I remember way back 2014 when I first arrived here in Taiwan, I have no idea if I am going to like it here, what would be my future, or if I can stay longer. From the moment I stepped on the airport, Taiwan seemed to be an oriented place. The airport is neat and peaceful, the immigration officers are accommodating, WIFI is great, and taxicab drivers outside are quite honest I must say.
Taiwan has already been my home for 3 years. I pursued my MBA degree here. Living away from your home country, in my case, the Philippines, is very challenging especially that not all Taiwanese can speak English. There will always be a language barrier that makes it difficult to communicate with the people, sometimes, body language works!
Below are MY top reasons why I think that Taiwan is a great place to live:
1. Friendly Taiwanese Locals
Most locals are really friendly and approachable. Even though I can’t speak their language that much, I am not afraid to talk to them. They will actually try their best to communicate with you despite the language barrier especially if you are a foreigner. I think it is just their nature to help other people without expecting something in return. Every time I enroll in our university before, my classmates would really offer their assistance to help me with the process since I cannot communicate well with the school staffs.
2. Faster Internet Connection
According to the recently published report on global internet connection speed, Taiwan ranked 19th which has an average of 15.6 Mbps. You can watch a movie online simultaneously and you can download a full one-hour movie for less than 5 minutes (depends on the network and location you are in).
3. Cheap Cost of Living
We live in Tamsui District which is already part of the New Taipei City and is around 40 minutes away from the Main Taipei City. We rented a studio type room which has its own bathroom, kitchen, washing machine, air conditioner, mini living room, and a bedroom for only 5,500NT. Our electricity bill for a 2-month period is also less than 1,000NT considering that we use a lot of electronic gadgets at home (but it would still depend on how determined you are in finding the right place at the right location). One full meal with veggies, meat, drinks and rice would normally cost us around 80NT only.
4. Convenient Transportation System
In Taiwan, every place is accessible through MRTs, HSRs, TRAs, and Buses. If you want to wander around Taipei, you can just take the MRT. If you want to go to places outside Taipei, you can take TRAs or Buses for cost-friendly, and HSRs for fast travel. Moreover, they also have transportation services (for free) to some tourist spots during weekends or holidays. For bicycle riders, you don’t need to worry since most of the streets have bicycle lanes as well. You can even rent a bicycle (they call it Ubike) basically anywhere around Taipei City if you want to experience a more traditional way of transportation.
Though you don’t have any experience yet, as a foreigner, the average salary is approximately around 30,000NT to which I think is already reasonable considering that I came from a country that offers a pretty much lower salary package. Every Chinese New Year or around June, some companies even give their employees up to 14th month pay. English speakers can easily teach English here and can get around 500-1500NT per hour (sounds good right?).
6. Discipline Everywhere
You’ll be amazed on how almost all of the people here are very disciplined. People keeps the priority seats inside the MRT unoccupied until an elder/disabled/pregnant passenger sits in. In the case of the escalators, the left side is just intended for walking and the right side for standing. Not to mention, you can rarely see people pushing and elbowing out each other when it gets crowded.
It is mandatory in Taiwan to get a health care insurance which would cost around 500NT per month. Once you have it, all your medical bills will be discounted. You can have your tooth cleaned and extracted for only 200NT. A visit to a doctor (fever, cough, cold checkups etc.) will just cost you around 150-200NT and it includes medicines for a week already. In the Philippines, consultations alone can cost you around 500PHP (approximately 350NT) without medicines, and every tooth extracted is worth 300PHP (around 200NT) but it still depends on your attending physician.
In 2015, Taiwan has been considered as the 2nd safest country in the world and still remains as one of the safest countries in the world as of today. You can actually walk at night in the park and can still go back home safe and sound. Normally, every Taiwanese you see inside the MRT or any other public places uses smartphones like it is okay to show off without the fear of being robbed. I even left my phone inside a public toilet thrice but when I came back, it was still there.
Living here in Taiwan enabled me to study and work, travel and save at the same time. Though there may be rough roads on my Taiwan journey, but still, I choose to be positive in every negative situations I am in.
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