Meeting people in Kaohsiung as a foreigner.

I’m 20 and came to Kaohsiung for university, finding it awfully difficult to make new friends. I am chinese descent, but my Mandarin is pretty basic, so it puts me in a weird spot where people assume I can speak the language, but then kinda not bother putting in the extra effort once they realise there’s a language barrier.

Anyone else with any similar experiences, or any advice would be very appreciated.

Aren’t there plenty of other foreign students at your university? Go make friends with them.

Or just go to the Sunset Bar on a Saturday night. Literally any Saturday night.

If you were white, these are the people who wouldn’t even have began speaking to you in the first place.

It’s more difficult for you because you need to go through the haystack of non-English speakers to find the needle who speaks decent English, whereas the haystack avoids the white person so they immediately find the needle.


There are a few foreigners here, but I don’t think it’s going to work, just one of those I guess. But other than that, probably 95% of the students here are native. Language barrier really sucks

Uh-oh. Is the issue… you? Or those foreigners?


Just walk the harbor on weekends. Have drinks at bar on Cijin Island.
Go up to cute locals and ask for directions to somewhere and then talk random crap.
As long as you are not introverted, you should do fine.
Join outdoor activities. Lots of bike groups on FB that do easy rides.

It’s not the answer anyone likes to hear, but it’s the one they need to embrace: learn the local language. Your happiness, and everything else in life will improve infinitely on e you can communicate with non english speakers! Truly. Best investment one can make here. Speak mandarin. Dont need to care about reading or writing, at least at first. But communication is key to happiness in my opinion.

Took me well over 10 years to finally realize this. My life became instantly better once I took it serious enough to at least be able to hold a basic conversation with my neighbours.

Personal I dislike going somewhere and only meeting expats or the various groups of English speakers Ina country. One misses out on nearly the whole experience of the country because the English speaking locals tend to use you or treat you like a toy and the expats are just expats. There is so much more to taiwan outside those groups.


I tried, but they got their own group and all, so they were just busy with their own things all the time

Yeah, I really wish I could wake up and be fluent in Mandarin, but I’m doing my best to learn it


Don’t know if you have seen the Bart Simpson goes to France Episode where exactly that happens. Hang in there and all the little efforts that seemed to make no difference finally add up and suddenly you can speak it. Stranger things have happened. Why don’t you try hiking and language exchange groups on facebook? I know its mainly for dating, but anyway, Bumble is a good way to meet people too.

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Already good advice here.

What are your hobbies and interests?

If you like sports, go around to the campus fields and ask to play with them. Into flag football, there’s a club around Kaohsiung for that.

If you like the beach and surfing, go to qijin beach.

If youre religious, go to a church with young people.

Any clubs around campus you’re interested in? Ask to join.

Essentially, look for places that you enjoy going yourself, and then strike up small talk from there.

Many college students would enjoy practicing English, don’t let your Chinese skills restrict you. If you don’t want to speak English, and want to focus on improving your Chinese, then get involved and just immerse yourself in the language environments. It will be challenging at first, but one day you’ll wake up and it will click in your brain.

Edit: And if all that still doesn’t lead to opening of friendships, a bit of self reflection may be needed :sweat_smile: