Monday, April 22, 2013,

'ABC' is a term used for a Taiwanese person who lived abroad in an English speaking country, generally for one year or longer. They have a special term for this because it is actually quite popular to do. Because English is the international language of business and therefore is very important to learn to be successful internationally, many families will either send or go abroad with their children if they have the money to do so. It's common knowledge that people are most capable and probable of learning a new language before the age of 12, so these families will typically take up the opportunity to go abroad while their children are around elementary school or middle school age. I have met many ABCs, and when you just come to Taiwan and can't speak Chinese they are extremely helpful. They are fluent in both English and Chinese, so if you have a problem, they are the people who can help. However, it isn't like they have an international ABC foundation or something, ABCs go abroad for different reasons, so it isn't like they are student council out waiting to help foreigners. Although many of them are proud of being bilingual, one of my good friends is an ABC and doesn't pride himself on the fact at all. He hates it when his classmates ask him for help with English, but after awhile of him answering "I don't know" to every question, they stopped asking. So don't expect any of them to help you, but appreciate it if they do! More importantly, be careful when you think people don't understand what you're saying in English, there are quite a few ABCs who would know exactly what you say if you said something rude about them or anyone else. Be polite!

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