Just got here on Friday, AAAAHHHH! *freaking out*

Hey folks,

I arrived on Friday night, I will try to be living here for 10 months to go to school at Taida (ICLP). Sad thing is, I’m freaking out now!

People tell me to not worry and that I’ll get used to things. Not happening yet. I have no permanent accomodations and the language barrier is difficult to overcome. The few people I’ve spoken with in Chinese seem to not understand that my Chinese isn’t good enough to communicate in any fluid manner. My Chinglish is totally useless since they don’t understand the English words I’m using.

I’m staying at a couple different hotels in Taipei until I can find a more long-term arrangement. If I cannot do that soon, I am thinking of flying back to the US. Such a shame, because this trip was one of the biggest, most important things in my life.

I have no American friends here, the few friends I had before have abandoned me before I arrived, and I have no phone or reliable internet connection, so it’s hard to get in touch with anyone who MIGHT be able to offer some friendship or help.

The more I read about the island and the huge spiders, cockroaches, lack of decent living accommodations, water issues, et cetera, the less I like it here. It’s strange how I didn’t read about all these things when I was preparing to leave or making the decision to choose Taiwan instead of PRC!

I’m pretty sure there’s something I’m doing wrong, and that’s why I’m in such an uncomfortable position. I don’t know what to do, and housing does not seem very promising.

I bet this is a pretty common reaction but I’m in quite a lousy situation and concerned about my ability to survive here. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep, and the stress has destroyed any ability to communicate. This place scares me.

I will be going around Taida and Shida tomorrow and hope to find potential contacts, though I don’t think the prospects are too good.

Can anyone relate to my plight? I’m sure the first reaction many have is that I’m overreacting or that I shouldn’t worry too much. Considering I am very lost and need to settle down before classes start, I think my “freaking out” is a little bit justified.

Sorry for the rant, please direct this to a more appropriate forum if necessary.

forget everything you thought you knew about Taiwan and build from the ground up. Too many expectations will make you frustrated. What were you expecting? Let go. I know a guy who has been in Taiwan for 13 years and speaks NO Chinese or any other local language. The only person who is frustrating you is you. People aren’t going to be the way you want them to be either. Clean Slate!!!

study Taiwanese history and culture. Do not get it confused with Chinese history and culture it will only confuse you. By learning about Taiwan you may learn the answers to the “why” questions you may be having.

Ok, let me see if I undestood this correctly:

You arrived on Friday night. You posted your rant on Sunday night. That’s 48h. In those 48h, you failed to find an apartment with a phone line and internet access, you were unable to communicate fluently in Chinese or Chinglish, you didn’t make any American friends and you learned scary things about huge spiders etc. Now you are scared, thinking about abandoning this big and important project of yours, you can’t eat or sleep anymore and your ‘ability to communicate’ has been destroyed (though apparently you still managed to post on Forumosa).

You want to know if anyone can relate to your ‘plight’? Actually, I first wanted to respond that you’re either a troll or the biggest whiner I’ve ever heard of. Then, I read maowang’s post and I remembered that satisfaction can be defined as the ‘degree to which expectations are met’. You’re obviously frustated and unsatisfied. Now I’m really, honestly curious: what were your expectations for your first 48h in Taiwan?

I think Homer Simpson once said, if something is too hard, just give up. Like c’mon dawg is it really that hard to goto a store, cop a cell phone, find a hostel, rent a room for to the end of october? but honestly, if you goto mcdonalds, dont try and talk you way into getting mayo or bbq sauce to dip your fries in!

relax. ain’t the end of the world. everything you are doing tens of thousands of people have done before. the vast majority of the people on this board have been where you are.

your expectations have been wiped out. you are standing at ground zero and aren’t sure how things are gonna work out. savor it. how you handle this stretch will be a large part of how define/recognize yourself years down the road. if you quit now, it may very well be part of a pattern. simply refuse to quit. will yourself to first survival and then elevate from there.

recognize “freaking out” for what it is. we all have “flee or flight” urges. how you master your fears defines what you are. i think it was oscar wilde who opined “always do what you fear.”

Well thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt instead of calling me a troll.

Actually my expectations were to have friends who live here and other students who were doing the same thing that I had been in correspondence with who would not ditch me and lose contact before arrival. I expected my school would have been willing to offer some degree of advising services, and I expected that I would have encountered some people who speak English. Perhaps it is purely luck that I’ve bumped into the language barrier as often as I have thus far, I’ll look around some more and see if I can change that luck.

I have no phone actually, just internet for the two days I am staying at this particular hotel, which I will need to move out of soon due to the expense. However, it is the only place I currently “know” that offers access, since I’ve apparently walked past and missed all of the internet cafes in the area.

I come from a teeny tiny little town and expected that I would have some degree of shock to overcome with respect to various aspects of life here (even short-term). That’s happened to a degree and it sorta joins with all the other little things that make me nervous.

Since it’s Monday now, I can go to my school and try to get some answers about what I should be doing. I think the total lack of familiarity with anything in the 3 areas I’ve jumped between isn’t helping me too much, so yeah if I can stay in one place for a week or so, I can perhaps hunker down and learn an area a little bit better, especially if I don’t need to tow my luggage around.

I’ve started learning how to use the MRT system as well and I have an EasyCard.

Perhaps my problem is that I’m looking at this trip as a whole, rather than the short term. I went to bed and though I only got a couple hours of sleep, it’s easier to think when the day is fresh (hence this post).

I’m sorry that I offered a bad first-impression of myself, I just feel relatively lost with only very short-term accomodations arranged and less-than-spectacular knowledge of alternative options. I’m trying to take advantage of my limited internet access by trying to look up some places and tips for wandering the city. That’s how I stumbled onto this site, but I was also in a little bit of an emotional state due to lack of sleep and food and water and thinking of everything that I haven’t been successful at yet. Sort of like posting when drunk, should be avoided but we all make mistakes.

My apologies for offering that bad impression of me, this is just my first long-term international trip and my first international trip without a safety net in place (I’m sure everyone was able to deduce that I was young). I was told that the first few days/week of adjustment would be tough, but I also know that I’m the one who needs to make the adjustments and changes, and I am not sure how to do that or what things to address. I hope this doesn’t have as thick a tone of desperation as my previous post, and again I’m sorry for giving a bad first impression.

Hi Robert, you might want to take a look at Michael Turton’s website, it offers some sound advices on living in Taiwan. Below is a link to the section about finding accomodations and housing. Cheers.


and this link might also be of some use to you (TSUEI MA MA Foundation for Housing and Community Service):


Robert, I’m a graduate student at Tai-da (NTU), so send me a private message and let me know if I can be of any help. The bureaucracy there is quite difficult to get around. Finding accomodations for 10 months shouldn’t be hard, and I do believe that NTU will offer dorm rooms to foreign students (unlike NTNU), although I’m not 100% sure about that.

Thats the spirit! Someone take this fella out for a beer.

I don’t know which part of town you are staying in, but if you get desperate for internet access, take the MRT to the Yong An Market stop (the yellow branch of the red line, which ends at Nanshijiao), get out of the only exit at the YAM stop, turn left, and walk about five minutes. You will see a large ugly green-and-purple sign advertising “(E)Cafe”, with a bunch of computers inside. It’s 30NT per hour, but they don’t serve drinks. Say hello from me to the adorable hottie with the baby civet cat sitting on her head.

FYI, on the opposite side of the road, you will pass by a MOS Burger and a 7-11. The internet cafe is about half a block past that 7-11. Remember, those two waypoints are on the OPPOSITE side of the road from the side that you are on.

There are lots of others, probably closer to you, but this one is the only one I know of that is easy to describe how to get to.

That failing, you might just want to look around for any place with lots of anime’ videogame posters. Those usually seem to be advertising for gaming dens.

Spider-wise, get a gun. Remember, two to the body and eight between the eyes.


Welcome. What is that old saying, “Things always look their darkest just before they go pitch black!” Sorry, a bad joke.

Serious, yes, if I make some adjustments for age and travel experiences, etc., it is very easy for me to identify with your concerns and nervousness.

I echo the comments about Michael Turton’s website and the Housing Office at the Tai-Da campus. Good resources. Having said that, calm down some and get minimally stabilized before seeking out Turton’s website. He pulls no punches and you might fixate on the negative stuff at this point.

I’ll be teaching and can’t attend, but this Wednesday night there is a Forumosa.com Happy Hour at 8:30pm at the Taipei Sports Bar (see the header on most pages here). You should try to go. Be socially assertive however. While these people are overall helpful, there isn’t any standing method of welcoming new people at these things. Just walk in, buy a beer or whatever you like to drink, and then wander around and introduce yourself to the best of your ability.

If you need to chat, PM me. Busy week for me, but it is always possible to “make time” somewhere.

Good luck,


Giant spiders?!? I haven’t seen any giant spiders in 1 year and 7 months living in Taipei. Maybe they taste very good. Saw people eating them in Cambodia.

… I am German and never made it out of NeiHu/Taipei since Feb (always Taifun starting or something worth when I want to get out).

Yes, it is Chaos here, but if you are into that sort of thing, it’s nice.

NOOO, really it is just a bit more chaotic than US or Europe, but people are friendly to us Longnoses.

No Idea where you are. Is it Taipei? I could find apartments in NeiHu Taipei.

US-folks: help that guy and tell him a US pub, I only know Wendel’s cafe for Germans and some Irish restaurant I do not find anymore since it is not in NeiHu and I probably was drunk the last time :wink:

… I better go back to sleep in office now …

Absolutely come to the Happy Hour. You’ll meet lots of people who have not only survived, but thrived in this strange land. If you need some specific help, give me a call. My number is 0935-560-995.


Welcome. What is that old saying, “Things always look their darkest just before they go pitch black!” Sorry, a bad joke.[/quote]
The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an oncoming gravel truck.

Oh, sure, fob him off on us. :fume:

My advice is to avoid the Guinness. The Malaysian subcontractor doesn’t know how to brew beer. Hoegaarden is fine, as is Carlsberg, but they ought to print “our horse has diabetes” on the Guinness bottles.

Ray’s chef does some pretty good chicken burritos. Haven’t tried the burgers yet; I probably should, but the burritos are too good.

I’m living in Taipei yep, have been in a few different neighborhoods. The one that kinda got me down was right between the Ximen and Xiaonanmen MRT stations. Cheap and the actual room was reasonably clean, but only really a temporary solution. Right now I’m in the Taida/Taipower area but am paying a bit more for it, which I can only manage to do for a few days.

I think I can learn to like the MRT, as I’ve used it a few times between Ximen and Jingmei and other areas in that range. It’s a lot more comfortable for me than figuring out the bus system, but I’ll do what I hafta do!

It’d be great to participate in some social events like the Forumosa Happy Hour, but I’m afraid I’ve sorta tarnished my image already as a newbie, don’t need to worsen it. :slight_smile: I may try anyway though, depending on how things work out. Thus far I’ve run across very few other waiguoren, which is strange. My trip to campuses today may change that though.

I’m hoping I’ll have a phone soon, so it will be easier to be in contact with folks I meet.

Thanks again.

Was his name Steve, by any chance?

Robert, give it a few weeks–things will settle into place. There will be hassles no matter where you go.

I hated it like the plague when I first arrived as a student. I very nearly asked for a transfer to Beijing. Stick it out, if you can, what you’re going through seems normal enough to me. Give Maoman a ring and meet up for a beer. Sunday brunch at Carnegies on a sunny day will put a new complexion on things - very “civilized” (Bob seems to take Sundays off now - tee hee)

Get an Eeee Fooo card (Far EastTone pay as you go) from 7-11. Get out of the hostels as soon as you can. Browse this website, but remember we’re all cranky old farts with no mates who just come here to whinge. Taipei’s not cheap, and not a good place to be unemployed. Are you working yet ? The weather is improving too - those horrible summer days are nearly over. Good luck.

Maybe if you explain clearly what it is you need or are lacking we can be of more help. It seems you need a place to stay and are now at hotels you can’t afford. There are hostels in the city. Do you need numbers?

What about money? Do you have money saved for your studies or do you plan to teach a little on the side? No, I’m not about to lend you cash but if we understand your situation better, again we can offer more specific advice.

Someone pointed out you’ve only been here 48 hours. It takes me almost 5 days to get over jet lag. Chances are this is contriuting to your state of panic. In fact, reading over your first post I would say that this is exactly your problem. You sound unable to focus, plan, see things in perspective. Classic symptoms of fatigue. Next time, don’t plan to get so much done in the first day or two. Have a place to stay and just wander around the city.

Taipei is an ugly city overall. That does not mean it is a crime ridden, urban nightmare. It’s actually one of the safest cities large cities in the world. You can walk around safely at 3am in almost any neighborhood. I suggest you don’t read Thurton’s website as it tends toward accurate but unqualified statements which will just make you paranoid and needlessly cautious.

So tell us exactly what you need to do. Use point form so we can address the issues one by one.

And remember, throughout most of history people have travelled without cell phones or the internet. You don’t really need them.

No! Not Hawaiian Steve, but Weird David…the guy who sits at the Frog in Taichung and looks like a pedophile…he has two shirts…Mickey Mouse and Snipers-Long Range Death.