Why choose to work and settle in taiwan?


Hi all,
From my previous post I mentioned that I lived and worked in Taipei city for about 10 months as a part time English teacher. I speak basic mandarin and hold tw citizenship but decided to come back to NY since I felt it was a struggle and wasn’t making ends meet with the salary I made there. I tried to look for other stable office jobs and went on several interviews with interior design and architecture companies since it’s my profession in the states but no offers on the table since my mandarin wasn’t proficient enough.

Overall I did enjoy my time in Taiwan and wanted to stay and settle. Even though I make a decent salary in NY, I find it very depressing to live here long term ( cold winters, rude people, high prices, dirty, QOL, etc.). I feel that I should return to Taiwan and really brush up my mandarin this time on the main stream but still skeptical with the job market there. So I am wondering why you all choose to work and settle in Taiwan even with the low pay scale and limited job opportunities. Thx


For me, this place just feels right. The workplace is a nightmare most of the time, salaries are bad and only getting worse, but outside of the rigid structures and power plays, overall, one can make a life. May not be one for everyone, but if it works, it ain’t stupid.

  1. Personal safety
  2. Quiet lifestyle
  3. Found a nice place to call home

And today is one of those days. I need to remind myself I chose this. Let it be, let it flow, let ugly people die…


I am kind of in the boat as you, OP. I’m from the east coast and one of my options after graduation was finding a job in NY or commute 40-50 minutes to somewhere in Jersey.

We can all agree that the workplace and everything that comes with it, won’t change in our lifetime. Traffic is bad compared to home and if you’re out in it as much as I am, it becomes quite a stressful commute.

NJ will always be home since that’s where I grew up and where my friends are, but Taiwan (Taipei) just had some better things to offer.

Transportation. In the states, I was driving close to 600-700 miles a week to get to and from class and to meet friends in Jersey City/Hoboken. Here in Taipei, I can choose to scooter, drive, bus, MRT, taxi and u-bike. Actually if you comebine one fare for bus/MRT/taxi/ubike the total doesn’t even add up to the starting fare on an NYC taxi.

Safety. I’ve never felt I was in danger at 3AM on the street walking home in zig zags in Taipei. In NYC? Fuhgettaboutit.

Nature. National parks back home weren’t too far away, but those were day or two day trips. In Taipei, going to Yang Ming Shan is like going to your local park. Leave at 7AM and return by noon.

Friends/Family. I felt it was a little easier to make friends here in TW. I get along with the foreigners well since they like to keep me around for translation and vice versa with the locals. Just kidding. I just tend to understand both local and foreigner opinions and try to get one party to understand the thought process and reasoning of another.


OP, I don’t recommend Taiwan. Overall, it is not that great of a place. It is probably the least interesting country in Asia (aside from the beautiful women, which is, IMO, the one and only thing Taiwan has going for it). Salaries, as others have mentioned, are garbage and it’s getting worse. The weather in North Taiwan is worse than New York because it rains almost non-stop in the winter for months on end. Furthermore, it is a kind of acid, smelly, polluted rain and you can do nothing in it. At least you can ski and snowboard in North America. What are you going to do in the winter in Taipei? The architecture is simply appalling. The cities and towns of Taiwan have no style whatsoever and they are identical in appearance. The place is downright ugly and it is in that sense depressing. It is crowded with scooters like Bangkok yet it is not nearly as fun and charming as Bangkok. You could say that Taiwan has all of the problems of a third world country but none of the charms. You need to search hard to find something interesting in Taiwan. This island is close to Southeast Asia -so you can get to interesting destinations quickly and easily. I guess that’s a plus. The locals are insular, it is not easy to make friends with locals, and the economy here is moribund. The situation is so bad that locals have basically stopped having children. Go elsewhere.


Not sure I could recommend moving here full-time, especially if you are looking for an office design job. With the limited opportunities, poor salaries, and terrible work-life balance it might be difficult to grow in much the same way you would elsewhere.

Also again, money – while you will earn enough to live comfortably here, you are never paid what you are worth and it unfortunately makes mobility more challenging.

But Taipei is an especially interesting place to live, even Hsinchu where I live, arguably the most boring city in Asia, has charms not found elsewhere. If you can find a way to bypass the local workplace its a worthwhile place to explore for a number of years.

I’ve lived in Hsinchu for 18 years, and have remained here so long primarily to provide my kids a good educational foundation. Though it feels so for my kids, it’s never felt like home to me, so we are in the homestretch of our stay here.

With the exception of anywhere close to a road, this is very safe place to live. I’ve never felt ill at ease. I drink great coffee, eat cheap fresh fruit, and get to run road races frequently. Compared to my home country air travel is an absolute breeze. It’s very easy to live here.


the least interesting place in asia? not sure how you came to that conclusion, its the most interesting for my money.

i live here because i have always wanted to live in a place like this, my home country sucks, is way more boring and way too expensive. i like the lifestyle here. definitely not perfect but i have noticed some things get better, which i have never seen happen back home.


Well everyone’s different.

If I were a foreigner, Taiwan is one of the least places I would ever want to set foot on lol. I wouldn’t even be interested in paying a visit at all.


For me, i’am foreigner.

  1. I feel safe for me and my kiddo.
  2. Health fee not too expensive though we are covered with NHI also better compare to old place, however in my original place we have diverse health care but too expensive for ordinary people like me.
  3. Taiwan public transportation are better if I compare this to my birth place really suck.
    4 Work is fine though pay was not that good but I consider myself lucky to have work with pay.
  4. People - some are friendly some are not.


[quote=“jo, post:8, topic:155194, full:true”]
For me, i’am foreigner.

  1. I feel safe for me and my kiddo.
    [/quote]Idk where you’re from but if I had a kid, I would be having panic attacks all the time. A couple of days ago a family was driving their van on the road (in Hualien I think) and some licenseless 18 yo moron ran over them. The wife, the daughter, and the unborn son all died.

If I were the father I had already committed suicide once I regained consciousness. I don’t think you’d have to worry about this kind of things as much in places like say, New Zealand. Obviously it’s not overly dangerous here, and having been to Europe I feel like all European big cities are way scatchier than Taiwan after dark (except for perhaps Vienna and Stockholm), but the traffic here is just too murderous for kids to be safe all the time.


I didn’t choose to settle here for the work conditions or opportunities - they are not great (understatement) and that’s unlikely to change in the near future.
But I love living here, for three main reasons already mentioned above:

Nature! The jungle is literally a 20-minute scooter drive from my flat in central Taipei - monkeys, snakes, cool spiders with man-sized webs, insanely dense vegetation, fantastic trails, flamboyant birds and squirrels and funny bugs, all of this on my doorstep! I don’t know of any other city the size of Taipei that can offer that.

Personal safety. I don’t have to constantly watch out for myself or my belongings. You walk home at whatever time in whatever state without having to worry about getting mugged, having the shit kicked out of you, or worse if you’re a woman. (You do have to watch out for them cars and scooters though :wink:)

It’s just an easy place to live in. People are usually not aggressive (there are exceptions, but they’re not that common), food and other daily stuff is available 24/7, everywhere and for cheap, health coverage is pretty great, it’s easy to meet people (some wonderful, others not so much), taxis are cheap, Taiwanese people aren’t in your face trying to tell you what to do and how to behave… basically, I feel completely free to live the life I want and choose for myself.

@Sanchez: you sound very miserable and bitter, maybe it’s time to move on?


What happened?


For those who say Taiwan is interesting I’d like to see it spelled out. Why? The food sucks. Locals are so proud of it by I feel it is highly overrated. Most of Taiwan’s Han people came from Fujian province, a region not known for spice. The food is bland, bland, bland. No coconuts or tomatoes used in the cooking. The only country in Asia with worse food than Taiwan is the Philippines. Nature? Try hiking in Taiwan. The trails are full of people playing their personal stereos at high volume. It is beyond rude. I can hardly hear the birds and insects sometimes, it’s that bad. It’s as if they never heard of earphones before. They just have to blast those personal stereos as loud as possible, and playing the same old garbage Taiwan pop songs. That’s another thing -music. Like live music? Forget Taiwan. Hideous architecture. What exactly is interesting about Taiwan???

Going to have kids here? The goal of Taiwan’s education system is the destruction of childhood. Test after test after test, hyper-competition between students, egged on by parents. It’s a nightmare.




You do know there are other places than Elephant Mountain and Yangming Shan, right? Northern Taiwan is riddled with trails, you can go for a whole day without meeting a soul.


16 years here because Taiwan is a really easy place to live after you learn some chinese and get used to the Asian food, safe, very convenient transport in the main, cheap to eat out, low rents, low costs overall, generally friendly people if shy.

There are certainly things I don’t like, I have kids in school
And the attitude of other parents Appals me, asking for more homework for their first grade kids, commenting on the looks of the teachers , this kind of stuff.
The elementary schools aren’t too bad though they actually have more variety of extra curricular classes than in many places in Europe. The lack of open space is a concern though.
There are private schools at reasonable costs so it’s always an option.

Work, kind of a disaster zone in Taiwan. I have a well paid job now and hope never to work for Taiwanese organizations again. Definitely worst thing in Taiwan, poor pay, jealous colleagues, poor management practices, unpaid overtime, it really is awful and number of national
Holidays too few in the year.

Health system generally works quite well at reasonable price.

I’m also not a fan of the climate especially in Taipei which is hot and humid and then goes cold and humid with about two months in the year that are really nice and comfortable.

Taiwan still has great accessible nature nearby the cities which is a big bonus.

Air pollution issues are bad but the same across all of Asia almost except for Japan.

People could be friendlier in Taipei, it’s not the best and not the worst, at least people don’t get in your face here.

It’s not for everybody. That is for sure. But it has plenty of good points too.

I’m a bit concerned about the economic future of my kids though, I won’t lie. We could leave for sure if the opportunity arose.


[quote=“Gain, post:9, topic:155194, full:true”]

Where I come from, such accidents are pretty common. Traffic accidents are the second cause of death. Buses, trucks and heavy machinery go through residential areas. A dear friends’ family was torn apart when a bus driver “tried to scare them for fun”… and threw the bus on them. Would like to tell you that is uncommon but there is an attitude of “I am smarter than you” and “gotta teach you a lesson”. For what or why, I still dunno. Add booze and drugs and heavy trucks in roads meant for an oxcart and that haven’t been upgraded since 1930 and you have a bloodbath every weekend. Most bridges are Bailey’s left by the last US Army incursion… and tend to fall. If you kill or get killed on the roads, justice is for sale.

Kids are especially coveted for kidnappings, either to sell them for spare parts or other nefarious purposes. They simply cannot play outside, where a stray bullet may hit them.


How I see it, this entire paragraph is all personal opinion. You seem to be the only one here that has something against every aspect of Taiwan, but hey, it could help OP see of both ends of the spectrum.

I do have to comment about one thing…hiking sucks? Have you even tried to venture off the main tourist/marked trails? Correct me if I’m wrong, but many hikers do not even consider walking marked staircase steps as hiking.


I want to list a few more grievances just for the fun of it. And let me say first, before anyone poses the brilliant question If you dislike Taiwan so much, why don’t you leave? -I will be gone next year, for the reasons I’ve listed, am about to list, and more. I write all of this for the benefit of the OP, who is considering moving here:

If you drive, you will likely experience feelings of intense road rage every day. When it’s not raining, you will enjoy sweltering heat that is supercharged with intense humidity. As for the nature of Taiwan, most of the rivers are about as interesting as sewers, the clouded leopards have been hunted to extinction, and there aren’t many mammals here. Yes, there are black bears somewhere up there in the mountains (probably missing toes and paws after getting stuck in snares) but many countries have black bears. It’s really not that special. Kenting, Taiwan’s premier beach destination, features a nuclear power plant as well as the ubiquitous concrete box architecture that flowers across the island. No effort whatsoever put into trying to match up the architecture with the natural landscape. The food, in addition to being bland (what is ‘hot pot’ but uncooked ‘lunch box’ food tossed into boiling water?) is unsafe to eat with numerous food safety scandals cropping up in recent years and the perps going unpunished. Pollution is ubiquitous. This is a relatively small island and yet there are thousands of factories -add in Chinese disregard for the environment and you can get the picture. Parents choose what their children will major in when they go to college. Almost no one majors in Art, History, or any Humanities -they take up what their parents tell them to study. It’s pathetic, and this is reflected in the classroom dynamic in the universities. University classrooms are morgues with zombies tapping their smart phones.

Super low birth rate, partly because the locals have lost faith in this place to, as I have. The health care is good (though we’ve experienced some horrible doctors) but good health care doesn’t exactly make a place interesting. Local do not know how to make Western food, and they ruin Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, all the while proclaiming Taiwan’s is the best.

Worst of all, you can feel like you’re stuck in Taiwan.


Taiwan is a place to live and get cheap pay for your time. But there are a lot of lively places for you to spend this money. Dong Chu or Xin Yi Chu have a few department stores there. Night life is great here you can head over to Omni or go to Electro they are both pretty nice clubs here. Taiwan will be able to fulfil most of your needs.


[quote=“Sanchez, post:18, topic:155194, full:true”]
Parents choose what their children will major in when they go to college. Almost no one majors in Art, History, or any Humanities -they take up what their parents tell them to study. It’s pathetic, and this is reflected in the classroom dynamic in the universities. University classrooms are morgues with zombies tapping their smart phones.[/quote]
Not that I love Taiwan or anything but how many parents do you personally know that chose the major of their children and how many university classrooms have you been in?

Except that the birth rate is almost equally low in countries with lots of faith, such as Germany.