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5 Tips for Living in Taiwan

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Cigna Global Health
Cigna Global Health

Expats living in Taiwan enjoy beautiful scenery, rich culture and challenges specific to the cultural distance from American and European countries. Find out some key tips on how to settle in to Taiwan.

Expats in Taiwan will find a country that has very friendly people, rich culture and a safe environment in which to live.

Expats Find the Taiwanese to Be Very Friendly

One expat in Taiwan reported that the Taiwanese are a "gentle spirited people who are often willing to help me." Another expat added that "everyone here is extremely friendly and helpful."

Language Can Be A Barrier For Expats

Expats regularly comment on the impact that language has on expats. One expat in Taiwan commented that "there is quite a language barrier if you don't speak any Mandarin," which is the official language of Taiwan. Other languages used locally include Taiwanese Hokkien and Hakka Chinese.

Taipei Has Incredible Cuisine

Expats will find that Taipei has amazing food, and it's not just limited to Chinese food.

The New Taiwan Dollar (TWD) Is The Currency

The New Taiwan Dollar replaced the Old Taiwan Dollar in 1949. You will commonly see it abbreviated as NT$.

Etiquette And Cultural Tips

Many of the same etiquette rules in China apply in Taiwan. One shouldn't point with one finger at people - avoid pointing but use your full hand if you must. Take off your shoes when you go into someone's house. People will think it's odd if you want to split the bill - either pay the entire tab or allow someone else to do it and take turns. Over the course of the of Expat Exchange's history (over 18 years), these have been constant and reported regularly. That being said, there is a concept called Taiwanization. This relates to a local movement interested in establishing a culture that is distinct from mainland Chinese culture. So there is some flexibility but it is always best to play it safe while you are settling in and you get a sense of what is important to those you work with and friends you are trying to make.

Rail Transportation In And Around Taipei And Beyond

Expats will find the rail transportation in Taiwan is very convenient. It has both high speed rail and regular train lines. As with most countries, the further you get away from the larger cities the less convenient it gets.

Expats Have International School Options In Taiwan

Taiwan offers expats several possibilities in terms of international schools. Taipei American School is often cited by expats as a good option, as is Taipei European School. Expat Exchange has several Taiwan International School Reviews.

Taiwan Society Highly Respects Its Elders

Respecting elders is very important to the people of Taiwan, and this is something expats should be aware of when sitting down to dinner, beginning to eat and in other social situations. Some have suggested this is becoming less prominent with younger generations, but it is wise to maintain these formalities - especially when doing business.

Taiwan Enjoys Low Crime

The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs' Taiwan Country Information Sheet advises that expats "should avoid high crime areas, namely areas where massage parlors, barbershops, and nightclubs operate as covers for prostitution, and are often run by criminals." Petty crime does occur, such as purse snatching, so it's important to

Driving and Traffic Can Be Frustrating - But Travel Is Exciting

One expat wrote that she had experienced "frustration, most definitely, usually because of language or traffic issues... Travel around Taiwan--even day trips--helps me gain renewed appreciation for my adoptive country. Driving and being around cars can be dangerous in Taiwan, so preparing for this is critical.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Cigna Global Health
Cigna Global Health

Cigna Global Health
Cigna Global Health


Jul 22, 2015 05:04

Taïwan is really beautiful ! I recommend it!

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