We’ve seen it time and again where people get excited about moving to Taiwan, do a bunch of research, plan their move, and then all of a sudden decide against going at the last second. Occasionally it’s for a good reason, like family concerns or a big job promotion, but more often than not it’s usually a resistance point(s) that causes someone to skip embarking on an adventure and coming to Taiwan.
Most of the reasons people decide against coming can easily be solved with some planning and getting in the right mindset (being mentally prepared to move to Taiwan is probably the most important thing that you can do). Below are the top 5 reasons we see that cause people to skip moving to Taiwan.
Haven’t saved enough money
This one is pretty common and not having enough money for your first couple of months is a problem, which I addressed in an earlier blog post about how much money people should save before going to Taiwan.
However, for most people this is a relatively easy problem to solve. Starting about 6 months from when you want to come (or longer if possible), start saving as much as you can. Again, you don’t need to save that much, but having a few thousand dollars saved will help you immensely.
The best strategy I recommend to people who are having trouble saving is to start cutting back on things you can really live without. Some easy ways to quickly save money are cooking at home and not going out to eat at restaurants, canceling gym memberships and exercising outside, cutting back on nightlife activities, selling off the things you don’t use or need to friends or on Ebay, etc.
There are dozens of ways to save money and none of them are particularly hard to do, but it does require you get into the right mindset and realize moving abroad is more important than the other things you could be doing with your money.
Leaving your job
With the world economy the way it is now, I don’t blame people when they tell me they are worried about quitting their job. If you have a great job and career then I suggest you really think about whether an adventure abroad is worth it. However, for the people who don’t have a great job, or aren’t set on a career path, then I highly recommend coming to Taiwan.
First, as Tim pointed out in one of his posts, you can actually save a decent amount of money here if you want. Second, employers often value international experience and it’s likely you can use your time here as a way to demonstrate to them that you are able to work in a diverse and international environment. Third, Chinese is growing in importance and in Taiwan you’ll have the ability to learn the language and use it for the rest of your career. Fourth, chances are if you want to go back home after a year you will be able to go back to doing exactly what you were doing before, while having enjoyed an amazing year in Taiwan.
Nervous about teaching English in Taiwan
I get this one as I was also pretty nervous to go and teach English in Taiwan. I remember being really excited and interested in the idea of moving abroad, but pretty nervous about the actual teaching part because I had never taught before.
The great news for all of you in this boat is that you don’t need to be nervous. Teaching English in Taiwan is very easy to pickup and the vast majority of people here have never taught a day before they arrived. The first few weeks can be challenging, but that’s true for any job, and you’ll pick it up very quickly.
Most schools with either train you, or they’ll give you pointers about what you should do, and probably the best way to learn to teach English here is to just go in and do it and within a few days or weeks you’ll have no problems.
Worried about losing touch with friends/family at home
Leaving friends and family at home and coming to Taiwan (especially if you are doing it alone) can definitely be a little scary for some people. Taiwan seems like a strange and exotic place and it’s easy to think that you’ll quickly lose contact with everyone back home. However, with modern technology like smartphones, Skype and the internet in general, it’s incredibly easy to stay connected to people.
Sure, you may miss some things like parties or seeing family at holidays, and in the beginning you’ll feel a little out of the loop, but quickly you’ll get used to it and it will be no big deal.
Actually, most people I know who arrived recently are so caught up in being abroad, meeting new people, exploring new places, teaching English, etc., that they aren’t even thinking much about their friends and family at home.
When I first arrived in Taiwan, it was actually my friends and family back home who were trying to stay in touch with me, while I was often too busy hanging out with new friends to stay in regular contact with them.
Worried about moving to Asia (too far, hearing crazy stories, think it’s too exotic, strange diseases, etc.)
If you fall into this category then chances are you have either you’ve read something, or someone has told you something about Taiwan or Asia and gotten you a little worried.
Well I’m here to tell you that whatever the concern is, chances are it’s probably not very legitimate. In fact, Taiwan is specifically great because while many things are unique and exciting for first time travelers to Asia, it is still a very developed country to live in and relatively western friendly.
Of course everything isn’t perfect and there are some risks involved in moving abroad to Taiwan, but that’s true of anywhere you live, and Taiwan is definitely one of the safest countries that you’ll ever travel live in. If health related issues are a concern (i.e. you’ve read about bird flu in China), then you’ll be happy to know that the healthcare system in Taiwan is very good and you can be assured you’ll have good care if you get sick.
I know that it can be challenging to deal with when others warn you about moving abroad, but if you have read our other posts and done a little research you’ll quickly realize that moving to Taiwan is a very good choice and a great opportunity for a fun and rewarding time abroad.