INTRODUCTION TO TAIWAN
Taiwan is the often overlooked younger sibling of its larger neighbour, China. While China is praised as the land of opportunity and adventure, Taiwan (no doubt thanks to its perilous political situation) is sometimes forgotten, confused or ignored. But a Taiwan experience packs a punch, and can hold its own against one in China any day! Want to learn Mandarin but does the pollution in China put you off? Taiwan has fresh air and mountain treks just a 30-minute subway ride away from the bustling city. And if you don’t want to use a VPN – Taiwan’s free media and easy communication just might be your ticket. Taiwan has a lot to discover and is ready to share with you all it has to offer if you are ready to take the plunge. With many young people now eager to have an experience abroad, and with Taiwan’s economy in the throes of recovery, opportunities for work and internships in Taiwan are also starting to broaden. Get started on your Taiwan adventure by reading some of the content below.
Like China, the Taiwanese Government via the Huayu Scholarship program offers generous scholarships for studying Chinese as well as completing degree programs. Many other scholarships are also available, such as the Endeavour Scholarships Program, and the New Colombo Plan. Some universities in Australia offer exchange programs to Taiwan (or can offer credit for study in Taiwan). These include the Australian National University, University of Queensland, Melbourne University and Monash University.
- Euan Crone Asian Awareness Scholarship (Due 4 September 2015)
- Endeavour Scholarships (postgraduate students, VET and professional development)
- New Colombo Plan Scholarship
- Huayu Scholarship
- New Colombo Plan (undergraduate)
- Walter Mangold Scholarship (Victorian students)
Taiwan is a fantastic place to study and in this section, we will even do our best to convince you that studying in Taiwan should be your first choice destination! Although traditional characters may seem daunting, Taiwan offers an excellent environment to delve into learning Mandarin, whilst enjoying fresh air and the opportunity to discuss free media topics in Mandarin.
Most Australian universities have now established sister relationships with universities in Taiwan, allowing students to spend a semester (or the Australian winter break) in Taiwan on exchange for university credit. Most Australian universities have information on their website on studying in Taiwan. The websites of universities in Taiwan are now of a fairly high standard and much information can be learned from language school websites in Taiwan (including information on visas, accommodation, and programs of study).
- Why you should study Mandarin in Taiwan as your first choice
- Why 6am and daily rituals is key to learning a language
- Hello Talk language exchange app review
- Should I learn the Taiwanese dialect of Tai-gi?
- Language Exchange Meetups Guide
It also pays to take the time to carefully consider your options when deciding to study in Taiwan. There are many factors to take into account, the first being whether to enrol in a university or a private institution. Here the Asia Options team have created a Chinese Language Program Review for Taiwan section to help point you in the right direction.
- National Taiwan University Chinese Language Division
- National Taiwan Normal University Mandarin Training Center
- National Taiwan University International Chinese Language Program
- National Cheng Kung University Chinese Language Center
Given the importance of China, Taiwan is often overlooked when it comes to leadership opportunities. Nevertheless, there are still a number of opportunities around. Each year the National Taiwan University holds the Global Initiatives Symposium (GIS Taiwan), a forum for youth to debate current issues. Model United Nations is also very popular in Taiwan and most universities have their own chapter.
There are a number of opportunities available for people looking to undertake an internship in Taiwan. Most prominent are the opportunities related to international business, especially the British Chamber of Commerce and the French Chamber of Commerce. Opportunities with think-tanks and government organisations are also available. The Austrade Office in Taipei often offers the Austrade Internship Program, as do some international companies including AON. As with many Asian countries, who you know is still a key factor in securing internships and work placements so make it known that you are looking and you might be surprised at what you can find!
- Australia Office in Taipei
- British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei
- Australia-Taiwan Women Entrepreneur Network
- Getting Lost on the Taiwan Nature Treasure Map Program
- Kopra – Excellent resource for internships, particularly for those from EU nations but also other nationalities as well. Lists opportunities not just for Taiwan but all over East Asia.
Working in Taiwan is an excellent way to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. The working culture is quite different to that in countries such as Australia, so be prepared to adapt to your new environment! Having said that, it is notoriously difficult for foreigners to find non-teaching jobs and internships in Taiwan. Taiwanese law still protects Taiwanese workers so it can be a challenge to find a company that will be willing to sponsor you for a work visa (this adds a considerable cost to the company). Nevertheless, if you are prepared to put in the time there is work to be found. Being a native speaker of English is still considered an advantage for some positions where there is interaction with foreign clients. Read Jack’s story about his experience working in Taiwan and the differences he encountered. While the salary will be less than what you would earn in Australia, this shouldn’t take away from the experiences you will have and the skills you will learn. If you are just after the experience of living in Taiwan there are a plethora of English teaching jobs available. Many of these are able to quickly provide a working permit and the salary provided is very competitive. These jobs are easy to find and can offer a comfortable lifestyle in Taiwan where the cost of living is low.
- Why you should come to Taiwan to launch your start-up
- Let’s get famous in Taiwan! And how to do it.
- Finding a non-English teaching job in Taiwan
- 6 reasons to get involved with start-ups in Asia
- Teaching in Taiwan for Foreigners
- 104 – a Taiwanese job search website (Chinese only) Tip: Enter ENGLISH into the job search box to narrow your search down to jobs where English is a requirement (i.e. teaching jobs).
- 1111 – a Taiwanese job and internships search website (Chinese only)
- Working in Taiwan (Facebook) – work and internships in Taiwan
- Formosa (expat site)
Taiwan is a relatively easy place to find accommodation. If you are a student at a university there is a chance that you can stay in one of the dorms. The dorms for international students are usually bigger (you have your own room) and come with your own bathroom. It is also a good way to meet other international students and provides a feeling of community.If you decide to rent an apartment the most commonly used website is 591. Although this is in Chinese only, there is wide selection including studios, shared accommodation and houses. The blog mentioned below has some great tips on how to navigate the 591 website. For more information on finding an apartment in Taiwan, this blog is by far one of the best English language resources on finding an apartment in Taiwan. If you are not confident of finding an apartment yourself, this agent is well known for helping foreign students find apartments (but still unable to find any reviews!). Otherwise this Facebook group is also an excellent resource with reasonable prices and all information in English. It is particularly useful for finding flatmates and taking over leases.