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Expats in Kaohsiung
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melysnl



Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:55 am    Post subject: Expats in Kaohsiung Reply with quote

Hi. Are there expat areas in Kaohsiung? I just moved to a village on the outskirts of Kaohsiung and Tainan and would like to know where I can meet westerners in either Kaohsiung or Tainan. I took a walk near the central park area of Kaohsiung last Saturday and neither saw nor met anyone who wasn't Taiwanese. Same thing for the beach at Cijin. Everyone needs a little dose of "normal" here and there. Cheers for skype because its keeping me sane for now. Any info would be much appreciated!
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Expats in Kaohsiung Reply with quote

melysnl wrote:
Hi. Are there expat areas in Kaohsiung? I just moved to a village on the outskirts of Kaohsiung and Tainan and would like to know where I can meet westerners in either Kaohsiung or Tainan. I took a walk near the central park area of Kaohsiung last Saturday and neither saw nor met anyone who wasn't Taiwanese. Same thing for the beach at Cijin. Everyone needs a little dose of "normal" here and there. Cheers for skype because its keeping me sane for now. Any info would be much appreciated!


You're about two years too late.

I was the only white person living on Cijin for a period of one year (2009 - 2010). I used to walk/bike the whole length of the island frequently, and although I occasionally met Russian/Ukrainian/etc. sailors or temporary visitors, I'm pretty sure that during that period of time, I was the only westerner living there for any significant length of time. Given that my apartment cost 3,500 NTD a month with a swimmable beach three minutes away, I can't figure out for the life of me why no other "westerners" had the same idea.


Last edited by Rooster_2006 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Expats in Kaohsiung Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
melysnl wrote:
Hi. Are there expat areas in Kaohsiung? I just moved to a village on the outskirts of Kaohsiung and Tainan and would like to know where I can meet westerners in either Kaohsiung or Tainan. I took a walk near the central park area of Kaohsiung last Saturday and neither saw nor met anyone who wasn't Taiwanese. Same thing for the beach at Cijin. Everyone needs a little dose of "normal" here and there. Cheers for skype because its keeping me sane for now. Any info would be much appreciated!


You're about two years too late.

I was the only white person living on Cijin. Given that my apartment cost 3,500 NTD a month with a beach three minutes away, I can't figure out for the life of me why no other "expats" had the same idea.


Maybe the lack of jobs for foreigners there. One does need to earn and living and also needs an ARC.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Expats in Kaohsiung Reply with quote

JZer wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
melysnl wrote:
Hi. Are there expat areas in Kaohsiung? I just moved to a village on the outskirts of Kaohsiung and Tainan and would like to know where I can meet westerners in either Kaohsiung or Tainan. I took a walk near the central park area of Kaohsiung last Saturday and neither saw nor met anyone who wasn't Taiwanese. Same thing for the beach at Cijin. Everyone needs a little dose of "normal" here and there. Cheers for skype because its keeping me sane for now. Any info would be much appreciated!


You're about two years too late.

I was the only white person living on Cijin. Given that my apartment cost 3,500 NTD a month with a beach three minutes away, I can't figure out for the life of me why no other "expats" had the same idea.


Maybe the lack of jobs for foreigners there. One does need to earn and living and also needs an ARC.
Oh, I know, that's a valid reason for foreigners who need a work visa. Not many English teaching jobs on Cijin, so few options for someone to sponsor you if you live there. But it seems like the ultimate place for a guy who already has an APRC/JFRV to set up shop. Instead, most of those guys run their bars and restaurants in Kenting.

I mean, I understand why those APRC/JFRV guys open bars and restaurants in Kenting. The beaches there are better than Cijin's beaches. However, Cijin is also a quick/cheap ferry ride away from Kaohsiung City proper, which is a major plus for Cijin over Kenting...

If I had ever gotten an APRC, there is little doubt in my mind that I would have set up some kind of business on Cijin. It's a tropical island with extremely cheap rent, palm trees, tourist beaches, etc. and easy access (15 NTD) to the rest of Kaohsiung. How much better can things get?
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For people on JFRV's, they probably live near their job or their wives' family. The people on APRC's I would think are the only realistic people to live in Cijin. I would like to live on Penghu or Green Island.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JZer wrote:
For people on JFRV's, they probably live near their job or their wives' family. The people on APRC's I would think are the only realistic people to live in Cijin. I would like to live on Penghu or Green Island.
Okay, fair enough. JFRV holders are out unless they're married to Cijin locals, which is exceedingly unlikely, because they are tied down to another location in Taiwan by their families. Still, even with JFRV holders out of the picture, I wonder why I haven't seen any APRC holders trying to set up shop there. I guess it's probably the A) relative lack of westerners with an APRC and B) the relative obscurity of Cijin.
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melysnl



Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are very few foreigners in Cijin because it's hardly swimmable and not at all walkable. I went neck deep in the water and was told to get out by the "lifeguard." They've also destroyed the shoreline by pouring concrete over it. Not a tourist/beach friendly nation obviously.

Hopefully Kenting and Taipei are much better. If not, I won't last very long here.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

melysnl wrote:
There are very few foreigners in Cijin because it's hardly swimmable and not at all walkable.
Cijin's beach is rather dirty, but I'd term it "swimmable." Barely, but yes, swimmable. However, I've also gone swimming in China many, many times and am not exactly hyper-vigilant about the cleanliness of a beach...
Quote:
I went neck deep in the water and was told to get out by the "lifeguard."
Oh man, I must say, I agree with you 100% there. I have gotten seriously, Grade A pissed at those guys. As far as they're concerned, going into the water higher than your ankles is dangerous. I did most of my swimming when those guys weren't on duty.

...and when they tried to take my photo as "proof" that I was swimming too far out! A digital camera came within an inch of its life that day...

Please do remember, though, that almost every year, someone drowns on Cijin because many (or maybe most) Taiwanese don't know how to swim. I'm serious. Someone drowned while I was living on the island. It's pretty much a yearly occurrence, which might explain the lifeguards' hypervigilance.

I'm curious why you say Cijin isn't walkable. It has a sidewalk going for the whole length of the island from north to south which I have traversed both ways more than once. And a bike path. I guess on festival days (which seem to come at least once a month), the roads can get pretty impassable, though.
Quote:
They've also destroyed the shoreline by pouring concrete over it.
What do you mean? When I last went there (last year) there was still plenty of sand between the asphalt and the beach. Has this changed?
Quote:
Not a tourist/beach friendly nation obviously.
Opinions will vary on Cijin, but I'd be curious to know why you say Taiwan isn't a tourist-friendly nation. I'm not saying I disagree with you, I'd just like to know your reasons. Once my Chinese got better, I found it a relatively tourist-friendly country, but before that happened, communication was very, very difficult.
Quote:
Hopefully Kenting and Taipei are much better. If not, I won't last very long here.
In my experience in Taiwan, both Kenting and Taipei, particularly the beaches, are much, much cleaner than the Kaohsiung/Cijin area.
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melysnl



Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "lifeguards" are why I said the beach was barely swimmable. Yeah, being kicked out of the water and having my photo snapped would test me too. I just got out and left. The shoreline of the beach wasn't walkable when I went two weeks ago--they've paved it, seriously. There's less than a quarter mile of walkable sand. The sand wasn't that great to begin with but I'd prefer it to asphalt. Highly irritating!

And I guess I haven't been to enough of their beaches to say it isn't beach friendly at all. The Taiwanese are pretty friendly, but I'd think there would be more tourists if this country were truly tourist friendly. I rarely see foreign faces anywhere. I've met two expats so far, one who I hope to see again. I gotta learn some Chinese for sure. Miming and 7-11 are getting old quick. Things are looking up though.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

melysnl wrote:
Things are looking up though.
Yeah, certainly in my case, I found Taiwan to be a huge adjustment. Once I got used to it, it was fine, but the first few months were quite stressful.

For the record, I have lived in:
The Netherlands (8 months)
The United States (14 years)
South Korea (5 years)
Hong Kong (3 years)
Japan (more than 1 year)

Taiwan was by far the hardest adjustment. I flew in in '09 assuming that since I'd already lived in two Asian countries and knew a bit of Chinese, it would be a breeze and that I wouldn't have any significant culture shock. WRONG. Once I got adjusted, though, it was decent, even fun at times. But that adjustment took the better part of a year.

I moved to Taiwan directly from Korea (without returning to the US in between).

In my first week or two, I was euphoric:
- Wow, Taiwan will actually let me work whereas Korea kept denying me a work visa or even a student work permit!
- Wow, it's tropical! I live on the beach! This is the dream!
- Wow, everything's so cheap compared to Korea, especially the rent!

Then, the second phase of culture shock hit...
- My Chinese was awful and I couldn't communicate with anyone. Virtually no one spoke English, Korean, or Japanese, the three languages I had studied in depth. I generally communicated by drawing out Chinese characters on pieces of paper (which I had studied previously, mostly as Korean hanja) and showing them to people, and augmenting it with the little bit of spoken Chinese I knew, like "Wo yao yi ge..." (shows him a sketched picture of a charger with "charger" written in Korean hanja).
- I couldn't figure out where to get clean drinking water, except bottled water which really took a bite out of my wallet.
- I couldn't figure out where to get my laundry done. Northern Cijin has no coin laundries, my apartment didn't have a laundry machine, and all the laundry places charged per-item and were very, very expensive.
- I had no Internet in my apartment, the landlady wouldn't let me install it, and all the public Internet cafe options were undesirable (betel nut/cigarette dives with grimy computers and no air con, for example).
- Finding a decent job (30,000 NTD or more per month) in Kaohsiung was quite difficult. I had to hunt for several months and accept really bad jobs for the better part of a year just to stay in Taiwan so I could hunt around and find a decent gig.
- The employment instability meant visa instability.

Eventually I found the solutions to these things:
- My Chinese improved through brute force immersion. I also made it my mission in 2009 to up my Chinese characters from the top ~500 to the top ~1,000. I succeeded. This was a big deal, since the top 1,000 characters comprise approximately 90% of the written language, and once I could read that many, it made things easier on so many levels.
- I discovered the 5 NTD clean water pumps and started a large bottle collection.
- I got really efficient at doing my laundry in a bucket, and came up with a non-consecutive-day re-wearing schedule to minimize the amount of tedious bucket laundry I had to do.
- I moved to a room with Internet.
- I found a decent job with a fairly nice boss. I was more secure because the new job had a contract clause that they couldn't fire me without at least 30 days' notice once the probationary period was over (I made it through the probationary period just fine, fortunately).

But...it was really rough for most of the first year. The second year was much, much better.
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Solar Strength



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 560
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
But...it was really rough for most of the first year. The second year was much, much better.


Rooster,

Since you studied Chinese before you moved to Japan, did it help you understand reading kanji on signs around town and in menus, etc.? I assume the kanji is similar in Japan.

Also, after all is said and done, do you have a better life in Japan as an EFL teacher than you did in Taiwan? I gather salaries are higher in Japan and that Japan is much more developed and convenient than Taiwan just from what I've read on the Internet.

I think Taiwan can be a good happy medium between Korea and Japan, however, for a TEFL career.
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Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solar Strength wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
But...it was really rough for most of the first year. The second year was much, much better.


Rooster,

Since you studied Chinese before you moved to Japan, did it help you understand reading kanji on signs around town and in menus, etc.? I assume the kanji is similar in Japan.
Yes, it's true, the kanji are very similar between Japan and Taiwan. However, actually, when I first moved to Japan, when I saw a sign that I didn't immediately understand, I would walk it through Korean hanja first instead of walking it through Chinese. My Korean is much stronger than my Chinese, and also the Korean language (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation of the characters) is much closer to Japanese. So that's what I did, especially at first. However, I'm sure that for someone moving to Japan and learning Japanese, having studied any Chinese character-based language (Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean with hanja, Vietnamese with the old Chu Nom script, etc.) would be helpful when learning Japanese.

Quote:
Also, after all is said and done, do you have a better life in Japan as an EFL teacher than you did in Taiwan? I gather salaries are higher in Japan and that Japan is much more developed and convenient than Taiwan just from what I've read on the Internet.
Yes, my life is better here. I make about 2x the salary and am also able to save 2x or 3x as much per month after living expenses. However, I must stress, my second year in Taiwan wasn't bad. I made most of my board posts in my first year, which may lead people to believe that I hated it there, but actually, once I got used to it, it was all right. I just really, really wanted to go to Japan, though. I was much better prepared when I arrived in Japan, as well (credentials-wise and language-wise).

Quote:
I think Taiwan can be a good happy medium between Korea and Japan, however, for a TEFL career.
Yeah, there are certain things that Taiwan excels at. It's a great place to learn Mandarin, has a nice climate, friendly and outgoing people, and better pay than Mainland China. Japan is more my cup of tea, but I definitely acknowledge that Taiwan also has strong points.
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creztor



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 476

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rooster_2006, of course you are earning 2x in Japan because weren't you making like 900NT a month or something here in Taiwan? Just kidding man and having a bit of fun Wink Glad to hear you have found a place that suits you. That's all that matters.
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Solar Strength



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 560
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
Quote:
Also, after all is said and done, do you have a better life in Japan as an EFL teacher than you did in Taiwan? I gather salaries are higher in Japan and that Japan is much more developed and convenient than Taiwan just from what I've read on the Internet.

Yes, my life is better here. I make about 2x the salary and am also able to save 2x or 3x as much per month after living expenses. However, I must stress, my second year in Taiwan wasn't bad. I made most of my board posts in my first year, which may lead people to believe that I hated it there, but actually, once I got used to it, it was all right. I just really, really wanted to go to Japan, though. I was much better prepared when I arrived in Japan, as well (credentials-wise and language-wise).

Quote:
I think Taiwan can be a good happy medium between Korea and Japan, however, for a TEFL career.

Yeah, there are certain things that Taiwan excels at. It's a great place to learn Mandarin, has a nice climate, friendly and outgoing people, and better pay than Mainland China. Japan is more my cup of tea, but I definitely acknowledge that Taiwan also has strong points.


Thanks for the info. Glad to hear you're doing all right in Japan.
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ickle_moose



Joined: 02 Jul 2012
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are LOADS of foreigners in Kaoshiung. I lived there for 7 years. There's a big bunch of them living in 'Little Canada' which is just on the south side of Kaohsiung Arena, around Yucheng/Bo-Ai area. There's another group just east of there at Heti Park, so around abouts Mincheng/Heti. The easiest way to find them is to go to The Lighthouse pub, (corner of Yucheng/Fuguo) and look on their noticeboard, or to go to the yahoo group which is called KaoshiungLiving. It's a very active group and you'll find out what everyone's up to.
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