I’m really excited to write this week’s post because as some of you may know, I’m planning to move to Taiwan at the end of this year, corona and God willing. I’ve been in love with this little island ever since I visited in 2015 for a three week Mandarin programme in my sophomore year of high school. It’s quaint, yet busy— tropical and yet temporal. It’s this little cosy pocket space in Asia that provides all sorts of melting pot experiences and it is opening its doors to the world!
The Incentive to Live in Taiwan
I could go on forever about why I love Taiwan and why I recommend going there— AND I WILL. This post will only scratch the surface of all the amazing parts of living in Taiwan. This isn’t a blog about Taiwan or China, so you can trust me for objectivity (maybe lol) and of course, as I go and live in Taiwan later this year, I plan to update this post and others going forward. Here are my top 5 reasons to consider moving to Taiwan at least once in your life:
Taiwan is an insanely affordable first world country! I experienced this first hand, and honestly felt so comfortable and not at all worried about my pocket, even as a high school sophomore!
Taiwan’s 24-hour culture - Something I got extremely spoiled with when I was living in Japan and Korea is the 24-hour culture. Sometimes, I just need food delivered to me at 12AM, or I need to go down the road for a Strong-Zero. Right now, I’m living in Sweden which has the exact opposite culture and things close very early. I respect both ways, but I do think that everyone should really experience 24-hour living at least once in their lives!
The safety! - Taiwan is rated as one of the safest countries in the world and there are very few ‘bad’ neighbourhoods. It’s a great place for solo travel, even for women, LGBTQIA+ or racial minorities. In fact, Taiwan is the only Asian country in the world where gay marriage is legal! Wooo!! I travelled there at 16 and even had my first ever experience with alcohol all by my lonesome, and it was nothing but a positive experience.
The FOOD - Bruh. I don’t need to say much about this but, let me just say two words: DELICIOUS and AFFORDABLE. The baozi are the size of my hand-span and cost less than a dollar ;x;
Taiwan is a place rich with culture - Taiwan is booming with all sorts of cultural experiences, museums and nature. If you’re the kind of person who really enjoys getting immersed into your host country’s way of life, Taiwan is definitely a spot for you.
Recently, in addition to the general niceties in Taiwan, the government has also been working to accommodate more foreigners. In late 2021, Taiwan announced a new national goal to intake over 100,000 new foreign professionals as a part of a greater goal to modernise and globalise Taiwan. This is following the implementation of a new amendment to the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professional Talent. This amendment does quite a bit for foreigners hoping to eventually work or spend substantial time in Taiwan. Here are the details of the changes, sourced from Taiwan News (2021):
Expanded definition of foreign special professionals. The eight professional fields covered in the original law have been expanded to include national defence and the opportunity to apply for a special case review.
Relaxed requirements for job seekers. Fresh graduates from the world's top universities, as designated by the Ministry of Education, will no longer be required to have two years of work experience to apply for "specialized or technical work" in Taiwan.
Shortened criteria for permanent residence. The continuous residence requirement for foreign special professionals to become eligible for permanent resident status will be lowered from five years to three and can be further lowered by one year for those who have obtained a master's or doctoral degree in Taiwan.
Tax incentives. Tax deductions for foreign special professionals will be extended from three to five years. Over this five-year period, foreign special professionals with an annual income of NT$3 million (US$107,000) or higher can deduct half of their salary from their gross income calculation when assessing taxes.
Health care. Foreign special professionals and senior professionals who are employers or self-employed business owners, along with their dependents, are exempt from having to wait six months to be eligible for the National Health Insurance system.
To help with the recruiting of foreigners as a part of this bill, several committees have also been formed. Areas that these committees focus on include education, employment, matching companies with job-seekers, establishing ties with industry, and cooperation with financial institutions and corporate organizations. The NDC is also working on accelerating administrative measures to enable the foreign community to have a better interface with the government.
Study Opportunities in Taiwan
Taiwan has several government-sponsored programmes, as well as generally low-cost programmes that you could apply to (and the deadlines are coming up!) Here’s a compilation of all the programmes I know about, and links to more information about them.
1. Taiwan Scholarship by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan (MOE, open to most countries) ”The Taiwan Scholarship Program is designated to encourage promising students from foreign countries to pursue their degree studies in Taiwan to familiarize themselves with the academic environment in Taiwan and promote communication, understanding, and friendship between Taiwan and the international community. For those students interested in studying in Taiwan, they may choose to pursue their degree with English as the primary language of instruction or in Chinese.” Scholarship Benefits Tuition and miscellaneous expenses of up to NTD 40,000 each semester and a monthly living allowance of NTD 15,000 or NTD 20,000. for Bachelor’s degree (4 years scholarship), master’s degree (2 years), or doctorate degree (4 years). Find out more here: https://english.moe.gov.tw/cp-24-16833-23C09-1.html https://taiwanscholarship.moe.gov.tw/web/pages.aspx?p=7
2. MOFA Scholarship (Similar to Taiwan Scholarship but better benefits for countries with foreign relationships only) The Scholarship is, in principle, granted to students from countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, special consideration may also be given to students from other countries.
The pre-degree Mandarin Language Enrichment Program (LEP): Recipients may take the LEP for a maximum of one year at Mandarin-teaching institutions (hereinafter “Mandarin Training Centers”) affiliated with a university or college accredited by the Ministry of Education.
Degree programs: Recipients may apply for admission to any degree program leading to an undergraduate, master or doctoral degree, excluding in-service programs.
Scholarship Benefits Scholarship recipients will be given a monthly stipend of NT$25,000 for the LEP and NT$30,000 for degree programs. Recipients are responsible for all expenses during their stay in Taiwan. MOFA will not provide any other subsidies. MOFA will, however, provide recipients with one-way, economy-class plane tickets for direct flights to and from Taiwan. Find out more here: https://en.mofa.gov.tw/cp.aspx?n=A5C28AD214C3FD7C
3. Huayu Enrichment Programme “To encourage international students to study Huayu (Mandarin Chinese) in the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Ministry of Education (MOE) has established the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES). HES scholarship may be used to take 2-month summer courses or 3-month, 6-month, 9-month, year-long courses. They provide a monthly stipend of 25,000 NTD.” This is also a pre-degree mandarin programme like the LEP but for other scholarship recipents. **APPLICATION PERIOD IS BETWEEN FEB 1st - MARCH 31st (but varies by the consulate) For more information: https://taiwanscholarship.moe.gov.tw/web/pages.aspx?p=7 https://english.moe.gov.tw/cp-24-24284-3ea37-1.html
4. The Taiwan ICDF Scholarship - ((nb: this isn’t available to Jamaicans or United States persons)) Click here to see the full list of countries eligible ”International education and training have long been one of the TaiwanICDF’s core operations, among many others. Human resources development programs play a vital role in assisting partner countries to achieve sustainable development, and education is a crucial mechanism for training workforces in developing countries. The TaiwanICDF provides scholarships for higher education and has developed undergraduate, graduate and PhD programs in cooperation with renowned partner universities in Taiwan.” Scholarship Benefits: The TaiwanICDF provides each scholarship recipient with a full scholarship, including return airfare, housing, tuition and credit fees, insurance, textbook costs and a monthly allowance.
5. Short Term Research Award ”The Ministry of Education Short Term Research Awards (STRA) is offered to international scholars (not including scholars from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao) to encourage them to undertake short term research in Taiwan, and at the same time increase their understanding of Taiwan’s culture and society, and promote mutual understanding and interaction between Taiwan and the international community. MOE Short Term Research Awards are available for a period of between 2 and 6 months. Scholarship Benefits: Each award provides:
a monthly research allowance of NTD $25,000 for a PhD student.
a monthly research allowance of NTD $40,000 for a postdoctoral fellow.
an economy class round-trip airfare for the most direct route between their place of residence and Taiwan.
6. MOE APEC Scholarships “The Ministry of Education Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Scholarships—MOE APEC Scholarships—are offered by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan to encourage young scholars from APEC member economies to undertake research in Taiwan and provide them with opportunities to increase their understanding of Taiwan's culture and society, to promote mutual understanding and interaction between Taiwan and APEC member economies. MOE APEC Scholarships are available for a period of 2 to 6 months.” Scholarship Benefits:
A round-trip, economy-class airfare to and from Taiwan by the most direct route (the maximum amount available is determined by the MOE
PhD candidates receive a monthly research allowance of NT$25,000
Post-doctoral fellows receive a monthly research allowance of NT$40,000.
7. Elite Study Programmes (Asia cohort) There are quite a few scholarships under this heading specifically for different Asian nationals. Check out more information on it here: https://www.studyintaiwan.org/esit
8. Other University Specific Scholarships There are also many university-specific scholarships. If you’re planning to study abroad and are already enrolled in a school, I’d check with your study abroad office and see what opportunities are available also. Often, there may be a sister school or option to create your own study-abroad package. Here is a page with a full listing of university scholarships available in Taiwan: https://www.studyintaiwan.org/search/sches?degree=-1&field=0&subject=0&continent=0&country=0&school_name_en=
Work Opportunities in Taiwan
Honestly, I don’t know a whole lot about this area of living in Taiwan, but I’m going to compile the information I do know and have heard about. If you have any insights and would like to contribute to this post, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on social media (@raes_tea) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to learn more about this as I interact more with Taiwan as a space and community ✨
Most of the professional jobs for foreigners in Taiwan would be posted at multinational corporations that have stations in Taiwan as of 2022. This is because of the language barrier, but it’s quite possible sometime in the future, more jobs in English will open. Teaching English English teaching jobs on the other hand are in high demand, both in private academies and in Taiwanese schools. Depending on the school and the type of school, you will be required to be a native speaker— or not. Some schools also require you to have some certification, like TEFL but these schools often sponsor your training process also. Most schools do require you to have a bachelors degree. Here are some notable programmes:
TEEP’s TFETP - there are specific teaching and teaching assistant programmes here that are also quite attractive. Here’s an email a friend sent me with some inside deets: Foreign English Teaching Assistant
Scholarship or Salary The program provides a teaching assistant with a monthly scholarship or salary of NT$45,000. Additional benefits involve residential, transportation, and other reimbursements, as apportioned on a monthly basis with base salary.
Airfare Allowance The program offers reimbursements every school year of one’s economy class airfare of coming and leaving Taiwan (one time for each). The reimbursements are on an actual expense basis and are capped at NT$40,000/one-way. Only flights departing from or arriving at the nearest airport to the place of residence indicated on one’s passport can be reimbursed.
Housing Allowance The contract school should offer a housing allowance if accommodations cannot be provided. The housing allowance should be reimbursed on an actual expense basis and capped at NT$26,000 for each school year.
Learning Allowance The program offers a monthly learning allowance of NT$5,000 for assistants to take TESOL or CELTA courses.
Transportation Allowance The program offers a transportation allowance. The transportation allowance should be reimbursed on an actual expense basis and capped at NT$3,000 for each school year.
Health Insurance and Group Accident Insurance/Labor Insurance Health insurance are provided along with group accident insurance or labor insurance. more info: https://tfetp.epa.ntnu.edu.tw/en/tfetp/web/eligibility
About TEEP (not just English, wow!)
In 2015, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education launched the Taiwan Experience Education Program (TEEP) to encourage more international students to participate in short-term professional internship projects organized by Taiwanese universities and colleges. TEEP also allows international students to gain an in-depth educational experience in Taiwan, while also preparing themselves for the Asian job market. TEEP organises short term professional and research internship programs for 500+ outstanding international youths to experience Taiwan’s quality higher education and make personal connections in the Asian job market. TEEP programs are also available in emerging fields such as Information Communication Technology (ICT), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain Technology, Semiconductors, 5G Wireless Communications, Advanced Manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing, Robotics, Green Energy, Biosensors, Logistics Management, Molecular Biology and Smart Health Care, as well as Mandarin Language Training or Cultural Experience Courses. This could be an exceptional option to get experience in your field and in Asia. Check out more information here: https://teep.studyintaiwan.org/programs
Where can I look for jobs?
I’ve heard a lot of foreigners have found their jobs in the newspapers, but I don’t know if that would be very helpful to my audience, as I imagine most of you are not currently in Taiwan. Here’s a list of job-posting portals where you can potentially find a job in Taiwan!
www.tealit.com/ http://tw.jobsdb.com/tw http://taiwan.xpatjobs.com/ www.careerjet.com.tw/jobs-in-taiwan-84119.html http://jobsearch.monster.com.hk/searchresult.html?loc=253 https://www.instajobasia.com/job-list
Woooooo! This post took forever. But I did notice quite a lack of consolidated information and I hope this post will help out anyone in need of quick links to good, solid information on how to get their butt to Taiwan. If you liked this and want to know about other kinds of opportunities in Taiwan or somewhere else in the world, join the newsletter below or follow me on social media to know when I post something new. I will be updating this post from time to time with whatever new intel I get, as well as I plan to create a post that outlines other bloggers that tell you what’s up with Taiwan. Feeling generous? Buy me a coffee here.