Why littlemissflip is Leaving Taiwan
My background is in ecology, specifically habitat conservation and plant community restoration. I did not come to Taiwan expecting to find fabulous ecology job opportunities (they are difficult to come by in any country), but my boyfriend (born in Taiwan, grew up in the U.S.) wanted to live in Taiwan and improve his Chinese, so I decided to go along for the adventure. I had always wanted to live outside the U.S., and though Taiwan was nowhere near the top of my list, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to go SOMEWHERE. I figured if I could find an ecology job here, great, but if not, I’d leave after a few months and seek work elsewhere.
I interviewed (which basically entailed my potential employers establishing that I was a native speaker and then eagerly asking me to start the next day) at two research institutes here in Taipei. The jobs at each were supposed to involve part-time English editing work and part-time research. I chose the position with slightly higher pay (still less than NT$ 30,000/month–the typical starting wages for Taiwanese university graduates in ecology–yikes!), more prestige (it’s “famous”!), and what I thought would be a better opportunity to gain experience in my areas of interest. But alas, once I started the job, I found there were few research opportunities for me, especially with my extremely limited Chinese. I suppose it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but I was most valuable to my employers for my native English ability, not for my ecology skills, which their students and employees already had (with the added bonus of being able to communicate in Chinese). Despite the abysmally low pay, the job was a fairly cushy way to legally stay in Taiwan in some respects–long lunch breaks, light work load, low pressure–but I get really bored in jobs like that. I tried finding other ecology work in Taiwan, but the best I could come up with was a volunteer position that, due to scheduling conflicts, didn’t work out. I endured for nearly nine months, but can’t stand being stuck at a desk editing and processing research papers anymore–I want to be out there in the field DOING research. So that’s why I decided to leave Taiwan.
I will be returning to the US to visit my family and take care of some graduate school application business, and then I will be applying for ecology positions anywhere I feel like going…perhaps Australia or New Zealand…or South America…and then attending graduate school back in the States sometime in the next couple of years.
I expected to hate Taiwan, and for the first four months or so, I pretty much did. But I have since grown to really enjoy my life and friends and my Chinese classes here, and it was a very difficult decision to leave (especially because my boyfriend is staying here). I wish I could find a fulfilling job for myself here, so that I could continue traveling and experiencing all that this region has to offer, but if I had to continue doing dull office-work for the next year and a half, I’d go absolutely nuts! So to preserve my already questionable sanity, I will be leaving Taiwan in a week and a half. I’ll come back and visit though!
And that is the story of why littlemissflip is leaving this crazy little place called Taiwan. Thank you, thank you very much…