Moving to Taiwan
A small island located to the east of China, Taiwan combines ultra-modern cities with traditional Chinese culture. A sovereign island since 1950, Taiwan has become one of Asia’s biggest traders despite its petite size. As one of the world’s top producers in computer technology, the country has a booming capitalist market.
With over 23 million people calling Taiwan home, it is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Most people have settled on the western coast with the central land and east coast much less populated. Despite heavy urbanisation on the island, it is still home to natural wonders like hot springs, protected reserves and the tallest peak in Northeast Asia.
The Taiwanese are known for being incredibly friendly and hospitable and go out of their way to put visitors at ease. Expect a warm welcome when moving to Taiwan!
Houses in Taiwan are very uncommon, so most of accommodations available tend to be apartments. Rental prices vary, but are considerably more expensive in the capital, Taipei. Prices decrease as you look further away from the city centre. In the smaller cities of Kaohsiung, Taichung and Hualien, it is possible to find significantly cheaper accommodation options.
It’s worth keeping in mind that if you find accommodation through a real estate agent, you can expect the agent’s fees to be up to one month’s rent.
Education in Taiwan is compulsory from primary school to high school. With very high standards, the countries’ pupils achieve some of the world’s highest test scores, especially in subjects like maths and science. Expats will find schools in both the public and private sectors from preschool up to the university level. There are also a wide selection of international schools scattered around the larger cities. These require a foreign passport to attend. Lessons are not taught in Mandarin, and students follow foreign curricula.
The main language in Taiwan is Chinese Mandarin, although Min Nan Chinese and Hakka are also spoken. The Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays of the year and takes place around the end of January or the beginning of February. The country’s major religions are Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity. Be aware that Taiwan does not operate on the same calendar as the Western world. The Minguo calendar’s ‘year zero’ is 1911, the year it was created. However, many documents will display both the Western and Minguo year
Good to know
It is customary to remove your shoes before entering homes as well as some public areas. Slippers are often provided for people to wear once they enter.
Driving within Taiwan can be challenging due to rather chaotic traffic and lots of weaving scooters. It is possible to drive within the country using an international driving licence only if your country of origin has a reciprocal arrangement with Taiwan. Otherwise, you must obtain a Taiwanese licence.
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