For Canadian Teachers in Taiwan (and less-fortunate others)

Here’s a link to a website created by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs specifically geared towards Canadian English teachers in Taiwan. Not a bad website, all in all. I like their advice on how to adjust:

[color=red]Consider the following as a means to ease the adjustment process:

Admit frankly that these stresses exist. It’s not a sign of weakness to admit that you feel uncomfortable, tense or confused.

Recognize that adjusting is hard work. View change as a challenge instead of a threat. Don’t expect everything to fall into place immediately.

Establish a routine as soon as possible. A routine for eating, sleeping and personal time provides an anchor, a stable base, at a time when everything else is in flux.

Make your home a place that is comfortable and plan special times for yourself in Taiwan. It’s not enough just to look forward to vacations.

Learn the rules of living in Taiwan. Try to understand how and why the Taiwanese do things the way they do. Taiwanese behaviour and customs are different from your own but they are neither better nor worse than what you are used to. Don’t try to change everybody else; it’s easier to adjust yourself.

Learn some Mandarin. Learning even a little Mandarin makes your life in Taiwan a lot easier, and is always appreciated by Taiwanese. The best time to start is at the beginning of your stay, as many foreigners lose momentum and end up living in Taiwan for years without speaking a word of Mandarin. In Taipei, there are several universities and private institutions offering Mandarin classes.

Get involved and meet people. Becoming involved in activities you are interested in is a good way to meet people with similar interests. Reach out and befriend both Taiwanese and foreigners. Start exploring the part of town where you live, the environs of the city and the scenic attractions of Taiwan. A good way to meet Taiwanese and practice some Mandarin is to check out notice boards where there are messages from Taiwanese university students looking for language exchange. The usual practice is to spend an hour speaking English and then an hour speaking Mandarin.

Keep in touch with friends from home. [/color]