Hopefully some of you guys can give some advice... i apologise for the long post in advance but maybe it will help people to make judgments on my situation.
I travelled in Taiwan last year for 3 months as part of long term travel (no, im not a naive twenty something backpacker with rose tinted glasses!) Im a 40 year old professional from UK with 20 years experience running my own HGV (trucks-mechanical) business very successfully but due to personal reasons/ burnout and the general cultural,social and economic situation in Europe (another topic!!) I decided to close my business and search for pastures new, so to speak! Now I'm not one to look at countries through rose tinted spectacles, so i try to consider many factors, for example.. environment, cultural differences, climate, economic and political stability etc..
I have done a lot of research, tried talking to many locals in different cities and places around the island so i can try and make an informed decision on possibly building a future here, the hurdles I have encountered so far has really made me wonder if i can make it work
........see below my observations and any feedback or advice is appreciated.
1. Teach English I hear people shout!... one big problem I have is no university degree, i did one year college then an apprenticeship in my family business (old fashioned I know..) it seems frustrating that i can repair 44 ton trucks with a high level of competence and spent 20 years running a very successful business pretty much single handed but can't teach my native language, as a foot note I left school with top marks in English literature and study but did not choose to go into further education and the subsequent debt and employment problems that can follow.. but chose the work and trade/ experience route.. I used to say to my employees that its experience, commitment and willingness to learn that counts, not pieces of paper. It seems the opposite here, not only Taiwan but all around the world?
2. Practical business advice...Most information i can find on investment here seems based on starting a larger company or aimed at corporate/ IT / sales/ technology, I'm thinking maybe of a small business start up, maybe along the lines of my current experience (LGV/ HGV mechanical and electrical repair?) I could raise some capital to start a small business but any feedback on actual practical experience of a foreigner starting up business in Taiwan? I would appreciate any thoughts or advice.
3. Learning Mandarin in middle age!.. This isn't so much of a hurdle but would appreciate any feedback for trying to grasp Mandarin at 40! I'm happy to knuckle down and try to learn the language and would rather maybe study in Tainan or Kaohsiung where I'm less tempted to switch to English and there maybe less rain! The downside is maybe less business opportunities in south? What are my 'legal' work options whilst studying?...Thoughts?...
If you got this far then thanks for reading..I'm not looking for a work around to rules and regulations here and accept that I need to work with the system here in order to build a sustainable future or business in Taiwan, also people ask if I was so successful in the UK then why not go back?....after 20 years of 7 day weeks and 12-14hr days I want a simpler and slower pace of life, I am aware that i will not be a millionaire in Taiwan but I am looking to build a simple and sustainable future here, if i wanted to simply make money then I would go back to the european "treadmill"..
I arrived back in Taiwan this time full of enthusiasm and hoping to enrol on a Mandarin study course full time... but it seems it could be a very uncertain and rocky future for a middle aged, single and non-university educated foreigner in Taiwan! I'm just a bit deflated as I'm willing to invest my skills,time and money here but every turn i take seems to be pretty much a dead-end in the long term.