Durins Bane wrote:This is my fifth year back in the States and after a visit from an old Taiwan friend I thought it might be a good idea to update/remind what I have learned (often the hard way) about the transition from Taiwan to one's home country.
1.) Aquire skills. Take on-line courses, learn to speak Chinese, become a master diver, whatever. Even those of you who plan never to move back, well, shit happens. And if you can put stuff down on a resume that an employer finds useful or is needed then that can only help. Remember, nobody will really give a shit about your teaching English overseas. Some examples: My getting a blackbelt in Aikido while in Taiwan helped me land a sweet summer gig as well as an after school gig. My becoming fluent in AutoCAD while in Taiwan helped me land a job teaching Engineering at a middle school. Taking on-line courses while in Taiwan really helped. Even if you never plan to leave Taiwan plan that you could leave...it doesn't hurt. I really recommend taking on-line courses.
2.) Life back home, at least for me (California) is really fucking expensive. I really underestimated how much it would cost. It is amazing how much nickel and dimed I am. It is just awful. We are still saving money but it is a lot of work. If you are planning to move back, research and set a budget, and then triple it. I recommend sending a little bit of loot back home every month because if you send oogles and gobs of loot back at once it attracts too much attention.
3.) Keep current on taxes in your home country even if you don't have to pay. If you don't file they will hunt you down, kill you, and do unnatural things to your corpse.
4.) Get a credit card from your home country. Moving back home with no credit history can make life difficult.
5.) if you have a spouse make sure him/her stays busy. Mrs. Bane's transition has been very tough at times. It has helped that she is working and establishing her own social network.
6.) Be smart if you plan on buying a house. Don't buy a McMansion or in a cookie cutter subdivision. I was lucky in this part. I bought a 1913 craftsman in an older neighborhood, dropped $80,000 into it, and it was recently appraised at over $90,000 than what I paid for it. That's pretty good in today's market. If you buy dumb you are surely and truly rat fucked. Buying a home in a good school district is a smart move.
7.) If you have kids look for a charter school. Public schools for the most part, suck. There are some good public schools out there but there are more bad than good. My two boys attend a charter Engineering high school and that will put them a leg up over kids attending a public high school. I mean, would you rather have your child taking ag biology or learning how to design a microchip?
I think, overall, my main piece of advice is to prepare yourself to a life back home even if you have no plans to move back. My dad died my first year back and I was lucky that I had already moved back. But think about how diffcult it would of been to support my mom if I had been overseas? My point is that there can be factors that may force you to move back home.
It has been hard at times...really fucking hard. At times it has strained my marriage and made me question my sanity, but now things are good. But it is tough and difficult.
Hope this helps.
JohnH wrote:I recall you left in 2003? given annual inflation around 4% - 9% during the past couple of years, it's no surprise prices have skyrocketed. The killer is electricity prices. I used to pay R200pm, now I'm forking out over R600 as a bachelor and expect to increase further.
JohnH wrote:It's not a bad idea to come back for a year or two to study. Varsity fees is still affordable compared to the US, UK and Oz.
bismarck wrote:Where abouts in SA are you now? How much is a liter of milk these days? You used to be able to get them (bags) for like R1.20 at the corner cafe. I was hoping to stay with family while I'm there to minimize costs, but that would depend on where I study. Preferably, I'd like to go to Potch or UCT.
bismarck wrote:And that's no lie. Even doing an online MA from the US or Aussie is sure to set you back several hundred thousand NT. Bloody appalling. But checking the class fees at UCT, Potch, UP, UOVS, I was amazed at how much it's increased. Still, quite affordable, as you say. Problem is, if I come over in two years I'll probably be Taiwanese and won't get the same low cost of an SA citizen (although one of the reasons to return is to resume SA citizenship and possible teach in SA for a year or two to give my son a few years of English schooling at a creche before starting grade 1 here).
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