"Foreigner" returning to Taipei

Hey all, sorry to admins in advance is this doesn’t fall in this category feel free to move or delete.

In a nutshell I’m a Taiwanese born Australian? lol. My family immigrated to Sydney (Aus) when I was around 5, since then I’ve only been back to Taiwan twice, the last trip being probably about a decade ago.

I’m looking into living in Taiwan (revisit old roots so to speak) but having a super hard time finding resources for social groups in Taipei for English-speakers. Aside from forumosa and a few others I just can’t find any more similar sites and some of them look inactive.

Understanding, both in reading the speaking, mandarin is fine but it feels unnatural to me which is why I’m trying to see if there’s perhaps a discord server, fb group or similar to get in contact with other native english speakers in Taipei as I feel like their experience would benefit me a lot more or even people who are like me who are now living in Taipei but raised overseas.

Or even fellow Aussies living in Taipei that would be the best.

Also… Hi, first post.

PS I’m not sure if anyone’s been in this situation before. It’s been suggested that I enter Taiwan using my Australian passport and live/work via working visa (ARC?) as opposed to renewing Taiwanese passport. If there’s anyone that’s familiar with the differences of working there as a foreigner vs citizen feel free to let share some opinions.

Personally I feel like I can’t really pass for being Taiwanese at all, more like a foreigner who so happens to have a perfect Taiwanese accent and understands Hokkien.

I was born in Taiwan and grew up here but immigrated to the US. I also moved back to Taiwan 4 years ago.

But moved again lol

You best do things on the up and up, or else :point_up_2:.

suck it up like @Andrew0409 did (and who wrote a great thread about his experience in this forum) and do your compulsory service. Afterwards, you won’t need a company to sponsor you for a work permit.

Plenty of English meetup groups in Taiwan, hash harriers, cycling groups, churches, etc. for you to meet English speakers.

Any particular reason for moving back?

I remember there was a time where I told myself I’d never consider living in Taiwan but here I am lol. Though I’m almost certain it’s because of what they did to Sydney. Not only is it super expensive now, pay rates haven’t caught up to inflation and they killed my previous night life with the curfew.

Also did you find it weird getting accustomed to Taiwan again or was it kinda more like moving back home? I’ve been in Taiwan (did like a roadtrip around Taiwan) and almost nothing is like I remembered except for Hualien.

My family is here. I always wanted to return at some point. Had a car accident and had to move back to have people help me recover. Was only planning to stay for a little while but things kept happening that made me want to stay.

Easy for me to move back. I speak Chinese and like Taiwanese food.

Wow that’s definitely nice to know. I’ve never received a notice for it but I don’t think my cousin was thinking about being dodgy but more about living here as a trial in case I didn’t like it here. Guess I’ll have to ask my Parents about that but I’m sure I would’ve been caught on this visit if that were the case. But thanks! I’ll make sure I look into it, no problem with compulsory service.

As for the meet up groups do you have a list of resources? FB? or just creating threads here?

Facebook has multiple groups for expats and English speakers.

What year are you born, your service time depends on it. I believe after 95 it’s o it 4 months. Before it’s 14.

That’s probably why your friends say come on foreign passport, they might notcome collect you for military srrvce

But I would guess once you start paying taxes, get health care etc they will come knocking anyway.

May I ask, why come to Taiwan and choose Taipei? Work/family related?

Cheers I’ll have a look I’m terrible with social media.

I was in 1985 so I guess it’s 14. My cousin seems to be convinced they’ll draft me to some office for translation jobs rather than regular service due to my poor Chinese comprehension.

Damn, you’re right on the cut off age at 35.

Yeah I guess that’s what I don’t understand or never really had to since it’s been quite a while since I came back to Taiwan. As it stands I don’t hold dual citizenship I’m an Australian citizen. In my case I CAN renew Taiwanese citizenship (it expired a looong time ago).

The reason is family. I say that vaguely because I honestly don’t remember much about them and it’ll be a shame to never come back. There’s some family politics as well (no idea what it’s about), something about being the oldest boy of ‘my’ generation.

Other reasons include my own personal lifestyle as Taipei suits me a lot than Sydney does now after some recent changes to Sydney night life.

My other option is to move back to Denmark where a few of my mum’s extended relatives still live but honestly I have never met or spoke to them which is why Taiwan is a far better choice.

I’ll search up the thread someone suggested. How’s your mandarin? That’s my only gripe atm. Casual conversations no one would notice but I noticed being asked questions about anything in-depth I often can’t express myself or know which words to use.

That’s my biggest concern if I were to do the mandatory service.

Mandarin is ok. Can’t get too philosophical or political. But basic day to day is fine.

I have some tips on how to make your life easier if you can’t speak that well and read and write. There were other people who spoke almost no Chinese and made it out. They mostly don’t want you to die these days so it’s not like they would do anything to you because you didn’t understand. Nor will you be entrusted to do anything that would require excellent Chinese skills.

You are misinformed. Citizenship doesn’t “expire”, only documents do.

From the way you talk about your Taiwanese nationality, it would seem as though you are a national without household registration, and If that is the case, you won’t be drafted anyway. As a NWOHR, you can still live and work in Taiwan (with a TARC), and just hold off on getting full household registration until you are too old to be drafted. Entering on your Australian passport will be something you’ll end up regretting in my opinion, anything related to paperwork is ten times harder when using a foreign passport, and you won’t have open work rights like you would if using your Taiwanese passport.

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So after 35yo no worries anymore?

I thought it was 37


“A man aged 18 starts his military service day from January 1st of the proceeding year and be discharged on December 31st of the year at the age of 36, called the Male’s Service Age.”

“A draftee-to-be in the status of an Overseas Chinese having previously established household registration in the Republic of China shall be subject to conscription enlistment according to law upon expiry of one-year period beginning the day next to his return to the Republic of China.”

If you need to know more,


I kind of remember in my case it was 36 aka 37 by Taiwanese ages. If you come at 35 you’d prob get drafted but double check that

I have a Taiwan-born American friend, whom I met here in Taiwan, who has a similar situation. He and his parents moved to the U.S. when he was 8, and he’s lived there for the past 35 years. His parents have since moved back to Taiwan to retire, and he comes here a couple of times a year to visit them.

He can speak Mandarin without much of a foreign accent, but his vocabulary is stuck at an 8-year-old’s, and he can’t read Chinese. It gets frustrating for him to have to continually explain to locals why he looks and sounds Taiwanese but can’t hold an in-depth conversation, and would rather speak in English (He uses mostly English with his parents, although they’ll often speak to him in Mandarin). I think sometimes local people assume he’s trying to show off, but it’s just that he’s more comfortable speaking the language he’s used for the past three decades.

As for being social in English, you might check out Meetup.com. They have a lot of weekly events in both English and Chinese. Good luck with your move.

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