Making friends

I wonder, now that I am gonna be living in Taiwan, how easy is to make friends, and if the foreign community welcomes other foreigners.
I have been living in Japan for a while, and the bond that most foreigners share is nice and warm.

The people who want to tell me their experiences in this topic about the 1st months of their life in Taiwan are welcome to do so. I would really appreciate it.

I also wonder if anyone registered here is Latin American or knows Latins in Taiwan and about Spanish Teaching positions available in Taipei.

I am Costa Rican, and I couldn’t find many latinos here in Japan.

Thanks a lot and take care

The foreign community in taiwan is catty, in taipei even more so. Once you enter the pub-crawl arena and start socializing, you’ll learn this quickly enough. Foreigners here also don’t like to be shown up, intellectually, because they perceive themselves to be the resident experts on everything, especially Chinese culture/language. You’ll see what I mean when you enter into a friendly chat about X and your associate begins every sentence with “Well, actually…”

However, that said, you can still make some great friends here if a) you don’t take yourself too seriously and b) you just ignore the knuckleheads and c) walk away from a conversation once it turns to gossip, because inevitably you will either meet the subject of said gossip or become it.


I have a feeling Fuzzball is right. Even though I’m not living in Taiwan, I know the type of people that he’s talking about. I’m a Chinese-thai Canadian and I run in to “eggs/yokes” (white on the outside yellow on the inside) all the time. These are the people who you usually see at your local chinese, thai and vietnamese eateries teaching their (white) friends how to use chopsticks. They get the biggest high knowing that they’ve tried half the menu and they feel that they

the guy i hang out with all the time here is costa rican. the latino community is pretty small, but i get the impression that it’s pretty tight knit. there’s even a spanish board on these forums you might want to check out, tomata.

is it true that costa ricans don’t roll their “r”'s?

and aznrice, i’m not sure what kind of people you meet in the states, but i have NEVER met a non-asian who affected a fake chinese accent to impress people. i find the thought that anyone would think a chinese accent impressive pretty funny…


Lots of latinos around Taipei especially. I have some friends from El Salvador and from Spain as well, as well as other countries. I

quote[quote]I wouldn

Hey, thanks for the input.

Well, I think what y’all say about the foreign community makes sense, especially because once one has conquered some place, there’s a kind of superiority people feel when they meet new conquerers.

I have been living in Japan for almost a year, so, I have already gotten used to a lot of things about Asia, so I don’t think I’ll have to get too much tutorship or guidance in basic things, though I would appreciate different points of view about Taiwanese culture and society.

Hey, Flipper, I would like to meet your Tico friend. What’s his name? Ask him if he would like to establish some kinda communication, so we can write or something. You can give him my e-mail,
And it IS true that we don’t roll the r’s, jaja. Well, only for a word or 2.
I would like to know how to find those latin forums, if you happen to know.

I think it’s really cool that people are passionate about mingling in a different culture, and pick up accents to enrich their linguistic ability. The more people know bout other cultures, the more they understand their own is not the most important.

Thanks, guys, talk to you later.

Originally posted by AznRice: they ... group their speaking...

Dontcha just HATE it when people do this?

You guys may not roll your "rr"s, but what’s with this “Ud.-to-everybody” thing?

Anyway…I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know the direct link to the Spanish forum, but scroll up this page, and you’ll see the green bar with “ORIENTED” on the left. Click on “Forums” and then choose “La Vida Loca en Taiwan” about two-thirds of the way down. That should get you going.


The Spanish-language forum is here:

You may not find the foreign community as close in Taiwan as in Japan, but I’ve heard from many that it’s much easier to make friends with Taiwanese than Japanese. Taiwanese are in general quite friendly.

Well, the concept of Usted is very complex. Only people who really get to know Costa Rican culture can grasp it and feel comfortable with it.
Mexico has it,too, in the parent-child relationship. Ud can be formal, referring to an authority or just repectful (while talking to someone older and conservative). But the confusing use (for foreigners) is the very, very personal one.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of “vos”, like the way argentins call everybody. Well, we use it too, and it used to be the most personal one, but then, it became kinda tacky to be talking in vos all the time. Vos is used when you first meet someone of your age, someone you would call “tu”. Or for very superficial friendships, it’s like a mask of niceness and in a way, politeness. But once the relationship gets to a different level, closer and less impressionable in both parts, we use ud. That brings friends closer and breaks the barriers hat you put between you and people that you don’t know very well.
Sometimes, you start the interaction with ud when you wanna let the person know that you have no interest in having a friendship, like classmates who ask you questions about whatever in the class and show no interest in anything else. Or people who are from more rural areas tendo to use that more often with strangers.
I still use vos sometimes, but i think it’s getting a little out-dated now. I older people only use vos to address their peers, and ud for younger people or older.
So, i guess you speak Spanish, Ironlady, otherwise, you wouldn’t be frustrated about this particular tico linguistic shit.
Well, I hope this explanation was satisfactory and I don’t know if other ticos would agree to this, but i see it this way.
I really appreciate your interest and hope we can keep discussing shit like this.
I’m gonna see if i find the spanish forum, cauz it wasn’t listed yesterday.

I have been here for a bit over two months.

Right after I arrived, I went to one of the Oriented Happy Hours with my boyfriend. We found most of the people there hard to talk to, actually. We went up to one guy and started talking (figuring we’d have to start the ball rolling), he said a few words to us and then turned away and left.

Before you ask… no, I don’t think it was because he was put off by us being a couple. We didn’t tell him that we were gay or a couple. And, I don’t think either of us is “obvious” based on stereotypes of gays.

Most of the other people we tried talking to were also very non-communicative. I’m not sure why this is…

I have found, though, that it is fairly easy to make friends with the Taiwanese here (of course, most of my friends are relatives of my boyfriend, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about). And, as has been mentioned, there are many foreigners who are friendly. I’m slowly starting to make foreign friends to add to my Taiwanese friends.


dont fret! that must have been the “Don’t talk to anyone you don’t know night” at oriented! lol

they do that just to freak people out!

Originally posted by LJ: Right after I arrived, I went to one of the Oriented Happy Hours with my boyfriend. We found most of the people there hard to talk to, actually.

Aw, shucks, LJ; I met you and your BF at that event and anyone who wouldn’t talk to him at least is nuts…he’s just as sweet as anything! In fact, I’m surprised he couldn’t work out a nice ‘green card marriage’ in the States! You, on the other hand…[only kidding! Maybe it’s the altitude!]

WA, ni hen GAO!


Originally posted by tomata: I still use vos sometimes, but i think it's getting a little out-dated now. I older people only use vos to address their peers, and ud for younger people or older.
Hmmmm....why can't it all be as simple as in our high school Spanish textbooks?? I mean, English really is as it is presented in the Taiwanese English textbooks, isn't it? [img]images/smiles/icon_eek.gif[/img]

That’s interesting, though, because I never heard a single ‘vos’ the whole time I was in Costa Rica (although it wasn’t really that long a time, just a couple of weeks). But for me it was weird to have to consciously use Ud., which I had never used too much before. The family I was with just used Ud. with everyone.

by tomata: So, i guess you speak Spanish, Ironlady, otherwise, you wouldn't be frustrated about this particular tico linguistic shit.
Guilty. Many of my 'foreign' friends in Taipei are Latinos. It's just so much more comfortable a language than English. English is so clinical.

I can get the "La vida loca en Taiw


Thanks for the compliment about my boyfriend. He is a cutey. However, I’m no slouch either. If I was, he wouldn’t have picked me. He has oh-so-good taste.

I must admit, though, that not everyone was non-communicative. Once I got you to admit who you were, you were and have been a very nice friend.


Tomata, if you stay away from Taipei and the bigger cities and brave the more rural zones, you will likely find the foreigners friendlier and less willing to try to establish superiority and pecking orders. Also, pubs and bars are a great way to meet aquaintances, but not a great way to meet friends; most have a few “cliques” and those outside generally stay that way. And if you’re not there every night, you’ll never get “in”.

On the other hand, the latino community outside the cities is virtually non-existant (a few individuals scattered about), though you can always take a bus or train… Most of my good friends who are not teachers in my town are people I met at training and Taiwanese folks, and I’m content with that. You could also try to strike up conversations with strangers on the street (I’ve never been brave enough myself, but have met many interesting people who were). Just don’t be put off by those too busy living an exotic adventure to bother with a foreign face…

I can’t speak for the Spanish here, but most of the Latin Americans I know seem to be here for some specific reason (i.e., they won a scholarship, they are studying, they are working in the embassy, etc.) and I haven’t sensed much of a desire for a rigid “pecking order” as I do feel among the English speakers. Nor have I sensed the whole “oh, you’ve only been here for 3 months” thing from those who have been in Taiwan longer.

Maybe the Spanish-speaking countries tend to export their best and brightest, often through competitive means, because many people would lack the financial wherewithal to just pack up and go to Asia, whereas English speakers might have more choice in the matter, and could go without having to win a scholarship or be accepted in the diplomatic service?? Just lame speculation as usual!


I think the hardest thing about friendships here is the attrition rate. I had a great group of friends and then they started dropping off one by one. Only one close foreigner friend left now. Just the way it works if you stay here a long time, and I think the fact that you know this changes the nature of the friednships a little. maybe?


Nemesis: You keep insisting that you are a foreigner and have a foreign face. You are wrong on both counts. [Just don’t be put off by those too busy living an exotic adventure to bother with a foreign face… ]

You are not a foreigner and you do not have a foreign face. Why do you keep dividing the world into natives and foreigners? Because you think you are superior to non-white-skinned people who did not inherit your Eurogenes? Or is there some other reason?

You seem, forgive me, because you are probably a very nice chap, like a real innocent abroad. Are you fresh off the boat still?