Friday, November 05, 2010

Expat Experiences: Taiwan - Dan Chapman, Nangang

Who are you?

I am a guy from the west of England who has lived in Taiwan for more than 15 years. When I started my stay here I was in my mid-twenties; unfortunately, I have now hit the big 40.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

These things rarely have a grand plan – after all it takes some resolve to say I am going to up sticks and move to another country for the rest of my life. I was traveling through Asia and I needed to stop somewhere to earn some cash – and some said to me to go to Taiwan to teach English. I then did what a lot of people did: plan to stay for two years, extend for one more, then another because you haven't actually saved that much money; start to worry you don't know what you will do when you get back so you look for a job in a local company for some business work experience. Another two or three years goes by, you get married; visit the UK in the winter and decide you are never going back.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The usual practice for people coming to Taiwan looking for teaching work is to enter on a tourist visa, look for a school, and let them organize a working visa for you. It might take up to a month to go through this process in which case you have to make sure you have enough money to survive in that time. If you or the school are slow, then you might find yourself having to go to Hong Kong to renew the tourist visa and this is an annoying waste of time and money.

How did you find somewhere to live?

It all comes back to how you arrive in Taiwan – 85% of the expats in Taiwan are English teachers; 10% are English teachers who have moved on from teaching into probably working for a local tech company or are...

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