I have a friend who has a similar questions, so feedback would be great.
Friend: Male, American, no Mandarin. No plan on signficantly learning.
Has several years experience in the field. Engineer. Has been working on seismic activity and building code stuff (or whatever. You know, makes sure the buildings won't fall down in an earthquake).
"I wanted to be puzzled and charmed, to experience the endless, beguiling variety of a continent where you can board a train and an hour later be somewhere where the inhabitants speak a different language, eat different foods, work different hours, live lives that are at once so different and yet so oddly similar. I wanted to be a tourist," Bill Bryson.
"...But I ended up in Taiwan," Lili.
Never underestimate how much assistance,
how much satisfaction,
how much comfort,
how much soul and transcendence there might be
in a cold bottle of beer.