My experience of living in Taiwan as a newcomer

My husband (Taiwanese) and I recently moved to Taiwan. From the day that I applied for my visitor’s visa at the Liaison Office I have received nothing but kindness from the Taiwanese people. The ladies at the household registration, Immigration, NHI, every single person that I have met has been so incredibly kind and helpful. I have not encountered one problem. Wherever I go it has been absolutely amazing, well that is until I met other foreigners from my own country. The most shocking for me is that they call themselves Christians.

I have been reading this message board for a while now and it is totally different from real life here in Taiwan. Here the foreigners are always giving each other advice or try to help. Unfortunately it is not like that in real life.

It is not easy being a foreigner in a strange country. I hope the people that have been here a long time will remember that. Kindness goes a long way. The same way that the Taiwanese accept us and show us kindness, we should be showing the same to other foreigners.


I don’t appreciate your lecture , thanks.


You are experiencing what is known as the “honeymoon period”. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Either you continue to wear rose-tinted glasses and pretend that everything in life in Taiwan is glorious and there is nothing at all bad about this place, or you accept that no place is perfect and life has its struggles, regardless of where you live or your life experiences.

Forumosa has drawn my attention to some things that matter to me. Sure, people have strong options, but have you seen other forms of communication online? This site has generally been civil. When it’s not, I unfollow the threads with ease. It’s also been a place where I can ask for advice when I don’t know what to do about something or just ask about good places to consume food or buy a thing I’m looking for. If you think this site is too full of people complaining, there is literally an infinite number of other options for you to choose from. I can think of a few that are under serious scrutiny for literally screwing over the human race. This site is not one of them.


I liked the sentiment, “be excellent to each other”.


I’m looking at my HHR transcript right now and I’m not listed on it except as a byline as a spouse. I hate their discriminatory system but those in a country not even a wet day want to lecture us how great things are.
That is the joke here.


Next up -’ I worked for a Taiwanese laoban and I love free overtime , disappearing bonuses , umet promises and free bubble tea on Fridays !

Get real , get into life here , earn a living get your hands dirty, and report back in a year.


Until your husband decides to trade you for a local model because you are too high maintenance/your usefulness as a workhorse and cute mixed baby making machine is over and kicks you out if the country without a cent and without the kids.

Enjoy the honeymoon but once the dust settles start protecting yourself. Understand the laws and the odds are not in your favor. Do not trust your in-laws and husband know what to do in terms of what you need to live here. Mostly out if ignorance, but sometimes out of sheer malice and racism, they don’t.


The original poster is quite clear that she is posting as a “newcomer,” no deception or misleading claims there. It’s not reasonable to expect her to have that one year of experience as she just arrived!

The kind words about posters on forumosa are generous and appreciated.



Yeah but she’s already crapping on some other foreigners who ‘weren’t nice to her’. Anyway she’s entitled to her opinion as a newcomer, I get it. I’m entitled to mine as not a newcomer. I really look forward to the report back after a year. Let us know if they have been working for a living also. Its a completely different experience .
I welcome newcomers , I just don’t like lectures, personally.


I’ve always found after a year in a country I start having opinions, but after the second year I realize that mostly I was wrong after that first year. Sadly, my honeymoon period has come to a close here in Taiwan.

For the most part average people have been very helpful with me. People in positions of power seem to be a different story.


You got this

from this?


I thought the OP was referring to Forumosa as a group of helpful expats (which is true SOME of the time), and had a bad experience with a group of expat Christians IRL. Maybe @Serene can elaborate.

I, too, have met Christians in Taiwan, both local and foreign, who are fairly hypocritical, like to form cliques, and look down on other expats.

I can’t argue against this. The honeymoon phase was nice. Everyone seem to be friendly and you didn’t really see the sub-context or understand the extent to which face-saving takes place.

My experience, phase 2 (the Awakening) can vary in duration according to individuals. For me it lasted about 2 or 3 years. That point of time I knew enough of the language to hear people talking about me, I noticed people looking at me all the time, I learned some bad words so I knew when people were talking about me in a negative way. I also learned a bit more about the culture on a deeper level that made me question the authenticity of interactions. For some people they never get past this phase.

For phase 3, at least in my experience, a kind of habituation or a acculturation that takes place, resulting in intercultural communicative competence and other valuable skills. Not to say that I’ve lost all ability to be a critical thinker or to be realistic. However reaching a certain level of communicative competence in the local language(s) and turning on the virtual “blinders” (not paying attention to the looks or stares of anyone around me in my environment) resulted in having very very few negative interactions with locals. Or, if I do, being able to conduct myself in a manner that has more positive outcomes.

Maybe there’s a Phase 4, particularly for those who get married and/or settle down here and encounter some of the issues that posters like Marco often refer to regarding citizenship and equality. However, I’m not sure I’m quite there yet and I’m not sure how much more there is to learn and to experience.


One has to be very careful with the kind of Christians one associates with here in Taiwan. While there are a number engaged in real charitable work and praising the Lord, the number of the ones pushing pyramid schemes is alarming. They are engaged in aggressive recruiting for pyramid companies far from spreading the Gospel. Associating with this kind is dangerous.


Christianity: the ultimate pyramid scheme!


This statement was a bit confusing to many of us.

Anyway…Christians. There’s a 2000 yr old thread that is still going strong !

Christians in Taiwan have their own fairly strong subcultures. You have the old school Presbyterians which happen to overlap with old money green families quite often. Fairly closed off to themselves , well educated group, some are very wealthy , marry amongst themselves if they can , conservative. They do run some community classes too which my family really appreciate . In history Presbyterian churches contributed a lot to Taiwan including the great George Mackay.

Then you’ve got the new wave mega churches , focused on recruiting families and to be fair they do a lot of great family activities, shows. Very welcoming, praying directly to God, evangelicals I guess they are called. They give off a bit of a smiling give me your brain vibe and money vibe, but overall do plenty of good , again internally focused for middle class people and the upwardly mobile , rather than doing work for the poor and homeless…

Then you’ve got the Mormons. I just steer clear of them because I dislike newcomers telling me what to do. Joke. Kind of :grin: Lots of locals have good impressions of Mormons cos they ride around rain or shine through the year on their bikes , clean cut wholesome looking young men and women . xinku nimen.

Catholics. Very old institution in Taiwan fair amount amongst the aboriginals, have contributed a lot to society running orphanages and homes for sick, outreach migrant community etc. Not large numbers here.

You’ve got some Jehovah witnesses dotted about too.

Anyway if the OP is referring to local Christians lack of obvious charitable works I totally agree. They don’t do a lot of charity as far as I can ascertain. Compared to the Buddhists for sure they are lagging a lot. It seems the OP was referring to Christians from her own country so I probably went quite a bit off tangent with this.


I reckon all of my phases have blended together. I still love the country. The things that I hate the most, started out as mundane at best. Like opening a chequing account is easy, but getting any form of trust is hard. Sure they are polite. But polite discrimination is just as bad as rude discrimination IMO.


Yes, not being trusted by the “system” is what “grinds” me the most (not a native speaker, not sure grind is correct here).

She’s talking about her own country people in Taiwan. We need to know what country that is otherwise this has nothing to do with us. The complaint is against her own country.


Indeed. Knowing which country these Christians are from would help.

Also, you have to be a bit selective with the foreigners you hang out with. It takes a while to find the good ones.


The OP really triggered you huh?:rofl:

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