Hello! If you’ve stumbled across my blog, welcome, I’m a 25 year old british girl who moved to Taiwan in March 2020 to teach English. (Yes, my lockdown year has been very different to everyone else!). As a result, I’m sharing my experiences living in Taiwan, we started with the ugly, and now, I’m sharing the best things about being an expat on this sweet, sweet-potato island.
Taiwan is great for the outdoors
A big reason why I chose to teach English in Taiwan was it’s breathtaking landscapes and glorious mountainous zones – you’re truly spoiled for choice here if you’re into hiking and cycling. I live a little out of the city and the waterfall picture above was taken no more than 20 minutes away from my apartment. How awesome is it to say I live here?
And if you’re a water babe, you’re never too far from the coast (perks of living on a small island with a great public transportation system!). So, heading to the beach for the weekend or finally trying surfing is more than doable.
The rent in Taiwan is cheap
Depending on where you’re from in the world, Taiwan can certainly give you more bang for your buck when renting an apartment. There’s a variety of options to suit your budget, if you’re just looking for a room and bed to crash each night, you won’t be spending more than £250 per month. Or, you can totally splash on a luxury apartment in the Xinyi area of Taipei city, if your budget allows.
In New Taipei City, I pay £400 for a modern furnished studio apartment including my water and electricity. You can see a full tour of the apartment and a breakdown of costs.
Eating out in Taiwan
Eating out is the way to fill your stomach in Taiwan, and granted, there is a lot of it. It’s cheaper to have meal at your local night market, where you won’t be spending any more than £5 for several, filling dishes, than it is to be grocery shopping and cooking after a long day at work. There are also many places to eat vegan in Taipei, and I’ve made a full list on my blog post should you ever wish to visit.
Missed the night market? No problem, head to a Family Mart or 7/11 and grab yourself a snack or packet of ramen at all hours of the night. Taiwan is known to be convenient for a reason.
Healthcare in Taiwan is cheap and amazing
Taiwan’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and wildly inexpensive, even without national health insurance. As it takes a few months before your NIH card arrives, I had to visit a doctors in two occasions – once when I had a pretty bad cold and one to gain a perscription for my chronic disease. Both visits were less then £20, and that included the consultation and a bundle of medication.
Because I now pay into National health insurance, I now actually pay less for my medication (including consultation) than the cost of a standard prescription back in the UK. So if it’s any assurance to those with similar chronic diseases wishing to move abroad for a little while, Taiwan might be one of the best places to do it.
Low tax in Taiwan
Now that I’ve officially worked 6 months in Taiwan, I’m now taxed at 4% instead of the 18% I’ve been on for the last few months. On top of that, I will be able to claim the previous months overpay in tax, so it has sort of been a private savings account! This will be a nice top up when I leave for the next country. It sure beats the tax system in the UK.
Taiwan is very safe for women
Like most girls in UK, I felt pretty unsafe to be out and about at night, especially alone. Its the same tale of scurrying home whilst carrying a key between my fingers.
It’s strange that in Taiwan, I’ve not felt the need to do any of that. I think its for various reasons. In general, crime rates are very low anyway, and Taipei pays perticular attention to womens safety on public transportation systems with female ‘safety zones’. Perhaps also that the drinking culture isn’t as strong as it back home, so I’m not worried a slobbery drunken man is going to make me feel uncomfortable on the way home. Additionally, the city seems to come alive in the evenings, with people shopping, eating and exercising late into the night.
There are so many more amazing reasons to travel or move to Taiwan, and it’s a shame Taiwan is still so undiscovered in the TEFL community. Have you visited Taiwan? Let me know what I’ve missed!