[Editor’s note: NSLI-Y scholar Deja shares how her love of hip-hop helped her make new friends and understand youth culture in Taiwan. We are especially proud of her for her pro-active approach to making new relationships. The following story is in Chinese and showcases her excellent written language progress. An English translation follows below.]
By Deja, NSLI-Y Taiwan, Academic Year Kaohsiung 2015-2016
(English translation below)
第一次的社團練習上，我看到三個台灣男生， 他們跳舞跳得非常棒. 我主動介紹我自己，然後表達我想要和他們一起練習的想法。
I’m from Detroit, Michigan, United States of America. I really like to dance, and hip-hop is my favorite. I have observed that in Taiwan hip-hop music is very popular. Even high school students know about it. In Kaohsiung, there is a place called the Cultural Center. I often see a lot of young people practicing dance there. I think the cultural center is a very unique place. There are not only cultural events and performances to watch, but there are also young people who gather, making it a good place. I thought that young people in Taiwan would only like hip-hop just because it’s a popular thing right now. I also thought that they maybe don’t quite understand the meaning of hip-hop. Later after dancing with some younger Taiwanese friends of mine, I found out that they are really interested in hip-hop and have a moderate understanding of it.
When I first came to Taiwan I missed the American way of dancing, music and singing. I also didn’t know any Taiwanese people at the time, so I felt very lonely. When my teacher told me there was a Wenzao club fair I was very happy, because I thought that community activities would allow me to meet new friends. During the sign-up time at the club fair, I saw a lot of singing clubs and Taiwanese dance clubs.
I immediately signed up for just about every club, because I really wanted to make friends. I finally saw that they had a breaking club, so I was very happy. In the United States I would break dance a lot, and breaking is very popular. I was curious how people in Taiwan could have learned about breaking. I felt if I could become friends with bboys and bgirls then I would feel more at ease.
At the first club practice I saw three Taiwanese boys. They were great dancers. I took the initiative to introduce myself, and then I wanted to let them know i wanted to practice with them. I told them I break dance in the United States. The boys were very polite and invited me to practice with them. One of the guys became my first friend in Taiwan. He was very interested in hip-hop. He told me he had been exposed to hip-hop since the beginning of middle school, and now hip-hop is like his life.
Taiwanese people are very polite. From when I first came to Taiwan until now, my relationship with these friends has gotten better and better. We all share similar interests in breaking and hip-hop. I’m glad I’ve gotten to know this club and have had a chance to see and know Taiwan’s B-boys and to understand how hip-hop has influenced Taiwan. Thanks, Kaohsiung!
Here is a video of our performance:
This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)