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Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Moderator: Tempo Gain

Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby palefire » 23 Jun 2016, 04:58

I lived and taught English in Taiwan ten years ago, enjoying the adventurous, expat life, working hard, partying hard, traveling and acquiring Mandarin. I'm contemplating returning to try it on again, this time older, wiser and more responsible - with a Taiwanese wife (who I met here) and our 2-year old daughter.
I returned to my native Canada in 2007 for family reasons, and since then, got my TESL qualifications but the ESL teaching industry here fluctuates seasonally and I am looking for something more stable after the summer. I have yet to establish myself in the government ESL teaching job I have here, and due to budget cuts and rules of seniority, I have had to take a cut in hours and pay.
My wife works for a Taiwanese-Canadian company here but it's very "Taiwanese" in the lack of benefits and overtime pay here, although her English is good enough that she could work for an international company. To add to this quandary, I recently turned 50, so I have to consider that my age might work against me. Ideally, I would be teaching adults as I did before but the reality will probably involve teaching at a bu xi ban. I have graphic art skills that I've turned into small side businesses here and worked as a freelancer for an ad agency in Taipei before, so teaching would just be the main gig.
My family and I have been back to Taiwan twice i(n 2012 and 2015) for our wedding and to meet her huge extended family, and last year we went back to introduce our daughter to them, so I am no stranger to Taiwan and am very familiar with most (negative and positive) aspects of Taiwanese culture and life, especially in Taipei, but it is more than likely that we would be settling in the Taichung area (free grandparents' daycare).
I have been hearing some pretty sobering reports from different sources that Taiwan's economy has been in a slump for the past decade and that the demand and salary for English teachers has been in steady decline.
Most of what I've been hearing and reading paints a relatively negative picture of work opportunities in Taiwan right now and I'm hoping to get a more balanced perspective on what to expect if we were to decide to return to Taiwan. Like I stated earlier, I am no stranger to the culture and fairly comfortable in it, the only real concerns I have are about my daughter's education. I want her to have a more "western" style education which would involve critical thinking and creative problem-solving. That's for another discussion though.
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby scommy » 23 Jun 2016, 16:53

Being a married guy in Taiwan could be a tad different to your single good ole days there. You may find a fair bit of pressure from your wife's family. Especially if its large, with cousins etc competing with each other trying to gain face and outdo each other. That kind of pressure can wear you down as it is relentless, especially if you are not earning megabucks.

No doubt the economy is down from 2006, as is the birthrate which compounds matters for teachers.

I dunno man. Is there any way you could try Taiwan for a few months, look for work etc, without burning your bridges back home?
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby Charlie Phillips » 24 Jun 2016, 03:06

palefire wrote:I lived and taught English in Taiwan ten years ago, enjoying the adventurous, expat life, working hard, partying hard, traveling and acquiring Mandarin. I'm contemplating returning to try it on again, this time older, wiser and more responsible - with a Taiwanese wife (who I met here) and our 2-year old daughter.
I returned to my native Canada in 2007 for family reasons, and since then, got my TESL qualifications but the ESL teaching industry here fluctuates seasonally and I am looking for something more stable after the summer. I have yet to establish myself in the government ESL teaching job I have here, and due to budget cuts and rules of seniority, I have had to take a cut in hours and pay.
My wife works for a Taiwanese-Canadian company here but it's very "Taiwanese" in the lack of benefits and overtime pay here, although her English is good enough that she could work for an international company. To add to this quandary, I recently turned 50, so I have to consider that my age might work against me. Ideally, I would be teaching adults as I did before but the reality will probably involve teaching at a bu xi ban. I have graphic art skills that I've turned into small side businesses here and worked as a freelancer for an ad agency in Taipei before, so teaching would just be the main gig.
My family and I have been back to Taiwan twice i(n 2012 and 2015) for our wedding and to meet her huge extended family, and last year we went back to introduce our daughter to them, so I am no stranger to Taiwan and am very familiar with most (negative and positive) aspects of Taiwanese culture and life, especially in Taipei, but it is more than likely that we would be settling in the Taichung area (free grandparents' daycare).
I have been hearing some pretty sobering reports from different sources that Taiwan's economy has been in a slump for the past decade and that the demand and salary for English teachers has been in steady decline.
Most of what I've been hearing and reading paints a relatively negative picture of work opportunities in Taiwan right now and I'm hoping to get a more balanced perspective on what to expect if we were to decide to return to Taiwan. Like I stated earlier, I am no stranger to the culture and fairly comfortable in it, the only real concerns I have are about my daughter's education. I want her to have a more "western" style education which would involve critical thinking and creative problem-solving. That's for another discussion though.


You think too much.

You won't be dependent on an employer for your visa status, and won't need a work permit. You can set your rates to what ever you want to match the quality of your work.

You can work in what ever industry you want, whether teaching English to whatever age group, or working in other areas such as marketing and advertising. With your command of languages and graphic art abilities, which you have developed over a lifetime, reaching the age of 50 shouldn't be an impediment to gainful employment. You have gained experience and skills that are valued in the marketplace.

Think positive. You have so many friends here. Taiwan is so friendly. :wink:
OK, it's not a magazine. It's just shit that happens: here. http://news.thewildeast.net
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby Icon » 24 Jun 2016, 15:35

Worse. he will be dependent on his Taiwanese wife. If she is not happy in a semiTaiwanese working enviroment in Canada, she will be miserable here and you OP will be to blame. You wil also be facing strains at work, especially in your selected fields. Add the transformation Taiwanese women undergo when they come back home. Pressure to conform, at the same time expecting hubby to provide for all at a certain level of performance -show off- but being terrified as the foreign hubby's sole support/guidance/dictionary and enciclopedia in Taiwan. In summary, your marriage will face enormeous strains... only compared to the pressure suffered by the Titanic as in sank in the Atlantic. If you ask me, for the sake of your marriage, hell no. This from a woman's perspective.

And that is not even starting to touch the work crunch, your age, the impossibility of getting a pension here, etc.
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby tommy525 » 24 Jun 2016, 16:26

Increasingly I am thinking if you want to do life in any place, you should have citizenship of that place. Protects your rights.

If you want to do life on the rock. You should get TW citizenship. I guess wife and kids already have that.
And if she has a solid career and is much younger then you, that will be great. You would eventually find less teaching gigs as you age / tire out and the wife if she is able to take the brunt of the eco earnings, that will be great too. You can help out with the kids needs and care.

One of the reasons I got a young wife. So eventually she can go out there and bring in the dough and I will man the fort . Of course all sorts of things could happen, she could meet up with a new somebody and I could be left outside the castle, but hey what is life without risks anyways eh?

But to do life in a place, you should have citizenship so you can't get kicked out and make sure there is an economic avenue, health care (great in Taiwan) . As you age you are going to break apart and need health care you can afford.

Need to let others in your family take on more earning while you peter back, err I meant pedal back before you eventually peter out.
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby afterspivak » 24 Jun 2016, 20:19

As I see it, the benefits of being in Taiwan include lower costs (especially in central Taiwan--things have become less and less affordable in Taipei) and lower taxes. Your daughter would pick up Mandarin quickly if this is important to you (no guarantees on the critical thinking/problem solving parts). Health coverage for the most part ranges from good to excellent and, as you will know, it is affordable providing you're not dealing with complicated surgery or long-term care (if so, all bets are off). Good fruit is available year round, but there have been lots of food scandals lately and frankly you'd be dealing with a significant drop in quality of life in terms of air quality, water quality, and food safety.

If you're energetic and committed to setting up a business and working for yourself, I imagine this could work out. But I would also echo Icon's caution about work conditions here, especially for women--low wages unless able to get into the civil service or public system somehow. Given the circumstances you describe, it doesn't seem that this would be the case.

That's my brief assessment. I wonder if others more familiar with life in central Taiwan would also be able to chime in. Headhoncho II, where are you?

Guy
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby afterspivak » 24 Jun 2016, 20:38

I should add one more thing that is specific to coming from Canada. As you may be aware, Canadians are taxed in Canada on 100% of worldwide income. Getting around this requires cutting residence ties to Canada. If you have property in Canada, or a driver's licence, or bank accounts, they may be used as evidence to demonstrate you have retained residence ties to Canada--and are therefore subject to Canada's tax laws. This unhappy situation will however be changing as of January 2017 when an agreement between Canada and Taiwan to avoid double taxation will take effect. So at least there is some good news here!

Guy
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby tommy525 » 24 Jun 2016, 23:46

Countries should not tax people for money made outside their borders.
People should pay taxes where the money is made.
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby palefire » 25 Jun 2016, 12:08

Icon, I'm aware of this sort of transition that Taiwanese women undergo. My wife is starting to show "hover-parenting" tendencies over our daughter whereas I tend to give our little one her space to become independent more. My wife is conventionally Taiwanese in alot of ways but is also fairly resilient, brave and open-minded. She has been living here for almost a decade and has chosen to immerse herself in the culture and language and not isolate herself among her own like so many Asians do when they come here. She's fairly liberal and easy-going compared to her sisters, and has picked up a lot of contemporary ideas and tastes while living here. That said, I noticed how she quickly returned to her role as the dutiful daughter while we were back in Taiwan and how she caved into alot of the family pressures. I realize that maybe if we were to return, living farther away from her family might be the better option. So maybe we would think about the south or Taipei to give us a buffer of distance from the onslaught of family and relatives. I'm also aware that 50 is pretty late to be starting over but I was recently inspired by a co-worke of the same age who has quit his job here to try Taiwan on for size. I don't buy into the adage that it's never too "late" but I think I do have some advantages over my friend in that I speak Mandarin relatively well, I know the island, the food, the customs and the annoyances, and have traveled extensively around it. I am also now a qualified ESL teacher with a decade of teaching here in Canada behind me. The problem right now is that I'm not really getting ahead here. I'm sure it won't be much easier in Taiwan but, still, I am not jumping into a complete unknown either.
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Re: Thinking of Moving Back to Taiwan

Postby tommy525 » 25 Jun 2016, 14:50

As long as you are for it and not just your wife. Then sounds like a good plan . Jump in , the waters warm.
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