I can’t believe I’m on my last week already. The last two week have been really hectic and busy since I’m wrapping up my project and my advisers are preparing to go to a conference in Italy. This practicum experience in Taiwan has definitely given me a new perspective or work culture here.
Although I previously worked at a university in Taiwan for the summer, this was a completely different experience. My previous experience was working with mostly foreigners, while this time; I was one of the few foreigners in my department. Although I can speak Chinese, there were definitely still difficulties communicating with my adviser. My Chinese skills is mostly conversational level, so any technical or public health related conversations were a little hard for me to understand. Likewise, if I spoke in English to express my questions and concerns my adviser had difficulty understand everything. After explaining things multiple times, we were able to get on the same page, but this took twice as long as it normally would have. Aside from some miscommunication mishaps, I think this experience was really worthwhile for me. My project was pretty much spot on with what I was interested in, which is air quality. I think my project of cluster analysis on PM 10 and PM2.5 to help determine the source of these pollutants will be able to help my adviser at NTU in their future papers. From working on my project I noticed that other less developed countries still have some corruption within the government. For example, Formosa Company blocked many organizations from studying the workers’ health that work in the petrochemical complex. So up till now, many workers are not aware of the kinds of pollutants they are being exposed to. In addition, from my perspective it seems like Formosa Company is able to “censor” some of the information that is released to the public, as in not releasing the whole truth. Although Taiwan may seem like a more developed country, there is corruption that still exists, which in turn can hard the public’s health.
After this practicum experience, I really hope I will be able to work internationally after my completing the final year of my Master’s program. I’m really thankful for this opportunity to have worked with NTU and for the Global Health Fellowship, which provided me the means to participate in this internship.