Will I find myself in Taiwan?

hey everyone,
I’m new to this great forum and this is my first message… WOOHOO!!!.. Well I’m coming to Taiwan in mid-May, and I’m studying at shi-da… so im really really really excited about that… I’m probably gonna stay a year and a half… i can’t wait, this past semester at school has felt sooooo long cause i can’t wait to go… anyways, my question is this… i’m a CBC (canadian born chinese), i’ve grown up in a predominately white area… not that i don’t enjoy it or anything, but i’ve never had a feeling that i’ve really belonged… there’s been active and passive racism against me, but that’s not even the main thing… its just a feeling i have, that there’s some place in the world where i’ll really feel at home… so is Taiwan gonna be that place, or am i just setting myself up for a huge disappointment… are they gonna treat me weird cause i look like them, but im not really… i know i shouldn’t put such huge expectations on this trip, but i want it so badly to go well… i know it well be hard for people to answer this question cause everyone is different, but it would help me out a lot if anyone had any similar feelings and experiences… thanks so much

Yes, it will be good. Most of the locals will think you are cool, and you’ll probably be able to lose your virginity. :wink:

maybe, maybe not. keep an open mind. it seems like a lot of ABCs and CBCs expect to find what they were missing only to find out that maybe they weren’t so lost after all. I’d come expecting nothing and be surprised by how much you find.

Like anywhere else, Taiwan will be, in a large sense, what you make of it. If you put in the effort to live it up to the fullest here, then you should be fine. If not, then you probably will be disappointed. Two things that have helped me get along in Taiwan:

  1. Don’t expect things here to be like home
  2. When things aren’t like home, don’t try to change them because it’ll just frustrate you that much more

Good luck and happy hunting! BTW, welcome to Forumosa! :thumbsup:

My advice would be: After arrival, totally put aside any critical comments from your mind for a minimum of 30 days, and better yet, 60 days. If you have the habit of keeping a notebook or diary, you might want to make some notes during this time. But . . . . . what I am saying is . . . . . avoid making any criticism . . . . and just “go with the flow”. Develop the powers of observation.

At the end of this time period, you may sit down with some other North American or European friends, and review your experiences, and you may find it quite enlightening.

This was my experience. But then, I’m white.

Some hua-chiao do have the experience that you’re hoping for. Others find that they are “foreign” to Taiwan as well. To a large extent, I think we make our own happiness.

“Finding yourself” is a time-honored tradition for people (especially males for some reason) at the cusps between different stages of the life cycle. Sometimes the answer comes in the form of a new religion, a career choice, and/or a spouse. Most of us do grow during our searches, though some would say it’s just because of age, and not the result of doing whatever it was we did.

If your heart likes the idea of coming here, then why not? You have to be somewhere, it might as well be here. Good luck.

Just to reiterate what Richard has just said, people new to Taiwan tend to complain all the time to anyone who will listen. Try not to be a whinge bag when you get here. Yes, it’s polluted, the traffic is chaotic etc etc etc ad infinitum, but it’s really not necessary to gripe about it incessantly.
Before you get here imagine a place which has awful food, unfriendly people, nothing to offer culturally, a nation which sucks in every possible way. Then, when you get here, while a few of those expectations will be confirmed, for the most part you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

A word of caution. Plenty of people come here with the intention of staying for ‘just one year’ and end up making Taiwan their permanent home. :slight_smile:

I went to India to find myself, and succeeded. But we’ve lost touch since then.

Good advice. Its difficult… but if possible, come with no expectations.

Since you’re going to be studying at Shita, I assume you don’t speak Chinese already, or at least you don’t speak it as a native speaker does. So yes, I’d say you will probably be treated “weird” or differently. You will not be accepted as a Taiwanese, any more than we (white kids) are.

That’s not to say that you can’t have a good experience here, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a magical place where everyone gets along and there’s no discrimination. You’ll probably STILL feel discrimination, for example if you try to get English teaching jobs. There is a strong preference for Caucasian teachers as you’ve probably read elsewhere on these boards.

The main thing about “finding yourself” is learning to feel comfortable with yourself no matter where you are or whom you’re with. So in that regard, you might “find yourself” in Taiwan as well as anywhere else. Just try to avoid falling into the trap of coming over for a year and waking up one day at the age of 40 saying, “Shoot, I should have left 10 years ago!”

(Trust me on this one!) :laughing:

Amen, sister. I’ve always been a firm believer that “home is where the heart is,” and once I realized that my heart was firmly lodged in my chest, I pretty much stopped putting so much importance in a physical definition of “home.”

I think its nice to see that what could have turned into a nasty, mocking thread, actually ended up being a bunch of long-termers sharing some real advice. Nice.

Hi Fish,

I hope and believe that you will probably do just fine in Taiwan. However, with all due respect to my fellow posters, I really think it is almost impossible for any of us non-asian looking folks to really know what kind of experiences you will encounter here.
As a white American man, I have generally been treated very,very well by the Taiwanese I have come into contact with. (Granted not everyone has been nice but that is the way of the world). On average, people here are very friendly, so you will probably not have many problems making friends.
You will have to be prepared, however, to accept the fact that some people will want to make friends with you because you can be a free English teacher for them. (It is difficult, sometimes, to know if the person you are friendly with likes you for who you are or what you can give to them. Again, that is the way things are the world over).
If you have never been to Taiwan before, you can expect life to be very different than what you are leaving behind in Canada. However, as others have suggested you do, simply come here with an open mind and try not to complain too much about the differences. (Of course, a little complaining is good in order to blow off some steam).
All in all, I feel that you will do well here and, if your preference leans toward women, I think you should not have much trouble being able to find yourself a nice Taiwanese lady who will definitely help you to enjoy your life here.
I really wish you the best of luck and keep posting so we can all hear how you are doing when you get here.

Remember that if you were born and bred in Canada, your mindset and cultural make-up is Canadian, not Chinese, regardless of what you look like on the outside.
If you seek a sea of black-haired, dark-eyed Chinese-featured people, you will get plenty of that. But remember, inside you are Canadian, whatever that entails, eh? :wink:

Excuse me, but we’re not all white kids, you know. :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

Remember Dorothy.Oz is inside you, man.

through various dissapointments in ones life, you start lowering expectations to lower the chance of dissapointment… when you say you want to find yourself, I don’t really understand that… If it means get in where you fit in, on some “I call you cuz, cause the way we relate” then all the best luck for you… but remeber, this isn’t Toronto where immigration is abundant, your still not one of them