Casroy shares his Taiwan Experience
Local Vibes
March 24, 2006

Casroy shares his Taiwan Experience

As a primary school student at Richland Park where he grew up, Casroy Caine admits that he was very unfocused. But today looking into his eyes and hearing him speak, there is nothing scatter-brained about this 20-year-old Civil Engineer student studying at Taiwan’s top University, “Tai Da.” {{more}}

Reminiscing on his childhood, Casroy remembers himself as a boy who hung out with the wrong company and repeated most of his classes. But he then began attending church regularly and started seeing life from a different perspective.

Casroy realised that he was still in primary school and looked like a fully-grown man in his khaki pants, while his friends were now wearing long pants at secondary school. This sparked an urge to do well at school; teachers saw the change and started working closely with him. This further inspired him, but Casroy had already passed the age of Common Entrance and instead wrote the School Leavings Exam.

Out of 700 students in the country who wrote the exam, 32 passed. Of the successful students, only two were from his school. He feared that he had failed again, but to his shock not only had he passed, but he had the best results in his zone.

His mother also saw he was determined to succeed and asked the late Sister Patricia Douglas to admit him to the St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua. Casroy stressed that this was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

At that secondary institution Casroy found his niche. It was there that he found the confidence to excel and he became even more disciplined. He became involved in many sporting and extra curricular activities and confessed that these made his grades slip at times. But a stern reminder from his teachers brought him back on track and eventually he gained seven subjects at CXC. This led to a scholarship to Taiwan.

It’s been year and a half year of speaking, writing and reading Mandarin Chinese in the Asian nation, and Casroy who goes by the name “Kang Kai Ru” in Taiwan revealed that the culture shock terrified him at first.

At first, listening to the Taiwanese speak was confusing, and after a year of being around the nationals he admits that he is still not very strong at writing the complex language.

But he is now able to speak the language fluently, and has bonded with the friendly people of Taiwan. Casroy however noted that there are not many people of African descent in Taiwan and he is often stopped and asked many questions about his looks.

He recounted, “Your tolerance level has to be high because every single day you go into the street you’re asked the same questions like, “Were you born that way?”. They even want to touch your skin and hair, but you have to understand that it is not often that they see a black person so you really have to be open minded.”

Another surprising aspect of life in Taiwan is the frequency of earthquakes and typhoons. Casroy however admitted that the Taiwanese are so ingenious that their structures are built to withstand these natural occurrences.

Now able to eat with chopsticks, Casroy said that the food is different and takes some getting used to. Casroy’s courses are conducted in Chinese, but his text books are English and he has the option of writing exam answers in either language. He has also realised the importance of becoming as disciplined about learning as the Taiwanese.

The 20-year-old young man said that the Taiwanese bring a new definition to learning and could always be seen studying at night schools. He said foreigners from all over the world who get the opportunity to study in Taiwan also become just as ambitious about learning.

Noting that a focused mind may be one of the reasons for their success, Casroy revealed that he is proud to be one of the first Vincentians to study on a Taiwanese scholarship. Feeling proud of his achievement, Casroy said that it was an honor to study among people who were so humble, yet so great.

Looking back on his life so far, the Civil Engineer student thanked the many teachers who never gave up on him even though he underwent a period of delinquency.

The soft spoken, unpretentious, 6ft tall, dark and handsome young man believes that he is on the right path to attaining higher education in a world where Mandarin Chinese may soon become a universal language.

He concluded, “Like anything you want in life, studying in Taiwan is tough but not impossible. Go for your dream!”