I am a Taiwanese citizen who lived away from Taiwan all my life. I speak fluent Mandarin but cannot read or write. I am currently studying in Canada, so I can really relate to how you feel right now. I am also taking part in the two part/four month military program. I already served last summer for two months of the basic training and will be going back again this coming summer.
Overall the Taiwanese military was the most awful experience of my life so far. When I first joined, I expected it to be physically challenging and just really hot. But the most painful part wasn’t just the 40 degree weather and push-ups. It’s the mind game that they play that really messes up your human psyche. Unable to scratch yourself when you are stung by a mosquito, unable to sit comfortably with your back arched, unable to just relax for a single moment, these are the things that are the most terrible. They completely transform your mindset through extreme mental pressure. Cherish who you are right now, because the next time you come back to North America you will be a different person. People can tell you that it’s only a short service and things will be fine, but they truly don’t understand how hard it is to transition from a free liberal society into an oppressive government-instilled system that is meant to break you apart and reform you. My only advice is to find freedom in meditation while you are standing at attention and completely leave your physical reality. Think of an imaginary place in your mind and find liberation in your own self.
Basic Training Info:
You wake up at 5:00 in the morning and you have 15 minutes to get ready.
You meet downstairs and listen to a ton of bullshit and do basic military maneuvers.
Then you will probably sit and burn under the 40 degree weather for a bit.
Then a big gathering assembling that consists of all the companies will occur
You listen to a lot more bullshit and burn standing still
Different trainings depending on the day: gun lessons, shooting range, first aid stuff, everything is boring
You live in a large single room dorm with about 60 other guys, it’s terrible
Absolutely no free time whatsoever so don’t expect any.
You sleep at 9:30 exhausted by life.
You get to go home for one day a week barely 24 hrs.
P.S. Keep your hair if you want, they will shave it the day of either way/don’t bring your phone.