I’ve been in Taiwan for over a week. When I was on the airplane, I was so anxious that I’ve watched 7 movies to avoid thinking about going to Taiwan. As a Chinese student, the sensitive relationship between China and Taiwan makes me anxious about what I’ll encounter. However, at the moment when I stepped out of the airport, my anxiety disappeared immediately with the feeling of familiarity came out.
As I traveled to the middle and southern part of Taiwan, the feeling of familiarity becomes stronger. I didn’t expect to see so many mountains in Taiwan as in my hometown. I also didn’t expect to find a lot of plum blossom and sweet-scented osmanthus as in Nanjing, where I went to college. The streets are crowded and people drive more wildly than U.S. What even makes me feel like there is destiny that ties me and Taiwan together is that I found a special exhibition of bronzes in the National Palace Museum in which all the exhibits are from my hometown! All these familiarities make me feel like I’m back in the cultural context where I come from. Although there are a lot of things I don’t know (I’m not familiar with the environment as a visitor), I feel competent and safe to explore as I’m aware of my privilege of speaking the language and having the cultural frame work. I don’t view myself as a complete “outsider” in this culture comparing to in the U.S. Such feeling of competent makes me want to work in this cultural context such as doing a summer internship in Taiwan. I want to know what it feels to do counseling in a Chinese cultural context with my training in the U.S..
With the feeling of familiarity, there are new things constantly coming to me too. I found that there are volunteers on the street who are super polite. Actually almost everyone is very polite and patient which surprises me a lot. I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of temples. The temples can be very different regarding to size or the gods inside. I stayed in a Buddhist temple for one night. This experience was amazing as it was so peaceful and making me sense the inner calmness. When I was listening to the monks doing their night practice, I thought about the power of spirit and belief as well as how such power can help people go through difficulties. It was the first time that I sense the power of meditation and thinking about living in a temple for a while for my own mindfulness practice. Mindfulness practice is a significant part of my current clinical work and I feel that my own inner peace is definitely powerful for me as a clinician to help my clients.
In addition, I’ve communicated with a Taiwanese professor about the development of counseling psychology in Taiwan. I really enjoy communicating such topic as the counseling psychology profession in China models what has been done in Taiwan. My career plan is to go back to China after graduation. Learning more about the development of counseling psychology in Taiwan is very helpful for me. I really look forward to the lectures and more interactions with the students and faculty members in NTNU.