Why do you like to live in Taiwan?

Since I’m in Taiwan many people have already asked me for the reasons why I like to live in Taiwan. Until now, I already learnt Chinese well and I got married, so what are the reasons that I do not want to go back to Germany together with my wife? The living standard in Germany is higher than in Taiwan.

The first reason is: I doubt that the living standards in Germany and Taiwan are really that different. Of course many people say that Germany is a very rich and powerful country, with a lot of influence in Europe, with famous companies and very good possibilities for studying (basically there is no need to pay tuition for attending school and university). However, finding a job is not easy in Germany and the living costs increase constantly. Germany is a welfare state, which means that the taxes and social security contributions are quite high. This is a really complicated topic, but I would like to provide you the opinion of many Germans: Although Germany is a highly developed country, the life of many people is still not easy, with a lot of stress at work and with worries how to pull through each month. Perhaps 30 percent of all German households have a lot of money, a good job, an expensive car etc. 30 percent of 82 million are 24.6 million, almost the same as the whole Taiwanese population….but what about the others? I personally think if I was considering about going back to Germany right now, I could hardly keep my optimistic attitude on life like I have in Taiwan. Living in Taiwan is definitively also not easy, but I think….even if life is not easy, Taiwanese people still can smile….

The second reason is: I’m a foreigner in Taiwan. The life of a foreigner has some specialties: Your look distinguishes you from most other people (just look, I’m 188cm tall have blond hair and my eye color is blue-green…), when I enter a store, a restaurant etc. I always get the full attention of all people around….which basically is not a bad thing, but sometimes the reaction of Taiwanese people is just too extreme. However, I think that the attitude of Taiwanese people towards foreigners is mostly nice, open and generous. Furthermore I think that Taiwanese people really esteem my abilities, most obvious of course my Chinese ability. Although I sometimes think that people in Taiwan underestimate the Chinese abilities of foreigners (I just say “Hello” to them and they immediately respond with “Hey, your Chinese is really good!”), I quite often take the chance to talk Chinese to them, not caring about that they basically want to talk to me in English, haha. After our conversation many will say “Your Chinese is really good!” once again, but this time it wouldn’t just sound like being polite, but rather sound like real esteem. Such a feeling then is really top-notch!!

The third reason is: I like to experience the life in a foreign country, the language in a foreign country and the culture in a foreign country. Since I was a kid I always thought about living in a foreign country, at that time Spain was my total favorite. :) Now I think that Spain is still pretty close to Germany, so I’m glad that I live in Asia now since life and culture are quite different compared to Europe. I also have been to the US and South America (Bolivia) before, but this special exotic atmosphere I experience the strongest in Asia. But why didn’t I go to China, Japan, Thailand etc.? I think when you plan to turn your life inside out you will need relations….a lot of Germans think of emigrating, but most of them don’t have an opportunity since they don’t know how they should handle things like renting an apartment, finding a job, communicate with the locals etc. To handle everything by one’s own really needs a lot of will power and assertiveness. The reason that I came to Taiwan was not because I especially noticed or liked the life in Taiwan before, the most basic and important reason was simply that I wanted to be together with my Taiwanese girlfriend (and now my wife). If she wasn’t Taiwanese but Japanese or Thai, then I would have gone to Japan or Thailand. :) For westerners these countries are all very special and very interesting, however, I’m happy that I finally came to Taiwan since Taiwan seems to combine the characteristics of the Taiwanese, Chinese and Western culture (just think of the announcements in four different languages in the Taipei MRT)…..not to mention the Japanese influence….to experience this melting pot from the view of a foreigner is really pretty interesting.

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5 Gedanken zu “Why do you like to live in Taiwan?

  1. Interesting concept for a blog.

    I’m from the United States, but I lived in Taiwan for a while, so I can definitely relate–especially to the part about reactions being too extreme. What surprised me most was moving to Los Angeles after living in Taiwan. In comparison to Taiwanese people, I find that most Asian Americans (ABTs) from LA react in an even more extreme/ patronizing way when they learn that I (a non-Asian) can speak or have studied Mandarin. [Thus, I miss the polite esteem I got in Taiwan.]

    Maybe you haven’t gone back to Germany in a while, but I was wondering if you’ve ever compared your experiences with Taiwanese people in Taiwan to your experiences with Taiwanese people in Germany.

    • Very interesting experience, the thing is that I hardly will get into Taiwanese people in Germany since it seems that there is no large community of Taiwanese over there. The only chance to speak Mandarin in Germany so far has been in a small Asian food store with the owner being from China (according to his accent), but well, I just lasted to listen what he was talking with his friend since I guess he didn’t expect that a German could actually understand it.

      All Taiwanese people I met so far, when I went back to Germany for vacation, were people I had already known in Taiwan, thus no surprise for them me speaking Mandarin.

      Nice blog you have. I will definitely check back later. How long have you have been in Taiwan?

      • That makes sense.

        I was only in Taiwan for one year. I love Taiwan, but I didn’t like teaching English (my supervisor was horrible), so I moved back to the U.S. for graduate school. Hopefully, I can go back soon (3 years?), but with more skills so I can (hopefully) get a really good job. If you’re still in Taiwan by then, I’ll definitely look you up. :)

  2. Yea I think with a good degree and a pretty good Mandarin it will be a lot easier to find a job besides the teaching industry. In my opinion, native English speaking editors for journals, books, newspapers or whatever documents are still highly needed. But well, we will see what the future brings, if nothing really outstanding will happen, I will very probably still be in Taiwan in a few years. ;)

  3. I agree with most of what you said about Taiwan. I have been here six years teaching English for all this time at various buxiban/kindergartens. My problem is the fact I have NO benefits or any kind of a retirement plan doing this work. It is really starting to worry me. I have begun to seriously consider going back to Canada with my Taiwanese wife and two children. She has a great job in Taiwan but that does nothing for me. I would really like some thoughts from other teachers who are in the same position. You basically work for hourly pay and that is it. Anytime a school decides they don’t want or need you, they just tell you so. Even if it is a day here or there because the kids are doing something different. You are wanted for your native speaking English and NOTHING else. After six years it is really getting annoying to me. Any thoughts or replies would be appreciated.

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