Spending a year in Taiwan - Have a few questions

Hello all,

I’m new to this forum and I have a few questions with regards to living and working in Taiwan for a year.

I’m a recent graduate of an American university with a technical degree (B.S. in Chemistry). My long term goal is to attend medical school in a year and am looking to live abroad during that year. The reason why I am interested in moving to Taiwan is because I have strong family ties there (I’m half Taiwanese and half caucasian) and I want to learn Chinese.

My aunt, who lives in Taipei, has a second home in Yonghe that she does not currently use. It’s fully furnished and she has said that I can stay there throughout the duration of my stay. All of my family and friends (I have a few from visiting Taiwan in the past) are in northern Taiwan, so I’m pretty dead set on staying in or near Taipei. Additionally, my mother is a dual Taiwanese and American citizen. She also maintains her Taiwanese residency by having a Taiwanese address. Could this give me any leeway on the work permit front?

My understanding is that the usual short term job for Americans working in Taiwan is teaching English. That being said, I’ve also heard horror stories of racial prejudice against foreign born Taiwanese people. Being half-Taiwanese, I would assume that I would be faced with this reality in searching for a teaching position. Would this make it very difficult for me to find a teaching job?

Are there any other options for someone in my position for employment? I’d be interested in tutoring as well, though I’ve heard that can be pretty iffy legally.

I appreciate everyone for taking the time to help me - it is a great help!

EDIT: Oh, I forgot to mention that I’d be coming down this summer or around CNY of next year.

It sounds like you can probably get a TARC and use that to work. It’s a special residence permit you would get through your mother’s citizenship and residence. Based on the TARC, you can get a work permit. Search the board–there are some detailed threads on how to do this. I don’t think your background will make it “very difficult” for you to find work. Perhaps slightly more difficult. If you going to be studying Chinese at Shida or somewhere similar, teaching English is probably the way to go because it will give you more free time. Otherwise, look at job sites like 104 (search key words in English) and see if you can find other employment. You’ll learn a lot about Taiwan and improve your Mandarin that way.

I greatly appreciate your help.

I will definitely look into getting a TARC. Given that I’m a male, is there a risk of me being drafted should I go this route? Additionally, I’m not sure if I’m listed on record as being my mother’s son in Taiwan (I’ll have to ask her) as I was born on U.S. soil. Would this be a complication, or is there a way to retroactively change this?

Thanks again for your help!

Yes you could be drafted. If you were born on or after 1 Jan. 1994, I believe that you have to serve four months. Otherwise I think it is a year. Also, the regulations changed last summer. You may be able to apply for a deferral if you have been admitted to graduate school in the US. These rule are tricky. You should seek advice from someone with experience handling these matters. Friends and what you read online are not going to be helpful.

You should also keep in mind that even if you serve for one year it is very likely you will be assigned to alternative service, possibly even related to your technical background. If you are serious about learning Chinese, this wold be a great way to do it plus being able to enjoy the considerable benefits of dual citizenship.

You can retroactively be added to your mother’s household. In fact that is precisely what you need to get a TARC. You should start working on it right away. There is a fair amount of paperwork. Or you could just enter on your foreign passport and look for a job (probably teaching) that will support your work permit. Personally, I would probably try to arrange some kind of graduate study in the US in advance and take my chances on getting drafted. Getting a TARC is really worth it and getting drafted is not a big deal anymore even if you have to do one year.

If it is just a one year stay then you might be better off just coming here on your American passport, to get the teaching job. Probably the easiest way. I wouldn’t over think your Taiwanese background if you look for teaching work. I think it is unlikely that you would meet discrimination, and the schools that discriminate like that are not the ones you want to be working at anyway. I imagine that the paperwork to come in as an ROC national would be tricky. But if you come in as American and later change your mind you always have the option to fly out and back in using the Taiwan identity. Best of luck with it!