I’ve lived in Taiwan for 12 years since 2008 when I was an international student from South Africa. Everything in Taiwan is impressive for me. I never regret living in Taiwan; I appreciate many people who help me a lot during these years. However, after the COVID19 pandemic, globalize worldwide let people think, is any other place worth to stay in the long term?
Absolutely Taiwan is NOT Number 1
In 2020, the Taiwan government did the best than other countries to defeat the virus spreading from the International. It made the whole island most safe worldwide; people can eat and travel domestically as usual.
But, unfortunately, it’s begun pandemic since the middle of May 2021 till now, over 15k people got the virus with the positive test result, and 9 hundred people died just in few months.
Obviously, the majority reason is issues of Taiwan government, lack of full epidemic prevention policy planning, and makes tons of none-sense policies for Taiwanese residents.
So, it seems the biggest problem is the Taiwan government, a weakness for the whole of Taiwan.
Time to Balance
However, the pandemic prevention plan is only a part of them. Other factors affect Taiwan’s worth or not lives; these made me think a lot. What if we want to live in Taiwan in the long term?
The most significant is the environment; any policies published by the Taiwan government affect every part of us. But, I think it’s the most severe point for foreigners.
In this article, I’ll be listing 12 reasons why I think Taiwan isn’t a suitable place to make a move to. And as many of you already know, I absolutely love this country and what it’s done for me.
But I think after singing the country’s praises in almost 300 different articles, it’s about time for a bit of balance. So let’s get started:
1. Limited Occupation for Foreigners
First of all, jobs here in Taiwan are limited to either English teaching or short-term engineering contracts. Meaning that unless you’re from an English-speaking country or a fully qualified engineer, you’re going to struggle to find a job in any way other industry.
And even if you are one of the aforementioned qualified engineers, most engineering firms from overseas will have already hired their team, sent them here. Again, meaning that if you’re looking for a job here as an engineer, you probably will struggle to find one. You had been much better looking back in your home countries.
2. Almost Same Grade Paid? Unless You Own a Business
Yes, they are exceptions to the rule in this point and every point I’m going to make today. Of course, there are people in other jobs and businessmen who come and make it successful in Taiwan. But I feel that the numbers of these people are so small. That it’s almost negligible and not worth mentioning.
Now, talking of jobs, career progression in the education industry here in Taiwan for foreigners is absolutely abysmal.
I’ve got several friends, probably a dozen friends that have been here 10, 15, 20 years, and they are still earning the same salary or very similar to the same wage after such a long time for being here, probably even less if you factor in inflation,
Yes, of course, some people are pleased with that kind of life who just want to work, to live and fund their lifestyle. But suppose you are the kind of person that seems to yourself coming here as a teacher and climbing the education career ladder. In that case, the number of people doing that is very, very few and far between.
If you want to progress up the career ladder, my best advice would be to save your money, buy your own school, and make yourself your own boss.
3. Sqeeze Your Income
Again, the third point related to the previous two is that salaries are meager here in Taiwan. So compared two whatever you were probably doing back in your home country, you are gonna need to take a pay cut to come and be a teacher here in Taiwan.
Again, I’m talking about most people here; of course, there are exceptions, but most Westerners coming here find jobs as teachers.
And as you need a degree to qualify as an English foreign teacher here in Taiwan. Likely, most graduates in foreign countries are actually earning more now than they would be. If they came and took the teacher’s average salary here in Taiwan.
4. Most Expensive
Reason number four, Taiwan is the most expensive.
Now, I’ve had this debate many times before with other foreigners, and even with myself when it comes to deciding whether I think this country is actually expensive or not.
Yes, some things are cheaper than they are back in their home countries. Some things are more expensive but related to the previous point of having a pretty low salary unless you are willing to live an effortless and essential lifestyle. You’re probably going to find it challenging to save money at the end of every month.
Especially if, as I just mentioned, you’re one of those graduates that are paying off a hefty student loan back in your home country.
5. Unfriendly Traffic
Now, as you may or may not have noticed, I’ve filmed several of my recent videos in the different parks around Taichung. I like to film in gardens because of my reason for not coming, and it’s pretty simple. The traffic, the traffic is absolutely mental.
Unless you’re coming from a city like Ho Chi Minh or Mumbai or some other place where traffic is absolutely crazy. You’re almost certainly going to be challenged by the driving level and the street account of traffic on the roads here in Taiwan. I’m still not used to it after 12 years of being here.
Yes, I have a scooter, and I have a car. But it’s still something you feel like you are taking your life into your hands every time you get on the roads.
And although I mentioned three hundred of my videos have been positive, one of the only negatives I often mentioned in my article is the traffic. It’s definitely not up to Western standards.
6. You’re Almost a Foreigner
For my next point is, it’s going to seem like an obvious one; that’s going to be the language. Indeed, it’s true for any country that doesn’t speak the same language as you.
And, of course, it can be viewed as an excellent learning opportunity to develop yourself, as I have done with my perfect Chinese.
But all jokes aside, I find that no matter how well a foreigner speaks Chinese unless they get those tones, accents, and pronunciation absolutely perfect. Then, you’re always going to be struggling to communicate in some way.
Or, at the very least, you will be viewed as a foreigner that can speak Chinese and talking of foreigners that can speak Chinese.
7. Not Yet Multicultural
This brings me to my next point: foreigners stick out like sore thumbs here in Taiwan. Anybody that doesn’t look remotely Asian will be identified and treated as a foreigner.
Taiwan is not yet a multicultural country. It’s not like London and New York, where you can’t actually identify if somebody is local or a tourist or an immigrant by the color of their skin.
If you see a white guy and a black guy here in Taiwan, then it’s pretty sure they’re not Taiwanese.
They will be identified and treated as a foreigner. We will always be different here, whether that’s because of our different eyes, skin color, or hairstyles. We will always be judged as foreigners. Even before you open your mouth and say anything or do something that might be to the country of what someone believes.
8. Difference Cultures
Another point I’ve learned recently is that relationships with Taiwanese people are much more complex, just over the past couple of years or so. And more complicated than they would be with somebody who speaks your own language.
I guess this’s true of any international relationship; even two English-speaking countries will have different cultures and values and struggle with communicating.
But I really feel that I’ve had more difficulties communicating with Taiwanese relationships. Taiwanese girls in the past couple of years than I did with any ex-girlfriend or even my wife before.
Even though these Taiwanese girls have spoken perfect, fluent English, I just think it’s not fair. You’re expecting someone to argue or discuss a severe relationship issue in their second language.
9. Too Far Away From Your Home Country
What’s going on with my hair? Time for a haircut because I stayed home for 5 months since the pandemic.
Point nine, I think point nine. Taiwan is really, really far away from most other Western countries. And I know it seems obvious to say that it’s really far away, but it’s not until you come here. And you experience the differences in time zones.
The hugely expensive flights home every time you want to visit family just annihilate your savings. That you genuinely realize that Taiwan is in a completely different part of the world to anywhere we’ve come from before.
And while I definitely recommend everybody to travel and experience another failure at some time inter life.
If you’re the kind of person that gets homesick much too quickly, then perhaps there’s somewhere with a different culture. It’s a little bit closer to your home country that may be better suited to you.
10. Claustrophobic Feeling
At this point, traveling within Taiwan is very limited because it’s an island.
Yes, I’m sure I sound like Caption Obvious with many points in this video. But although Taiwan is fantastic, naturally, with lots of different places to explore, almost endless other locations are forever being investigated by foreigners.
There’s just something about the fact the furthest I can get in my car and drive is a couple of hours north and a few hours south.
That just makes the place feel a little bit claustrophobic compared to my home country. The majority of other countries around the world offer hours and hours or even days and days of driving if that’s something that you wanna do.
Ans even in the U.K., the U.K. being an island, still has the Channel Tunnel. So even if I wanted to, I could get on my car and drive through the Channel Tunnel into Europe and go as far as the eye could see.
But here in Taiwan, you are strictly limited by the geography of the island. So it just gives you that claustrophobic feeling.
I feel so bad talking so many bad things about Taiwan, but we’ve got to do it. We’ve got to have some balance on the blog.
11. The Culture You Never Touch
My penultimate point is going to be absolutely massive once. And that’s culture.
It’s a massive topic. It probably could get its own video, but it involves everything from food, religions, customs, families, and how people interact. But almost anything you can think of is completely different from how it’s back in the West.
You need the OPENNESS of minds; is that a word? The most open of reasons if you wanna come here and be successful and be happy doing it.
Yes, we all say how we love to go and explore and experience other cultures, but sometimes we just wanna have at least some point of reference that links us back to our home country. And as previous points I’ve mentioned, there are many things here that are just difficult to relate to home comforts.
12. Unfriendly Care for Foreigners Out of Work
Now for my final point, I’m gonna talk about social welfare. Yes, the medical health insurance is excellent here. If you are sick, the hospitals, doctors, and nurses will do a green job looking after you at a meager cost.
But if you get sick, break a leg, or cannot work for some reason, social welfare is almost non-existent, and you will be on your own to look after yourself.
So unless you’ve got an overly friendly and generous boss that is gonna pay your salary while you are not working. Or indeed another group of foreigners that can band together and financially supports you as has happened.
Then as a foreigner, out of work, you are gonna be pretty screwed here.
So there you have it, there are my 12 points on why I feel Taiwan may not be the perfect country for some people.
Of course, I’m excepting a fair bit of backlash/disagreement in the comment section so let me have it.
I tried to rush through each point without much justification or explanation of the primary key points. And that was to stimulate a bit of discussion in the comments section.
Hopefully, it worked. Hopefully, you’ve got an opinion on what I said.
What’s My Next?
I married here with my Taiwanese wife; I appreciated everything from Taiwan. However, with the above points mentioned in this video, we were moved out of Taiwan, and now we are in New Zealand.
I just wanna share these points of video with anybody willing to explore and experience the different cultures, food, religions, and others. Then book an air ticket and come to Taiwan as long as the pandemic is over.
This blog will share my experience in Taiwan and the following topics our experience in New Zealand.