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Considering moving the family to Taichung

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Bwin235
5/6/2017 19:12 EST

My wife and I both work full time and considering taking expat assignment in Taichung. We've never been to Asia, and never lived outside the US. We have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. We will both be working full-time. Looking for any advice pro/con. We think it would be a good opportunity, but our kids are our #1 priority. Should we even do it?

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meyers66
5/7/2017 00:04 EST

Hi
I've lived in Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties for 20 years. Taichung used to be my favorite city in Taiwan. The problem is the lack of traffic planning over the past 10 years. Watch google Maps traffic for yourself. The main boulevard is gridlock a lot of the time. So live walking distance from your work. Also consider how much you'll save for the comparison. If you live low you'll save a lot - I bet. Your wife needs to flush out advice from other women. Happy wife happy life. Check Forumosa.com just my .02.

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meyers66
5/7/2017 00:04 EST

Hi
I've lived in Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties for 20 years. Taichung used to be my favorite city in Taiwan. The problem is the lack of traffic planning over the past 10 years. Watch google Maps traffic for yourself. The main boulevard is gridlock a lot of the time. So live walking distance from your work. Also consider how much you'll save for the comparison. If you live low you'll save a lot - I bet. Your wife needs to flush out advice from other women. Happy wife happy life. Check Forumosa.com just my .02.

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Bwin235
5/7/2017 21:54 EST

Thank you for your input!
I also appreciate to referral to the other forum. It looks more active.
Thank you for your help!

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dukethemasterbeagle
5/9/2018 02:20 EST

A little bit of background on me to bring some perspective into my answer: Moved to Vancouver when I was 8 from Taichung, came back every summer, and now I live in Taichung, I'm around 20ish.


Housing: It's quite affordable here depending on where you live. Based on your situation the company will probably set you up somewhere, so I won't elaborate on this.

Parks: This is the part I really found different than Canada and the States. There are a ton of parks in Taichung, compared to other Taiwanese cities. The parks range from small to large, from ones with ponds to grassy hills. Taiwanese parks are mainly used by families and elders. You won't find a lot of young people hanging around the park, and it is used more as a place to exercise rather than relax. However on weekends you'll find the parks filled with families having picnics!

Food: No problem here. Everything from street food to high end dining. From a western budget, you could easily afford organic produce at the high end stores. By the way, street food does not mean low quality or bad in any sense. Taiwanese people love convenience, so street food is a quick and most often cheap way to get meals cooked by masters in their craft. Also, you'll find a lot of specialized food here, where one shop might focus just on a region of China, or just make 1-2 dishes but have them be amazing. Aside from regional cuisine, I was also thoroughly impressed with the amount of international cuisine here. As Taiwan has been occupied by the Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese, you'll find a selection of cured hams, craft beers (OMG there is so much here it's absolutely amazing) that will totally jump out at you and make you wonder whether you're back in the states. Fruits are king here. Being in a tropical climate, we can grow fruit and veggies year round (meaning that you'll find a lot of local produce from small farmers here). Farm to table has existed in Taiwan for over 50 years. before it became a phenomenon in the Canada and the States, it's not new or hip, it's just how it's always been.

Air: Something foreigners don't anticipate when coming here is the air quality. It can range depending on the day, but most of the time the air quality is not great. Just search up "Taichung AQI' to see the air quality forecast and see some historical numbers for yourself.

Transportation: Bus services are on time and they can get you to most places in Taichung. We also have a city bike program called u-bike. One thing though is that there aren't really any bike paths in Taichung, so just be careful riding along the cars and scooters. Also cars don't really respect pedestrians crossing, so just be careful. Access to other parts of Taiwan is great. Since we are centrally located taking the high speed rail (sort of like our national railway system with trains that go really fast from city to city e.g. driving to Taipei takes two hours, taking the high speed rail takes 30 mins) is really convenient, the Japanese also built great railroad systems (for traditional trains!) so there really isn't anywhere where it's hard to access (the views along the way are to die for). Also, go on google maps and check the satellite picture of Taiwan, see how our cities are all along the edges and most of the center of Taiwan is green? That's because a lot of our geography is actually protected forest land. Hiking and camping is very easy and fast to get to in Taiwan, and if your family craves the outdoors, it is a fantastic place to live. Just fair warning through that the trails aren't maintained as well as in Canada or the States.

Get a Easy Card if you do come! It's a card you can store with money, and can be used at convenience stores, public transport (bus, train). It is literally the bus pass, train pass, and a 'debit card' all in one (I use debit loosely because it isn't accepted in all places, but just convenience stores alone is a good enough reason to buy one (only NTD $100; $3 US).

Religion: Very diversified. Mormons, Christians, Taoists, Buddhists... etc, your beliefs will be respected here and there are no religious riots because there is just so much diversity that people have to respect one another.

Education: There are a number of private and public schools in Taichung. I would say the best (funded) school are American Schools, where wealthy Taiwanese families and expat families send their kids. The main difference to note when compared to the States is that private does not mean better. A lot of the times, public schools are more well-funded than private schools, and so it really also depends on where you live which in turn determines your school district.

Healthcare: BEST Friggin health care system I have ever experienced. Once you are enrolled in our National Healthcare system, going to the doctor for a checkup only costs $100-150NTD (Around $3-5) US (that applies to all types of doctors: chiropractors, family doctors..etc; hospitals are more reserved for emergency stuff, and the cost is different)and there are also a LOT of clinics, they're really fancy too, like the offices genuinely feel like a great place to be in compared to the dark grey offices of doctors in Vancouver :P) A lot of the medicine is also heavily subsidized by the government, so most often if I have a fever and go to the doctor, I pay $100 (includes checkup and medecine), get evaluated by the doctor, and walk out with the drug in less than 20 mins). And you can get the drugs in the clinic as opposed to in Vancouver, where I have to take the doctors prescription to a pharmacy (it's all about convenience in Taiwan).

I would highly suggest, as it is approaching summer, to take the wife and kids to Taichung, and other cities in Taiwan just for fun. It's very hard to imagine Taiwanese life if you're not here. It's also different in the sense that Taiwan is really a place where if you don't dive in, you'll still be able to live really well. But if you dive in, learn some mandarin, you'll find that the people are friendly, and there is so much more than you could've ever imagined. Let me know if you have any questions! I love talking to people about Taiwan (and Taichung!).

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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 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 Taiw...

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