One of my biggest surprises here in Taiwan was a compulsory health check-up our school asked us to do week.
Health check-up, visiting a school nurse or going to a hospital – back home all these things are done behind closed doors and dealed with quite much privacy. That was not exactly how it was done here! I wish I would have taken some photos of it but I felt it wouldn’t be very respectful. Please use you imagination instead.
Me and my roommate arrived early to the University, but when we entered the building it was already full of new students. It was a big hall filled with people running here and there with papers and a lot of medical staff in white robes around. This is when I realized that the check-up was not going to happen in privacy but surrounded by all this people!
We had already filled in a paper with our personal information before getting here. And with personal I mean really personal – they wanted to know how regular our mens cycles are, if we have any sicknesses in our family line, our mental health statuses and just anything else they would possibly need to know. Before you could even start the examination a few people looked at your papers, so I was happy knowing I didn’t write anything sensitive in there.
And so the chaos started. We had to line up and wait for our turn in almost twenty different stations. Sometimes I barely figured out what they where actually about to do before they already finished it. “Please open your mouth.” ” Please relax your arm”. First station: pay a fee. Second station: Dental status. Third : Blood sample. Then there was a tuberculosis test, testing blood pressure and sight quality. They measured length, weight and hip – measurements. We got some kind of stick and was sent to a toilet nearby and told to pee at it, and then walk all the way back to show it. (I was not the only one finding this super awkward.)
Some of this tests makes sense, in this times of globalization it is good to know if you have any tuberculosis carrier moving in. But why do they want to know my hip size? Will they test us before we leave Taiwan to see if we gained any weight? Someone was not paying attention while taking my height so in the papers I’m almost 1.80 meters tall! Quite hilarious as I already feel like a giant here.
When I got over the initial shock the medical examination was totally fine. And Taiwanese healthcare is actually one of the best in the work, so our bodies are in good hands while we are here, even if the way of doing things may be little different from what we are used to.