6 Things You Should Know Before Moving To Taiwan

14

Moving to Taiwan?

Taiwan is becoming a hugely popular place for expats to call home. After spending two years on the small island myself, I completely understand why. When it comes to scenery, Taiwan has it all—majestic mountains, dramatic gorges, sparkling beaches, and expansive rice fields. If you’re looking for the cosmopolitan life, the capital city of Taipei boasts world-class shopping, museums, and restaurants.

Prefer a more exotic experience? Taiwan’s chaotic night markets and mystical temples will remind you just how far away from home you really are.

But while these descriptions make Taiwan sound great, they don’t do much to tell you what living there is really like—especially as a female expat. Before packing up all your belongings and heading across the Pacific, here are six important things to consider.

The Pros:

1. Taiwan Is Incredibly Safe

Taiwan is the safest place I’ve ever lived. I witnessed virtually no crime the two years I was there—and that’s coming from a girl who left her scooter keys in the ignition overnight on a regular basis. Of course, I’m not advocating you throw caution out the window; however, I can say I felt much safer living in Taiwan than even in my home country. Additionally, I had no trouble walking around at night or approaching locals for help, two important considerations for solo female travelers.

2. The People Are Fantastic…Seriously

Taiwanese are some of the most genuinely hospitable and friendly people around. During the countless times I found myself lost, there was always a local around that would come to my aid, insisting they not only give me directions but actually escort me to my final destination. That’s just one example of the generosity I experienced day in and day out. Of all Taiwan’s wonders, it’s the people that defined my time in Taiwan and left the most lasting impact.

3. A Large Expat Network

When living abroad, there are always times when you just don’t want to battle with the communication and cultural barriers. That’s when an expat community is absolutely crucial. As mentioned earlier, there’s a very large expat community in Taiwan, and it is continuing to grow. Not only will you find the support you need, but you are also likely meet awesome people from different backgrounds with similar interests to your own.

The Cons:

1. Moving to Taiwan = The Boy Problems (Or Lack Thereof)

If you’re hoping for a sexy fling abroad, Taiwan may not be the best place for you. It’s no secret that Asian women find Western men very attractive, and many foreign men move to Asia for the sole purpose of finding a girlfriend. Someone who might not have had many dating opportunities back home will often find themselves overwhelmed with options in Taiwan. For women, it can get a bit frustrating when every single male you know suddenly has a local girlfriend and you’re still ordering dinner for one.

2. It’s All About The Cute Factor

In Taiwan, it’s all about how cute you are. This includes but is not limited to pigtails, the color pink, Hello Kitty, and the name Candy. For some women it can be a bit difficult to live in a place where the cuter you are the more desirable you are. Plus, navigating those itty-bitty clothes decked out in sequins and cartoon characters does not always make for a rewarding shopping experience.

3. We’re All English Teachers

If the idea of teaching English abroad sounds attractive, then Taiwan is a great place to live comfortably for more than reasonable pay. However, if teaching isn’t your thing, you’ll find it difficult to secure other modes of employment. That’s not to say it is impossible, and there are other avenues to consider such as volunteering or studying abroad. But should you find yourself a non-teaching expat in Taiwan, it is most certain that the majority of other expats in your social network will in fact be teachers. And what do teachers talk about? A lot of the time, it’s teaching.

These are just six things to consider before making the big jump to Taiwan. If it sparked your interest, be sure to download a free copy of my eBook, 101 Tips to Living in Taiwan.  It has everything you need to know about moving to Taiwan, getting settled, and exploring your new home. Did I mention it’s free?

Have you lived in Asia before? Considering moving to Taiwan? What were the pros and cons to your new life abroad?

 

Share.

About Author

Casey Siemasko is a freelance writer, blogger, and avid traveler. She finds her life inspiration by exploring new places and meeting new people, and seeks to find magic in the most ordinary of places. When she's off the computer, she enjoys practicing yoga, training for marathons and scuba diving. Somewhere in there she also found time to write an eBook, 101 Tips to Living in Taiwan. She and her husband comprise the two lovebirds and digital nomads documenting their travel musings at http://acruisingcouple.com.

14 Comments

  1. I disagree with the lack of boys comment. Truth be told there are lots of men here. The issue is that majority of foreign women here are overweight and generally unnatractive. So its a matter of selection or lack thereof of white women

    • Sorry Mark, I didn’t mean to say that there aren’t male expats in Taiwan, simply that in the majority of cases they choose to date Taiwanese women and not western women. However, I knew many, many beautiful white women during my time in Taiwan, and I’m not sure I can agree with the fact that most of them are unattractive :/

  2. HI Casey, by ‘Lack of boys’ I assume you’re automatically excluding local guys? I’m just curious as to why you and other expats you know only consider other white expats and not Local men… I completely agree with you on the point about why most male expats move there…But what motivates female expats to move to an Asian country? What are women’s thoughts on the dating ‘dilemma’. Please be honest.

    • Hi Patrick, Sorry that my ‘lack of boy problems’ has annoyed some of the men reading this post. You’re right- I was excluding most Taiwanese men, which was wrong of me. It’s simply because in my two years of living in Taiwan, few foreign women started dating local men. Yes, it does definitely happen, and I think it’s great if it does. But proportionately, you see many, many, many foreign men dating or married to local women, and I rarely saw any foreign women dating local men. So is it right to remove Taiwanese from the equation? No. But for whatever reason, Taiwanese men are very rarely a boy problem because there are only platonic relationships there. I hope that explains my comment- I think it speaks to a larger question about relationships, gender roles, fashion, stereotypes, etc.

  3. Love your post! It’s great to read form someone who’s already been through this and knows the essentials about the country. I’m moving to Taiwan in few months and the information you’ve shared is quite helpful. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I’ve just posted my resume on a teaching website and got a general invite to apply to teach in Taiwan. I was concerned how safe it would be for a woman travelling solo. The information you posted was helpful. I now know I will consider Taiwan as an option. Thank you!

  5. Hi! I am going to Taiwan to study, and I still learning mandarin and I am a little anxious about that. Wanted to know if with English I can get around in the first months and if there are things that we do in the west that there’re nono there?

    • Don’t worry. Since you already know a little Mandarin, you’ll be good. In the expat areas, English is enough for everything and many Taiwanese people can speak some kind of English

  6. Nice post Casey, but I want to point out something about employment.

    I live in Taiwan for over 10 years. There are tons of jobs outside English teaching, but many foreigners are not actively look for them, because teaching English is simply too easy as of a choice – around 20 hours per week, no experience, higher than average salary.

    A foreigner can really break the bank by focusing in many fields outside teaching, such as business or medical. It is not easy and the rewards do not come right away. One would have to expect 50+ hours per week work for much lower salary of what an English teacher is making.. at the beginning. Once experience is acquired, the working hours will normalize at around 40 hours per week while salary could be as high as 5-20X of English teacher salary given 5-10 years work experience and mandatory knowledge of Mandarin.

    So a better question would be: How long do you plan to live in Taiwan and do you want to enjoy your life now, or work it hard to live your dream later?

    As for 2 other cons: totally agree. Way way too cute and it is pretty annoying sometimes. As for the Taiwanese girls liking foreigner – partially agree, some do, many don’t. It is not as obvious as in Japan or China, where all you have to do is turn on your phone and ask random girls to come over.

    • Hi Casey, it would be great to read your post. It is useful for me

      Hi Mac, your post is very interested since it gives me other view in Taiwan. I am looking for a new life in Taiwan from my Vietnam hometown. I am trying to find out other biz industry since I am not interested in to be an English teacher. Could you pls let me know some recruitment websites in Taiwan? So great to hear from you

Leave A Reply