Need some idea of family costs in Taiwan

Hello all,

I am seriously considering relocating to Taiwan for several reasons, however I’m curious what some on the ground and experienced people may have in terms of input.

Here are my current important details; Family of 4, 5 year old daughter, 7 year old son, Chinese mainland born wife (Canadian citizen), and I’m a local Canadian born guy with a science degree and currently working in Pharmaceutical sales ($80,000 Canadian dollars per year).

Here is why we want to move;
The housing prices here in Toronto make it so that we can never afford to buy a reasonable house in a reasonable neighborhood. We had a 3br condo but sold it, since the major advantage of living in Canada is the wide open spaces and prospects of having an actual house. We have enough cash to buy a nice place in Taiwan. Our rent in Toronto right now is $2500 CAD/mnth.
We are concerned that our kids will never get a fair shake here, due to their mixed heritage (asian/ caucasian), and we have experiences already to back this up. Projecting their future from now, we don’t foresee a very bright future for them here.
My wife really misses living in Asia, and feels socially isolated and cut off here in Toronto. She is basically living in the Chinese community bubble here, and the local Caucasian community in Toronto is not willing to really let her in. I also had a very positive experience with my limited time in Asia (9 months together over the years). We couldn’t live in Mainland China, as it’s too dangerous for our Children’s health and development.
The WEATHER!!! The weather here is inhumane! Life is too short.

Now, with that our of the way, I’m wondering if somebody has realistic expectations in terms of living costs for a family of this size, and if my potential income could make a comfortable life in Taiwan. We would need a 3br apartment, private bilingual school for 2 kids, and other regular costs life healthcare enrollment, utilities, food etc. How much do we need to take in to make things comfortable?

I would ideally like to find a position with a local Pharmaceutical company doing business development of North American markets. I also have experience as a university instructor and a trainer for pharmaceutical sales. My wife would also like to work, she is fluent in English and Mandarin.

Thank you for your comments.

It would be a struggle to put your two kids through private bilingual school here on your current salary, and I’m not sure you’ll even come close to it here. And you don’t even know if they can get in, not many spots open and your kids usually have to take their aptitude tests as well. Not to mention a healthy donation to make your chances even.

I thought Canadians are woke, Toronto has a huge Asian community but it seems things are still the same.

The pharmaceutical companies here are like Pfizer and lily. The major ones. Did you check with them if they have any positions in Taiwan.

How about the public schools?

By the way, forgot to mention we are targeting Taipei for the larger international community.

Thank you,

I think English language public education is going to be thin on the ground. Of course you could go Chinese. Hong Kong might be an option too for the public education and for jobs too. Not so much for the house buying.

It would be a struggle to put your two kids through private bilingual school here on your current salary, and I’m not sure you’ll even come close to it.

I just noticed this part. Is it really so expensive? My current salary is around 150,000 NT / mth. Although I’m not sure what I could fetch locally. Still looking into the work side of things over there.

HK is less desirable due to the cost of living and housing costs. They also speak Cantonese there rather than Mandarin.

Were were thinking we could do private bilingual the first year while the kids get adapted, and then jump into the mainstream public education after that. We could front that cost out of pocket in the beginning.

House buying would be difficult in Taipei as well. You might have better chances in Toronto with a decent salary.

Are you a pharma rep? Idk how that would translate into the same job here. There’s a lot of biomedical companies here and research done here. But nothing I can think of for a rep.

To state the obvious, then your kids English suffers.

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How much do you think private education is? They are usually expensive, or else everyone would just go instead of public. Especially bilingual education. How much is private education is Toronto?

Your younger is still young. But can your older kid read and write right now?

Looking here: https://www.century21global.com/for-sale-residential/Taiwan/Taipei-City?beds=3&sort=priceAsc
There are some 3br options that are affordable to me. Many more options if I expand to the region outside of Taipei proper as well.

Right now I work with a supplier selling bulk pharmaceuticals from China and India to USA customers. I plan on looking into the possibility of keeping this current job and working remotely, but it’s no guarantee.

My older one can read English very well now, and his writing is progressing. My younger one is just starting to read.

I think that’s the best plan if you can. Your salary now is likely to be considerably higher to what the job market offers here for you.

I mean Chinese. He/she is in the 3rd grade at that age right?

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There aren’t really any resources for learning written Chinese here in Canada. They do have some level of verbal Chinese, but far from fluent.

Another thing for the OP to be aware of is that the local education is no joke. The kids have to work super hard. And they have been using Chinese from the start, not making a tricky transition to it. I think the local education option might not be the best one.

Yes that’s what I was about to say. With no Chinese it would be hard for the oldest in public school. The kids there would likely be way ahead in math skills. When I moved from Taiwan to the US, my math skills were a few grades above the kids already coming in at elementary school. I didn’t even know it could be possible to not have homework on the weekend before I moved from Taiwan. Even during summer and winter breaks we had home work.

Most people in Taiwan are trying to get their kids to go to places like Toronto for an education. I don’t see how their future would be better going to public school here.

And are you sure being mixed is really that hard for them? Being mixed here isn’t going to be much better either. And I don’t really feel like being mixed is that difficult in Canada.

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Yea if I was the OP id be arriving with the option to go back. Just incase the far away hills didn’t turn out to be so green after all

I was tempted to throw both those points out too, (but didn’t want to rain too hard on the parade) I think those are definitely something to think about.

That’s one of the things I don’t really like about the Canadian system, the math is not a priority and competition has been banned. We have additional math lessons for our son at home from a textbook a year up, he actually really likes math.

The focus over here is more about making both genders equal, by ramping up the importance of communication skills and dropping the math skills and competitive environment. The end result is that 2/3’s to 3/4’s of university admissions are for women, depending on degree type.

Perhaps you should move south of the border into the US. Home ownership is still very attainable in many places not in major cities and schools there can be decent. The Canadian system sounds like a joke.

If you come to Taiwan however, it will be very different for the kids in public schools. School workload is repetition and memorization based. I had to do more hours of home work in elementary school vs a good high school in the US because it’s more based on comprehension and adding your own ideas into it. Not as much repetitive memorizing.

Perhaps go to private school in Toronto where it’s not so ridiculous.

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