Taiwan stand out and be one of the best countries in the region.
“Taiwanese people are the friendliest people you will ever come across in life. It might be difficult to understand them at first because of culture and language barriers, but once you get to know them, you realize how warm and hospitable they are and that they view interpersonal relationships as above money and interest.” Ms Li asked the students why studying Mandarin was important before going to Taiwan. The classes that they attended here were very helpful when they arrived in Taiwan, she said. They regretted not having the chance to study longer before going to Taiwan. Joseph thought it was essential to learn Mandarin in this age of globalization.
Robinson said Mandarin was useful when getting around Taiwan. “My study is delivered in English and that helps a lot. However to communicate and socialize with the locals or buy food from the restaurants, I require some knowledge of Mandarin language.”