Taiwan is one of the best places for expats to live in the whole world. It can be easy to enjoy your life here. However, sometimes differences in the culture, food, people, and environment can get you down. Therefore we have listed some advice for expats so that they can live their best life in Taiwan and enjoy every moment here.
Let's get started with the list.
1. Get used to Taiwanese food 習慣台灣的食物
As a foreigner, you naturally will not be used to some of Taiwan's traditional dishes. You may not want to try new flavors or textures of food, but if you do you will not regret it. Learning to love the food in Taiwan will make your life so much more enjoyable and happy. Push yourself to try new foods and give yourself time to acquire new tastes.
2. Learn Chinese, and have fun doing it 快樂地學習中文
Going around as a foreigner who doesn't know any Chinese in Taiwan is a lonely and sad task. However, after you start learning the language, you can make new connections with people, and make life easier for yourself. Learning Chinese doesn't have to be a dull chore. Memorizing words is important, but more important is finding friends to practice Chinese with you, so that you can pick up more words naturally and learn how to use the words you have been memorizing.
3. Leave Taipei 離開天龍國
Many foreigners think of Taiwan only as Taipei. But the best places in Taiwan are outside of the capital. For instance, two thirds of Taiwan is covered in beautiful mountains. Down south, there are also more historical sites, natural wonders, and wide open spaces. When you go explore the entire island, you will realize just how amazing Taiwan is.
4. Visit one of Taiwan's outer islands 去台灣的外島
Taiwan's outer islands have the best water, the best beaches, and are the most fun. Each of Taiwan's outer islands is a world class vacation destination. Check out our full guide to Taiwan's outer islands here.
5. Stop complaining 不要再抱怨
Life is full of its ups and downs. You can choose to dwell on the negative aspects of life or choose to take a more optimistic approach. Taiwan is the same. If you constantly whine and complain about life in Taiwan, your life will just be full of sadness and negativity. It's okay to try to improve problems in Taiwan, but don't make it your life's sole focus. If you want to be happy in Taiwan, focus on what you love about it and why you want to stay here.
6. Make friends wherever you go 到處交朋友
Forging friendships and making new ties wherever you go will help you not only be more happy but also help you open new doors and find success in your career and life goals. Try to be friendly and take genuine interest in others. You will find more satisfaction in life that way.
7. Leave a positive impact online 在網路上留下正面的影響
Sometimes it can be easy to hide behind a keyboard and post mean and nasty things online. Don't be that person. There are real people on the other side of that screen, and your words can really hurt people. Online is actually still real life and can have real life consequences. Treat people with respect and dignity however you interact with them, and you will be happier as a result.
8. Give the benefit of the doubt 假定某人無辜、姑且相信
You are in a foreign country, so there are lots of things that you don't understand. Most of the time, people are not out to get you. If you assume someone is talking behind your back or has bad motives, most of the time you will be wrong, and you will end up looking like an idiot and offending others. The best practice is to assume innocence and show kindness; this way you will always end up on top.
9. Focus on ways Taiwan is better than your home country 專注在台灣的好處
As a foreigner in Taiwan, there are endless comparisons you can make between Taiwan and your home country. But if you want to live a happy life in Taiwan, you should focus on the ways that Taiwan is better than your home country. Like how Taiwan has Mango Ice and your country doesn't. Otherwise, you might just end up a homesick loser.
10. Make a blog/vlog and share your experiences as a foreigner in Taiwan 做一個部落格來分享你身為外國人的經驗
As a foreigner in Taiwan, you have a unique perspective compared to most people in the world. You have the power to build bridges between your home country and the people of Taiwan. Starting a blog, vlog, or another project to bridge cultural barriers and share information between cultures is a great use of your time, no matter how few people may see what you do. You will end up helping someone somewhere to learn more about a new culture and understand more about the world, which in itself is its own reward.
11. Don't take responsibility for other's mistakes 不要把別人的錯誤放在你自己身上
Sometimes when you see other people make mistakes, like spelling a word wrong, or misspeaking, it can be tempting to correct them and at the same time put them down. But you don't need to do that. In fact, you will be much happier and carefree if you do not take personal responsibility to correct everyone's mistakes, and instead work to build others up and compliment what they have done right.
12. Live a healthy lifestyle 養成健康的生活習慣
Good health is key to happiness in life. Take care of yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Wake up early and go to bed early. Don't do drugs. Don't become addicted to alcohol or caffeine. Get rid of unneeded stress and leave toxic environments. Surround yourself with the people you care about and do the things that you love. If you need help, see a doctor.
13. Help others to make yourself feel better 幫助其他人來幫助你自己
When you are selfless and sacrifice your time and energy to help others, you get a sense of accomplishment and purpose in life that is worth more than what you put in. Society is built so that we can provide service to each other and make the world a better place. Apart from work, you should take part in volunteer activities to help people in need and make the world a better place, such as at orphanages, animal shelters, charities, parks, beaches, etc.
14. Buy some foreign products that you miss 去買你想念的外國商品
As a foreigner in Taiwan, you are bound to miss out on a ton of food and products from your home country. You can meep and moan about not having these comforts in your life, or you can indulge yourself by going out and buying those products that you miss, or making them at home. You might even inspire some friends from Taiwan to try them out. Overall, you will have a better quality of life if you do, don't deprive yourself.
You can check out our blog about where to find foreign products in Taiwan here.
15. Take up hiking 開始爬山
Taiwan's mountains are world class. Over two thirds of Taiwan is mountainous area, and Taiwan has the highest peak in East Asia, Jade Mountain. There are enough hikes here to keep you busy for a lifetime. In the process, you can enjoy nature, make new friendships, and get needed exercise.
16. Take up cycling 開始騎腳踏車
Taiwan is also a cyclists' paradise. Although not every road is perfect, there are lots of purpose built bike paths and back country roads with little traffic. Biking in Taiwan is a major pastime, and you won't be alone. Also maintaining a bike is easy in Taiwan. Biking around the island is a great way to enjoy the scenery and stay fit.
17. Take up snorkeling, diving, river tracing and other water sports 開始浮潛,潛水,朔溪及其他水上活動
Taiwan has world class snorkeling and diving locations such as on the northeast coast, Kenting, Green Island, Orchid Island, Xiaoliuqiu, and Penghu. It is a great way to relax and enjoy this tropical paradise. Also, Taiwan has thousands of waterfalls to explore in the mountains, as well as hundreds of rivers, canyons, and streams. You can also try out other water sports such as surfing, kayaking, and sailing.
18. Find a better job 找到更好的工作
If you wake up one day and discover that you hate your boss, or hate what you are doing for work, maybe take some time to reconsider your life goals. Maybe there is a way for you to work in Taiwan doing your passion while earning enough money for life. Finding a new job in Taiwan may be hard, but changing an environment may be the best choice for your mental health if you truly work in a toxic environment. You may need further education or training to get there.
19. Get a Taiwanese driver's license 拿到台灣的駕照
Many foreigners get around Taiwan just fine on the MRT, Trains, and busses. But public transportation can't take you everywhere. If you only take public transportation everywhere you go, you are missing out on a huge part of Taiwan. You should get a car or scooter license in Taiwan so that you can go to more places, enjoy more freedom, and experience more of Taiwan that you otherwise wouldn't get to see.
20. Go Native 入境隨俗
One of the best things you can do for yourself as a foreigner in Taiwan is try to experience life from another perspective. Try to find out what Taiwanese people are thinking and feeling. You may find that some aspects of their way of life are better than yours.
Getting help 尋求協助
If you still feel lost, lonely, or depressed in Taiwan, maybe it is time to reach out for help. Reach out to a community or try to join some events. Try to reach out and find friends. For instance, a great place to start is the Center in Taipei, which has counseling services. You may also want to consider reaching out to a doctor or therapist to help. If all else fails, you can also reach out to us at [email protected] or send us a message on social media.
Hopefully this blog was helpful to you and you are better able to enjoy life in Taiwan after reading this!
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.