Taiwan or Not Taiwan???

 

That was our question last week.. Now here is our answer.

So we set off on another unknown adventure to travel and work in Taiwan. If you know us we are always pretty relaxed with our plans and although we planned to come to Taiwan and stay for a year we had no idea what it was going to be like or how it would turn out. Obviously we researched something’s but when traveling we don’t like to research too much and then you have expectations of what a place should be like based on other people’s opinions. We prefer to go and see for ourselves and make our own minds up. Unfortunately, we are saddened to say in our opinion this country didn’t have the wow factor for us. It’s the first time we’ve ever felt like this about a country as we usually fall in love with all the quirks and cultural differences.

So a week into our trip we had huge decision to make. Should we hang out here for a year as planned? Yes, if we stay we could potentially grow to love it but the vibes we have had about Taiwan there is something unsettling about signing up for a year in somewhere we are unsure we really like. We are so glad we went Taiwan because if we didn’t go we would never know what it would have been like. Rather than wondering for the next 20 years, what is Taiwan like? Imagine we lived in Taiwan what would our lives be like now? It’s an amazing country and I’m sure the lifestyle suits many people but just not for us at this point in our lives.

So plan B it was {always have a plan B} We thought of many places and after considering all of our options we choose to go home! Currently we are at Taipei airport after a lovey 3week holiday heading back to Glasgow. So after 4 years of being on the road and figuring out how to travel and work on the road we come to the other-side of the world to realize that in this point in our lives we actually want to be in bonnie Scotland!

You may think 3 weeks wouldn’t be enough time to see a countries full potential and you are probably right! Our instinct was telling us not to stay so we choose our own happiness and have some amazing opportunities lined up at home. We like to take risks and this time Taiwan didn’t work out but it has given us time to focus on what we want from life and how we are going to get there. We are grateful for all of the experiences and lovely people we have encountered on our trip. We don’t regret any part of our move and we managed to tick of country number 31.

IMG_0788

Where will 32 be???????  Guess in the comments below!

 

Here are some of the reasons we were finding it difficult to settle in Taiwan.

Visa

We arrived on a 90day tourist visa to give us time to decide which visa was best for us. The working holiday visa only allowed us to work for 6months in the one job and all jobs wanted a one-year commitment. A work permit had to be applied for by an employer. So we had to find a suitable job willing to hire us without English teaching experience or a university degree.

Jobs

Jobs being offered online at home seemed to be few and far between. They preferred experienced English teachers with American accents. Whilst on a job trial I was asked to adopt an American accent. This would have proved difficult as we are who we are and shouldn’t have to act like something we are not. Most contracts available were low hours which would result in low pay. As we arrived after July the 30th we would have to pay an extra foreigners tax. We decided the jobs were not worth taking on a year commitment as we had better prospects at home.

Education System

As I am used to working in Early Years in Scotland where a child centred approach is taken and our day revolves around free play it was difficult to see 3-4 year olds in proper classrooms with only 2x20mins play for a full day at school. The children were very advanced and the schools seem to work with parent’s expectations instead of the children’s needs. I was told that children in your class may find it difficult as when parents are questioning about their progression, instead of supporting the child they move them up to a higher class to keep the customer {sorry parent} happy. It is currently illegal for a foreigner to work in a kindergarten in Taiwan because the government don’t want young children to learn English. As these schools a run on profit and the parents demand their child to learn English it then creates an educational black market. Being a foreigner they would put your visa through another school and then if there were inspections you were to hide or run off the premises, if you were caught you could be deported. We definitely weren’t that desperate for jobs to be any part of this system.

Apartments

To rent an apartment you need to have ARC residency permit which couldn’t be offered without a job. Also as a foreigner we would pay higher rates of rent which again which would have made it more difficult to save.

Beaches

We did assume there would be beautiful white sandy beaches. Taiwan is just across the water from the Philippines right? While this is the location the beaches don’t meet up to its neighbouring countries standards. There are some nice beaches in the south and almost none in the north. The black sand city beaches had an out look onto the many shipping containers used for import and export, no beautiful horizons to be seen!

Food

We were hoping to live a healthy lifestyle and have an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. We found it difficult to find a decent portion of vegetables with food. This was partly our fault because mostly all menus were in Chinese and even when we order food with vegetables or pointed to a picture it would come with one floret of broccoli or a chopped spring onion. A lot of the food was fried seafood or meat and the vegetarian meals were served with tofu and under half a portion of veggies. There were many fresh fruit shops but to find vegetables you had to find a supermarket. These were few and far between even in the city, you would pay a premium price. We bought ingredients for a stir fry and spend around £20, this done us 2days but we could also buy meals on the street for under £2

 

Language Barrier

Our mandarin phrasebook has not been touched! free to a good home ha ha.. We know the language barrier is our fault, we love our lost in translation stories from all over the world. We are not the type of people that think everyone should speak English. It was going to imagebe extremely difficult to learn Chinese, before we left Scotland we already admitted we wouldn’t be able to read or write it. We know how to say hello, thank you and goodbye. We were lucky to encounter many friendly people willing to help us, trying their best to speak English which we really appreciated in restaurants, the library, buses ect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Taiwan or Not Taiwan???

  1. Taiwan’s loss will be Scotland’s gain. Nicola, Early Years need people like you ! Chris , you will find a job easily with your skills.
    Having lived abroad for so many years I didn’t know how I would settle again in Scotland, but settle I did and still enjoy travel. You can do it too!

    Like

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