Moving to Taiwan: What Expats Should Know

Just off the east coast of China, Taiwan is a bustling sovereign state with a thriving economy. Moving to Taiwan might be a great move for your career but you will have to adjust to a whole new way of life. Taiwan’s culture is very similar to that of Mainland China’s and you will have to careful weigh out what you say and do when you first arrive. Here are a few things that you need to know when you move to Taiwan.

The face

Like China, upholding a person’s dignity and not causing loss of face is extremely important in Taiwanese culture. Especially in the work scenario, it is important that you not lose your cool. If you need to communicate your dissatisfaction over something, it is best you do it in private and carefully measure out your words. For your work to move smoothly, you will have to ensure that you respect this aspect of Taiwanese culture.

Respect the places and households you visit. You will have to remove your shoes before entering homes, tea houses and even some public areas.

Crossing the language barrier

Mandarin is the language most people choose to communicate in. While Taiwanese, Hakka and Formosan are all spoken, it is Mandarin that is preferred. When you move to Taiwan ensure that you learn basic Mandarin, well in advance, and continue to take tutorials when you get there. Otherwise, you may find it very hard to accomplish even simple day-to-day activities. Initially, carry your address around, in Mandarin, so that you can get help easily if you are lost.

Traffic’s a rut

Traffic in Taiwan can be quite unnerving for foreigners. Crossing the streets and driving can be dangerous since people choose to drive around as they please. Many foreigners are taken aback when they encounter a whole family crammed onto one moped. But this is a common sight in Taiwan. The key to moving around is to ensure that you drive at a steady pace and don’t ever take your eyes off the road.

Dinner plans

Taiwan pays the utmost respect to elders at the dinner table. The eldest person at the table is usually the host and will traditionally be served first. Don’t talk shop while dining and also pay compliments about the food. When you are about to finish up, leave some food behind on your plate to indicate that you have been fed well.

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