Meeting Alice Tan, Vice President of Fondacio

Alice Tan just spent a few months in France to learn french, I met her just before her trip back to Asia.

Hello Alice. You are about to return to Asia after four months in France. Do you think this trip changed your point of view on Europe ?

Hello Sabine. Thank you for meeting me ! First of all, it helped me understand a lot better how people live and how they relate with one another. But I also understand  a lot more about their preoccupations, what are the things that affects them. I noticed that people in France are very focused on what they need to do, they generally have a clear idea of what they want for their lives, for their families.

I think what made me the happiest is that I could befriend persons, families, not in a superficial way but in a very profound way.

It opened my view that it is a very different contest, how people relate is very different from Asia. It helped me a lot to understand why people react in a certain way, it is very important for me as we live in a really different world and sometimes coming from different backgrounds we don’t understand why people talk a certain way or why they don’t say this or why they say it this way. Therefore, now that I’ve been here, I see the reality.

I thought to myself “Yeah, it is the mindset of culture of this particular country, of this way of life and it helped me to even receive more now even when I met new people.” I am very relational, I want to relate, but it doesn’t mean that people relate the same way as I do. I used to wonder why, but now I don’t think it matters. I relate the way I am and the person will also relate in their own way. And that’s what’s great about relations. Coming to France really helped me to cross these kinds of boundaries. 

What will you miss the most about France?

I think I will miss a lot the diversity of nature, I love the nature here. I now can see how flowers can grow even in autumn and winter. I took a lot of pictures!

What was the most interesting thing you learned during your trip? 

The most interesting thing?... I think it is how to relate with people in a new way. I met such good friends. Especially the family I was staying with during my time in Angers: The Crevier, I will miss them a lot! I lived with them for four months. They were extremely kind, accommodating, I felt very at home when I was with them. Even the three children, who are quite young had wisdom behind their ages. They were very sensitive to me as a person. 
I will also miss the “Pains au Chocolat”.  I liked all the different fruits that you can buy in France, and the salads. They are very different from the ones that you can find in Asia. I also enjoyed eating cheese, tasting all kind of cheese was very pleasurable. 

What is your favorite phrase that you learned in French?

Aaaah ! I have two ! “Quelle chance !” and “C’est dommage ! ». I really like to use « Quelle chance!”. 

Are bringing back any souvenirs? 

Yes! Lavender soap, it smells very nice! And basic French ability!

What were you nervous about before coming to France?
Nothing at all ! 

Were you able to visit other European countries during your stay?
I went on holidays with my family in Portugal. And I also spent two days in London. I went to Benin, which is not in Europe, for the council meeting. It was a really good experience even though it wasn’t my first time in Africa! I had been to Togo in 2016 for the launching of the New Com !

Did you learn anything about yourself while being in France?
I learned that I am too serious and can be more relaxed.

What was your favorite part about the country?

Encountering people and lasting more lasting relationships with people! Friends become your family. 

What did you miss the most about Asia?

 I had such an exciting time here that I didn’t have the time to miss Asia, maybe my family but they came to Portugal with me so it wasn’t that hard. It wasn’t planned at all! My mother came to visit my brother in Dubai and my brother decided to visit Portugal during Christmas and they asked me if I wanted to come and I said yes! I missed the food a little, but I was able to cook!

What was difficult when you first arrived?

Maybe learning how to dress when it’s cold. It is very complicated to know what is warm enough, you have to be comfortable in your clothes and not be too hot or too cold. I had to ask Anne to lend me a warmer coat and scarf because I was too cold. And sometimes it was very cold in the morning but then it got warmer during the day. Sometimes, in restaurants and buildings the heating is too high ! Quelle Horreur !

Thank You Alice !

Have a safe trip back !

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