We have come from all over the world: France, Japan, the U.S., Saint Vincent. Many are scholarship recipients from Spanish-speaking countries, Panama, Nicaragua, because they are among the 22 nations that are Taiwan's official diplomatic allies.
They have received scholarships to study at a Taiwanese university for five years - the Mandarin Language Center is just their first stop.
We have been preparing for our final exam, whispering to each other in the library, going out for lunches, grilled cheese sandwiches at the Toasteria location in Shida, before hitting the listening lab. Fa Bin, a percussionist from Colombia speaks to Gong Zi, a lingerie designer from Japan, in Japanese. Gong Zi speaks to me using the meager Chinese that we have learned.
The other day, we walked to school after a hearty lunch, singing "Liang Zhe Lao Hu" to the tune of Frere Jacques. A Frenchman, two people from Saint Vincent and a Canadian meandering in a sunny alleyway, singing about two deformed tigers. One has no eyes and one has no ears.
(The only other children's song that I know in Chinese is about an elephant who went to war, armed with a rifle and then ate hot sauce.)