Just a few questions/thoughts for you all

Hey there, well basically I am still in the process of deciding if I want to leave for Taiwan this christmas with my brother and his girlfriend (soon to be fiancee, good for him!). They both just came back from 2 years of teaching in Taipei recently and they told me they are planning on moving back again this christmas and want me to come with them. Basically I am only 18, been out of school for a year working (graduated at 17 though), and was hoping on going to college this year but my course was full, so I have to kill a year :slight_smile:

Obviously I wouldn’t be able to teach legit since I have not completed University.

I just lost the only thing keeping me here in Ottawa, Canada… my girlfriend, so now more than ever am I debating if I want to make the journey over or not.

Basically I want to save up as much money as I can (while still enjoying myself some what) to get me through living/food and such while I am in school and on my own. I am just affraid I will not want to come back right away if I go over, and instead stay for an extra year since I will be setup and I will be able to save more money.

For thoes of you who have gone and came back to your own country, how has it been for you on your return? I am just affraid I will come back to nothing, but as this point I also have nothing here.

How did you also find the culture shock, was it easy to adjust and get settled, I am also sure most of you also got into small (or maybe large) fits of depression, or maybe still do on occasion. I am a very open person, I love learning new things, its like I am a knowledge spounge (completely different case school wise i’m affraid! haha)

My brother also told me of all the staring he recieved (I mean he’s a big guy, 6’2, 200pounds, let alone his size there!), is that the case with most of you? Are looks and appearences even more judged in Taiwan. I’m 6’0, 165pounds, a guy :wink: , dress sorta emo/punk (I am assuming I would have to bring my own clothes for that, I dont’ think they have any coheed or my chemical romance tshirts there, but I do like making my own tshirts on occasion and I am sure there is transfer paper and printers around :smiling_imp: ) I am a pretty good looking guy, I seem to get more younger girls for some reason (but sorry, I don’t touch prostitots, its quite horrifying). Obviously when I go over I will look to pursue another relationship, and I am sure me dating another foreigner or even a Taiwanese girl will be a different thing then what I am used to.

Coming in December I will most likely live in with my bro/his girlfriend for a while, but I do want to end up living on my own or even with a bunch of local univ students or something, I think that would be a great experience.
As for where to live, I keep hearing how it is cheaper to live outside of Taipei, but there is also less things to do, what do you people personally like more? I want to be able to have fun (I don’t do drugs anymore, almost ruined my life with that one until I changed schools to get away from my old friends, and I also don’t really drink but I still enjoy going to the bars/clubs sometimes just for the atmosphere.), I definately would enjoy roaming the streets discovering things, and I am sure most nights I would go out wandering and such, so would that be a hard thing to do if I had to take the rail/subway to get in to Taipei? Because I also just to relax and watch a movie and like it when things just slow down sometimes, and I am sure the city can burn you out if you are not carefull :laughing:

I would look forward to learning the language and as much as I can about the culture, so maybe even attending some chinese classes (or maybe mandarin, depends what I will be using more or what would be more of a challenge since I do like to challenge myself).

Hmmm, don’t really know what else to say, so I will just list some point form questions if anyone has still for some reason read this far, who knows maybe I will even dedicate 1 bag for room to stash things in for people in desperate need of supplies :bravo: (as I will most likely only take clothes, another reason I fear I will stay that extra year is because I want to buy a new camera, the nikon d70, and a laptop to go with it, and I am sure then also a printer which I would sell before I leave).

  1. How hard would it be to find an teaching job (I have about 500hours of volunteer experience with kids, I love working with them, the course I want to take is also - Child and Youth Worker -, so iI hope to be one of thoes people who loves to do their job).

  2. Is there any other job’s I would be able to work? (I am talking things a young guy would be able to do, so I know there wouldn’t be much, just seeing if there is any other options maybe. I am told modelling could be a choice since I am a tall/thin/cute guy, maybe on the side, my brothers girlfriend did a little before she left and said it was really good).

  3. To save money I am sure I would have to also find private lessons or something if I want to be making even more, would I have time for teaching normal hours + private lessons + attending a school to learn the language? I am used to working 40+hours a week with only a day or 2 off a week so that is not a problem, just wondering if I will be getting into more or less work (and I hear if I do attend a language school I can just do student visa runs every 6 months?).

  4. How easy is it for all of you to save? I am sure there is alot of splurge spending going on and alot of you are on budgets to make sure things don’t get out of controll :stuck_out_tongue: Also, how much approx are you able to save if you don’t mind be asking and what are thoes “must have” items you are always buying? (cellphone minutes, water, money for taking the subway, etc…)

  5. Would I be able to find my taste in music there? (billy talent, coheed and cambria, motion city soundtrack, alexis on fire, reliant k, smashing pumpkins, matchbook romance, etc…) Or would I just have better luck in burning future songs to a burned CD?

edited 6) Also, since I don’t have a degree, is it still important for me to take the ESL course or would it be a waste of money?

Anyways, thats about all I can think of right now, I really feel like shit (rn’t breakups fun? :frowning: ) Thanks for all who respond, and if you want to add anything I havn’t thought of, please do (lets see, i’m a vegetarian, need to gain some pounds since I’m skinny so maybe a gym, don’t watch much TV, internet is a must, lol).

  1. Easy enough, but you won’t be gettingt he pick of the jobs. And you’ll be working illegally of course.

  2. Very unlikely.

  3. 40 hours a week teaching is harder than 40 hours a week office. You’ll probably be able to do 5 hours kindy (3 hours AM, 2 hours afternoon) and 2 hours at your langauge school (for visa). Or perhaps 2 hours Chiense in the AM, and 6 hours or so PMs at a buxiban (which would probably give you Saturdays as well).

  4. Saving varies hugely. I rarely save any money. Some people are able to save loads every month. Live like you’re dirt poor, share an aprtment and don’t get a girlfriend, and you should be able to save.

  5. Maybe some, at some CD stores, but you want to save money right?

  6. No point. Without a degree you’ll be working illegally. An ESL course won’t change that, and won’t prepare you for the realities of teaching in Taiwan.


What Bu En Lai said. My advice would be to come but don’t expect to do more than cover your ticket, and thank the gods if you get more.

Or you could get caught teaching illegally, booted out of the country and banned from re-entry for about 5 years. The best bet it is stay home, go to school and graduate. I am sure there is more than one University in Canada…Taiwan will still be here when you finish. :wink:

I agree with Vork, Vannyel, and Bri.

At the risk of sounding like a totally boring old twat, which perhaps I am, I’d only add that you should…

Look deeply into your 18 year old soul, young blood, and ask yourself how much focus, resolve, and commitment you have. Ask yourself how committed you are to doing a year in Taiwan and returning to get your education taken care of. If you feel a deep sense of duty (and have strong familial and peer pressure) to complete your education, and therefore prepare yourself for the “real world”, than taking some time off between high school and uni can be invaluable.

I took a year and a half off between 2nd & 3rd year at uni (when I was 20), to work and travel (Middle East and Europe). What an incredible experience. And when I went back to school, as clich

If you’re really interested in Chinese, you could always go to university here. I’m in graduate school, but I know a few foreigners at my school who are doing their undergrad degrees in Chinese here. If that’s something that interests you, come here, enroll in one of the Mandarin training centers for about a year (you can work part-time and still make plenty of money to cover living expenses and tuition), and then apply to a good university here like National Taiwan University or National Cheng-chi University. Just a thought …

There’s nothing wrong with being adventurous and doing something different. You’ll already have a support system in the form of your brother and his girlfriend, so maybe try a 3-month semester in a Chinese program, teach a little (illegal) English on the side and see what you think. If it’s not what you’re looking for you can always go back, and you’ll still be richer from the experience.

There’s a lot to be said for the idea of traveling etc. FIRST, and then bringing everything you’ve learned out there in the real world back to your college study. (That would be easier to explain on a resume as well, if you end up with a lot of unaccountable time out here.) Just the experience of growing up a bit, and supporting yourself with your own money, will help you get the most out of university.

On the other hand, if you get a degree and learn some Chinese there, you’ll be that much better-prepared for here. It’s a tough call.

Of course, plans can change over a few years. (So can girlfriends, I’m afraid.) Whichever way you go, you have to expect that something might pull you somewhere completely unexpected. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be curbside drunken buxtering or a career in the gigoloing industry either.

Coming out East at such an early age could ruin you for life. The heat, the grog, the women, etc.
You could end up like Sandman, Wolf, Hexuan, Tigerman - or worse - me.

Seeing as your brother is here to help you out, why not take advantage of the opportunity? Come on over and see if you like it. Just don’t expect to be be flying home with bags of money.

Jesus these posts are long.

You can save money, sure. Live in a hostel and spend only what you have to to survive. Follow the regulations and no one will deport you. Find a job here, not from where you are now.
Screw the saving bullshit and travel around Asia – it’s cheap. I motorcyled around India and Nepal for 6 months – 14,000km+ – and it cost me US$2,000, and that was when the rupie was 18-1.
Don’t get bogged down here for a year if this is your wild oats sewing year.

sorry, just curious as to what one can make when they sew oats, be they wild or tame. something for the horse in your life? :wink:

It is just a little more complex then me simply going to Taiwan to raise money. Basically I’ve been in a rut here for a long while, my life is falling apart. Just the typical parents get divorced on your 16th birthday (which I don’t mind, because I don’t want them to be unhappy because of me), only have some of your good friends left, being out in the suburbs with nothing to do but work, not being able to simply just “move out” (well I could, but once school starts and I have to drop down to a parttime job, that won’t last very long being able to share an appartment hence why I wanted to save money so I can focus on my schooling and not have to be working hard to live the first couple years). Life at home is hell, I’m the only one who stands up for people around here, my dad is being controlled by his fiancee it seems (even my brother and his girlfriend can’t stand her the first day they came back, which is probly why they want to take me with them), my mom moved back to BC a few months ago, its just i really do have nothing here and I really am trying to find a way to survive the next couple months.

I mean my dad even offered recently to help me out with an appartment but to be honest I just don’t like taking money from people, I like to try and earn things for myself (yeah i’m stuborn, lol). I don’t plan on going to UNIVERSITY here, I didn’t have the marks my last year as I did not take any academic courses, so I will NEVER be able to teach legally (my understanding was a university degree right?). I only plan on going to college now, it’s a 3 year course with ALOT of in-field involvment (which is also why I need more money to support myself because I am not sure if I would also be able to do school, work, and do 1000+ hours of infield work).

To be honest, I am glad I have graduated last year and only been working, sure I reilize I am a screwup, but I am trying… I have grown so much over the past year (tho it has also been one of the worst years in my life), I don’t think I would have been ready to start school, I am still not sure (except I really do want to start).

If I did stay here, I don’t really have anything, I don’t have that good job to support myself (if I did stay at this house during school, I don’t think I would be able to do all the work it’s that depressing here), my focus would be forced onto other things rather then my schooling. Don’t get me wrong, I am an extremely bright kid, its just academically, not so bright. I can’t learn from a simple textbook, I have to do, have to see, have to try, so I will need to get rid of as many distractions as possible (I mean I still plan on going out and such a couple days a week don’t get me wrong, i am not going to become a hermit, LOL).

How is it among foreiners there, lots of friendships are made? My bro’s gfriend told me my bro was in horrible shape for a while beceause he left behind his bestfriend, apparently they were really close.

Anyways, off to work then drink away my emotions (I maybe get drunk every few months, lol, just say no!)

Great, another Canadian moving to Taiwan. Just what we need. :unamused:

If you drink here, you’ll never save money. A beer in a club starts at a minimum of about US$5 (I forget what that is in Canadian pesos nowadays, although I guess you people are doing better than you were against the real dollar). A simple meal (one pizza, one beer) at the only decent pizza place in town costs around US$12. One of my friends lives in the sort of cheap conditions that Wolf describes – hostel, subway card, and nightmarket food – and was complaining today that he hasn’t saved anything since he’s been here. Problem is, he goes out and parties one or two nights per week, which burns up every cent he makes.

People will tell you that teachers make NT$1000 per hour. You might get into something like that, but you might also end up making 2/3 of that per hour at Hess. Better like teaching screaming little kids, 'cuz that’s what most of the work is.

Go to Thailand; you won’t save a peso, but you’ll get laid a lot more.


Look deeply into your 18 year old soul, young blood, and ask yourself how much focus, resolve, and commitment you have. ,…[/quote]

first off kiddo, you wrote a veryyyyyy long letter for someone’s who’s relative was here for 2 years. And second, kiddo, a gap year as they call now, isn’t too bad, if you aren’t commited to going to school. Why waste money if you futz around. Maybe coming will give you wings that you never thought you had. And when you go back you will be mentally and mature wise ahead of your peers. Sidebar note…I met a wonderful friend here who took off a year to study chinese, he was 19 and I would have never in my life thought I would find a friend in someone so young…(im 32) but he was receptive to the exprience and took it by the horns. Best of luck…

Owe I wish I could talk to my brother for hours, cept when they came back a few months ago, they bought a van and started trecking across canada, they just went out to the east coast and back here last week or so (then asked me if I wanted to go with them and such, and then took off to the east coast), so I wasn’t really able to ask him all these questions and such, plus to be honest I didn’t really care at the time when I did have a couple days with him, as I never thought I would consider going, but now whats stopping me right? :smiley:

I’m working up a small budget outline from what I’ve read on the boards, will post it later and see if it is viable :smiley: (I also just took the average of 600NT an hour with 100hours a month as a salary, seeing what I can do on that). Thing with me is once I get started with something, I just keep going (writing, planning, and I also analyze everything which is a royal pain, 2 much time to think about thyings I guess, haha). In short I basically want to save about 1,000$ Canadian a month, I mean that shouldn’t be bad I was told (my bro and his gfriend saved about 20,000 i think in the 2 years, but that was also drinking/traveling). I love noodles and rice, I could probly survive off of them which would be a good thing (just need to take some vitamins and suppliments I am guessing since I am a vegetarian).

Since you’re about to make the plunge anyway and just need a few more things before you jump…

And you’re smart enough to run the numbers a bit. Be conservative in your numbers. A couple of things…

Current exchange rate: 1CND = 26NT
Salary: $600NT * 80 hours per month = 48000 (This is what I’d use)
Rent: $8000 (assuming have roommates)
Chinese/Visa School: $5000 per month (Not sure of this number but close)

Desired Savings: $26000
Food: $9000 left

You’re either gonna have to pick up some more hours or privates which arent that easy since you lack qualfications and you’d be coming in the slow season. (Outside of summer). Or cut back on your initial estimate of $1000 canadian per month.

Good luck!

Don’t give up on the possibility of going to university later down the road. If you decide that’s what you want, there is ALWAYS a way. Never mind what your grades were. Plenty of people go back to school, take a few classes, and go from there. As somebody else mentioned, Taiwan has universities too, and didn’t we just hear that foreigners were going to get free tuition or something? If opportunity is what you want, opportunity is out there. You just have to have to be able to summon up the energy to go out there and take it.

I do admire you for what you’re doing, especially at your age. (Wish I had been that prescient back then!) I think that energy spent going out and working for anything will eventually bear fruit, no matter how that particular thing works out.

Oh, and I’ve been in a similar family situation. They have to get their own lives together, not a whole lot you can do except stay on good terms with them. (Doing that with the fiancee may be tough, I realize.)

Well thanks for the responses i’ve gotten back. I’m just hoping to mature more from this all, its just I’ve been told all my life how much potential I have (with anything/everything/whatever I want to do), Its just one of my biggest faults is that I just am not able to get my priorities and keep to a schedual and such (like who the hell wants to study when you can be doing something FUN? lol, WRONG). And I hope from this trip I can come back and just be focused. Owe, and with the university thing I’ve learned I can after 3 years of the college course do 2 extra years at a university, so thats also a great option. Well, just thanks again guys and ghouls