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making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

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making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby m1843 » 05 Jun 2016, 20:36

Hello all,

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 :ponder: ........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. :ponder:
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby HenHaoChi » 05 Jun 2016, 23:14

For learning Chinese try Ask Benny, or you can get fair priced one-2-one lessons on Freelancer or Fiverr. There are many English teachers without too much formal experience. You could maybe get a CELTA before you left. Technically you need a degree to teach ( I think...) but a formal TEFL certificate may stand you in good stead in Asia, if you want to move around.

There was plenty of teaching work in KSiung last time I looked, maybe more than in Taipei. The cost of living is lower in the South, but hourly wages are the same as the North. An employer may want to employ you, but the government won't give an ARC without the proper paperwork...

I'm not an expert on the legal aspects of teaching paperwork so maybe someone else knows better.

Good luck, I'm sure you'll find a way.
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby headhonchoII » 06 Jun 2016, 08:18

One route people have gone down is opening a representative office to stay in Taiwan and do some business.
Getting married to a local would also work. There should still be some info on here.

Taiwans visa laws aren't great but they are actually a lot easier than many countries in some ways. It's worse if you are here long term and can't become a citizen.
The degree requirement is what it is..instead of moaning about it (I moan about stuff too) think about if doing a degree would be Useful to you. Also the idea of coming to Taiwan and kicking back...nice in theory but a lot of jobs don't pay well and if you have a family you'd need to earn more bucks to support them. Then teaching more than 20 hours a week is not kicking back.
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby finley » 06 Jun 2016, 09:21

I agree with HH2: it might be worth just doing that degree. There are several universities that do 2-year degrees now (shortened holidays) precisely because a lot of people are doing degrees later in life and they don't want to mess around. He is also correct in that 9-to-5 jobs here are badly paid. There are two ways you're likely to be comfortable here: 1) work for yourself, which will absolutely involve a steep learning curve (Mandarin at minimum) as well as a large-ish investment and 2) work for a foreign company as a contractor, either remotely or in blocks of a few months at a time. Of course there's also a (3) - marry a rich girl - but I wouldn't bank on that ...

If you're really looking to reinvent yourself, I don't see any point coming to Taiwan with a view to doing the exact same thing you've done for the last 20 years. Step outside your comfort zone and do something you really want to do, instead of just something you know you're good at. If you don't know what you want to do, now is the time for a bit of introspection.

Incidentally ... I'm curious why you've had enough of the UK, and why choose Taiwan specifically?
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby m1843 » 06 Jun 2016, 18:10

Thanks for replies

Teaching English is not really the route I want to take, I'm not looking to simply "move around Asia" or earn a quick buck in Taiwan like many of the young kids, for me it seems all too easy to get a mickey mouse degree and a TEFL and away you go! you're all of a sudden a teacher.. lots of school work I have looked at for various families/ kids on my travels through China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal has been of a pretty poor standard and I am frustrated at how simple it is to be able to teach English around Asia, regardless of your attitude or experience. Its a crying shame that so much emphasis is put on getting a degree nowadays (western ideals i feel have driven this journey of blind faith into further education) i see lots of kids in the UK that have endless pieces of paper and qualifications but no skills or life experience to back it up, i can comment first hand as I had people come to work for me who were supposedly qualified on paper but in the real working world (outside of the university bubble) they really couldn't cut it, its a subject very important to me so maybe best to save for another time as its detracting from my questions.

Yes I would like to do something different which is the reason for my post, I'm just considering all business options first and would like feedback from anyone who has actually done it firsthand, not necessarily only read it online or heard, its always good to get it straight from the horses mouth.

I left Europe for some reasons already highlighted above, without going into great detail or opening up a political debate I'm basically fed up with Europe, I'm not inclined to be part of the puppy dog nations of Europe hanging on the shirt tails of the United States. (no offence meant..just my answer to a question and only my personal opinion :hand: )

I'm not pretending for one second that the east has it right, I'm well aware of the problems in Taiwan but for ME I like it here, I know it may not suit others, I'm trying to gather practical information.
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby HenHaoChi » 06 Jun 2016, 18:54

If you didn't want to teach English maybe you shouldn't have mentioned it. Your 1st question was ambiguous and it was hard to tell if you wanted to start off doing that or not. Just don't be the "expat who's better than the local itinerant English teachers." That conversation has been done to death here. Of course, you didn't mean to imply you were better than English teachers. Not at all. I got you all wrong. BTW, your punctuation is terrible. :)

With your skills maybe you could open a representative office. There are people here who could guide you through the legal process. I would just make sure you had a solid proof of your skillset so you could show it to whoever assessed your paperwork. They are more inclined to overlook legal grey areas in the south, but it sounds like you need professional advice.
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby headhonchoII » 07 Jun 2016, 08:45

It's strange that you feel frustrated abut English teachers getting 'easy' jobs in Asia. Teaching English isn't all that easy always and its quite judgmental of you to rail st English teachers. I taught English when I needed to because guess what, I needed the money and it was an honest job and yes the kids got something valuable from it.
After all would you rail at McDonald's workers for selling burgers?
You also railed at many people with degrees and your ex employees.
You've already started moaning about Taiwan , your former dreamland.
You also expressed frustration with both the US and Europeans.
Yes this all proves ....you are a Brit abroad :)

ps how do we know you are not going on Reddit and already complaining about the Forumosans and their poor grammar and fashion tastes?

Pps I'm having a laugh...but you get the picture of what im trying to say.
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby twisosm » 22 Jun 2016, 17:43

Do you need still need help?

PM me if needed.
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Re: making a future in Taiwan...advice and ideas?

Postby Ms Black » 08 Jul 2016, 10:19

Hi I am new here in the forum. I am also interested in working in Taiwan esp owning a food car and going ard Taiwan selling my homemade food...well I think maybe a F&B business might work....maybe u can think through.

Anyone any advise on how I can get started ESP a food car business?
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