Same same but different. With this statement I could end this comparison of my home town in Austria, Linz and my temporary home in Taiwan, Tainan – when I take a really general look at the differences. But looking closer, there are worlds – or at least 9000 kilometers – between my both home cities.
The most obvious difference between these two cities is the climate. Located in the “north” of Austria, Linz’ climate is like the French fries at McDonald’s: sometimes it is cold, sometimes it is super-hot, but most of the time you can’t really tell. To complete this reference, the people are always salty when it comes to the weather. Too hot, too cold, even too perfect – ahhh I miss this a bit.
Staying at the topic of people unhappy with their climate, Tainan is not so different. In fact, Taiwanese often carry an umbrella with them because either it is raining or it is too sunny. No one likes wet clothes or tan lines – the dryer and paler the better. Despite the unfriendly co-existence of people and sun-rays, the weather is friendlier than in Austria. In the depth of Winter 20°Celsius is common, and after the burning hell of Summer and Typhoon season in Autumn, chilling outside is a pleasure for the body and soul.
Some people might think that I am blind, but there is a slight difference between Austrians and Taiwanese. First, Taiwanese are polite, reserved and bountiful, while Austrian are honest, loud and folksy. In both countries you are able to become friends with everyone, thus the differences are minor.
Every city has something special to offer the world, even if it is a museum about sausages in Tainan or a museum about dental care in Linz. Beside those “Top” attractions here are some honourable mentions of things to see in each location respectively.
Linz scores with its beautiful old town with the main square, the castle at the Danube, the Pöstlingberg with its church and the lively esplanade.
In Tainan you can marvel about the various night markets, Fort Proventia and Fort Zealandia, the beach and Chimei Museum.
There are some parallels between Tainan and Linz when it comes to religion. Tainan is the city of 1000 temples, and it is true – I counted almost 10 of them near my university. In fact, everyone is able to build his own temple or little shrine to pray to various gods, ancestors or lottery-companies. Most of them pray to local saints or gods in private, that’s why you can hear celebration fireworks every second day. Besides Buddhism, Confucianism is very popular, it is not really a religion. However, the Confucius Temple is a must-see attraction.
Linz, on the other side of the world, is the city of 100 churches. The most spectacular of them is the Marry Dome, Austria’s tallest church – a controversial topic between Linz and Vienna. Besides this neo-gothic landmark, there are a lot of beautiful churches to visit. Unfortunately, they are not as colourful as Taiwanese temples, but still a breath-taking experience.
My home university – Johannes Kepler University (JKU) – is a really cool place to study. Although there are 17000 students the university offers enough infrastructure and live on one of the biggest campus in Austria. The best part is the mix of stress and tranquillity with demanding lectures and a calm pond to relax in the breaks. With its constant improvements it might become a leading university not only in Austria, but international.
The Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology (STUST) is a lively place too. With more than 20000 students it is slightly bigger than the JKU, but here you can feel that the university is living. 24/7 there are people training, practicing or just walking on the campus and almost every day some event is happening. Unfortunately, most of them are labelled in Chinese characters or held in Mandarin, so it is hard to know what is going on, or how to participate. Nonetheless, everyone is helping you as much as they can so you can have a pleasant time – it does not matter whether in classes or in the free time.
Completely different is the drinking culture. While in Linz you get alcohol at every restaurant and bars are like trees in the forest – especially in the old town – in Tainan the offer does not really meet our international demand. There are certain bars where we drink such as Legends, Drifters or Muse, but most of the time we drink at the local convenient store near the dorm. So a big drinking plus for Linz.
There a tons of differences between Linz and Tainan, but sure some similarities. To name them all would take too long and sure I left out a lot of stuff in the list. All in all, you can say both cities are special on their own, whether it is the architecture, infrastructure, night life or the residents. I like to be here in Tainan, but I am and will always be a “Stolzer Linzer”!