Living in Taiwan

Old Oct 3rd 2013, 9:52 pm
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Default Living in Taiwan

Hi All,
Just joined the site but couldn't wait to post this thread!

I'm hoping to work abroad in a few years, Taiwan more specifically then after a few years try somewhere else. Nothing set in stone yet i could be going anywhere really.

What im asking for is a bit of a summary from some expats living in Taiwan (or anywhere in that region of the world)

I have stable(ish) job so i wont be going soon, Im also quite young so it would be wise to save up and wait. I just hope that wait doesn't take a lifetime like it has for some people.

Cheers, Joe
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Old Oct 4th 2013, 8:50 am
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Hello again Joe. What kind of visa are you planning to get? Do you speak Chinese? I imagine that would be kind of handy in Taiwan.
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Old Oct 4th 2013, 11:25 am
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

I know Taiwan allow working holiday visa so I would be interested in pursuing that. About speaking Chinese, I took a small course in school so can get by (sort of) and from the one person I've spoken too who lives in Taiwan said he had no knowledge but picked it up to a good standard.
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Old Oct 4th 2013, 2:57 pm
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Sounds like you've researched well. Hope it works out

I'm not sure if we have many Taiwan posters on the forum. If you don't get any response, try doing a search (search box on top right) for other Taiwan threads and try tagging on to an older thread. That might wake up somebody there.
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Old Oct 24th 2013, 7:34 am
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

I realy like it .I appericate this thread.
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Old Oct 24th 2013, 2:08 pm
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Hi Stefan and welcome to the forum . Are you living in Taiwan?
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Old Oct 24th 2013, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

I'm glad someone other than me will be able to get a lot of information. Still not had much luck finding a lot of information on this forum so to help others I'll continuously update this like a mini blog
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Old Oct 25th 2013, 8:08 am
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

I've lived in Taiwan for more than two years and love it here. What would you like to know? Speaking Chinese isn't essential if you live in Taipei, though speaking some helps a bit. I think Taiwan is a well-kept secret. Few places are so safe, friendly and relaxed, with a good standard of living, good health care and lots to do.
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Old Oct 25th 2013, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

Thanks Petrichor, just general day to day life. I've had different sources each give a different amount on how much an average year will cost etc so if you could shed some light on that would be appreciated. Also would it be wise to stay in taipei for a while at first and then move to another city such as Chung-li or Kaohsiung as 2 random examples?
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Old Oct 25th 2013, 11:20 pm
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

Originally Posted by AaB13 View Post
Thanks Petrichor, just general day to day life. I've had different sources each give a different amount on how much an average year will cost etc so if you could shed some light on that would be appreciated. Also would it be wise to stay in taipei for a while at first and then move to another city such as Chung-li or Kaohsiung as 2 random examples?
Hi Joe

It's a little difficult for me to tell you because we're a family and presumably you'll be here by yourself, but one figure frequently mentioned is an English teacher's wage, which people say is about NT$60,000 a month (or that's what you should aim for). The conversion rate to GBP is usually around £1 = NT$45. Single expats seem to live comfortably on that in Taipei. Students scrape by on less. Rents are much cheaper elsewhere in Taiwan.

As to living elsewhere in Taiwan, I've only ever lived in Taipei, but I've visited lots of places. I prefer Taipei because it has easy access to the mountains for lots of great hiking but all the modern conveniences of a city. Life is more difficult without speaking any Chinese outside of Taipei (I do speak some Chinese and have to use it if we go to smaller cities such as Hualian), but spoken Chinese isn't that hard to learn if you put some effort in. You could probably get away with using English in Kaohsiung and it has a more relaxed vibe but suffers from air pollution.

It really depends on what you're after - immersion in Chinese culture/relaxed lifestyle/scenery/beach life(no beaches in Taipei) etc.
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

Yeah it would be just me and from some comparisons ive found Kaohsiung is 50% cheaper in pretty much everything which is quite pleasing and I am interested in Kaohsiung, the air pollution wouldnt be enough to put me off really.

I do have another question: How are foreigners treated usually? Its not something which would put me off but would be nice to know. I also want to here about some of the bad things, the downsides of living in Taiwan. I know you posted that few places are so safe, friendly and relaxed, with a good standard of living, good health care and lots to do but i dont want to be a be someone who tries to ignore all the negatives and ends up leaving within a few weeks.

Thanks for the answers and help!
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Old Oct 26th 2013, 10:49 pm
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Generally, white foreigners are treated very well. The amount of attention they attract is proportional to the number of foreigners present in an area. The more 'hick' a place is the more stares you get. In the richer areas of Taipei you're mostly ignored, though you do get the very occasional comedian who shouts 'hello!' You'll get more stares in Kaohsiung than Taipei. The attention bothers some people but not others. We all got used to our D-list celebrity status pretty quickly and now barely register it. Other foreigners get more hot and bothered.

Dangerous traffic is the biggest negative for me personally. We don't drive in Taipei because the public transportation is cheap and good quality, but also because traffic is, from a Western perspective, chaotic. You quickly learn to double check before crossing at the green man, look both ways on one-way streets, and hug the wall on roads with no pavements - another traffic disadvantage. You also have to learn to walk calmly and purposefully as you share a crossing with scooters, cars and buses.

A related disadvantage is noise. Traffic and construction noise, and your upstairs neighbours' ablutions when they go to bed at midnight (Taiwanese people tend to go to bed late and make up for it with an after-lunch nap at work, even office workers), can bother foreigners much more than Taiwanese.

If you must have your favourite Western foods you'll pay more for them here, and other Western-style foods such as milk and proper cheese.

Getting a credit card is supposed to be very difficult for foreigners, though I've never tried. The banks are worried you'll leave the country still owing debt, which has precedents from what I've heard.

The only other thing I can think of, and it's a rare thing but has affected us, is stray dogs. Neutering your pet isn't standard here, while abandoning your pet is quite common, which leads to stray and feral animals.
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Old Feb 20th 2014, 4:46 pm
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

I've been living in Taiwan for nearly 6 months. I've lived in S. Korea and Shanghai before here and preferred those places.

I have a bad job, as I accepted it in haste. I take home less than 40,000NT after tax and live in a dorm style apartment with an angry Taiwanese man on the same floor as a neighbour. He's made my life bleak at times.

I've also been paid late the last 2 months and I've some poorly behaved students. Their behavioral problems drove the last teacher out 9 months in to a year contract. I found the kids too Westernised, swearing in Chinese in class, complaining etc.

These students and parents have complained to my boss, so I'm being watched like a hawk at the moment. So when you look at my work and living situation it's time to leave.

I despise the staring. They mostly focus on our Long Nose as they tend to be self conscious of their flat, rounded, short noses. But sometimes you'll get treated really well, freebies in restaurants etc.

I've met a handful of lovely locals. Not as genuine as the ones I met in China, but there are also a lot more crooks in Shanghai.

It's hard to compare Taiwan and Shanghai to South Korea as it's so much more developed there. There are a lot more foreigners teaching, but S.Korea is more xenophobic than the other two so be prepared for extreme ignorance and some racism.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by 1986mlob; Feb 20th 2014 at 4:48 pm.
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Old Mar 29th 2014, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Living in Taiwan

Hi Guys,

Do you think it would be safe for a Muslim woman who wears a Hijab to work in these regions? What level of experience do they require for English teachers? I am also looking at KSA & UAE...any thoughts...

many thanks Seasons
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Old Mar 29th 2014, 10:46 pm
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What do you mean by safe? Taiwan is very safe in terms of street crime. I feel much safer here walking the streets than I would in many places in the UK. I've seen women in hijabs, but very infrequently. I think probably because Taiwan isn't a high profile tourist destination in Muslim countries.

I'm not sure about job prospects. If you want to teach English you must come from a country that has English as its native language. Aside from that, many language schools are looking for a typically white foreigner, and black or Asian teachers sometimes report they felt they were turned away due to their racial origins. The 'white' look is what some ignorant parents want as a sign of authenticity or status in a school. Ironically, this sometimes leads to white Eastern Europeans being hired who have terrible English.

If you mean safe in terms of overt prejudice in the wider society, I doubt you would meet that with any frequency here. People would probably either be curious or indifferent, but polite.
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