Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby rcfong » 21 Feb 2002, 05:19

Hi Everyone,

I'm graduating from a U.S. university soon and am still looking for a job. So far, I've found nothing.

I'm Chinese, born in America (ABC)....specifically, New Jersey. Last summer was the first time that I've ever been in Taiwan (first time not being in the U.S. as well). During my 3-month stay in Taipei (to advance my Chinese studies), I've experienced many of the difficulties that anyone unfamiliar with Taiwanese ways would face. However, I ultimately liked Taiwan very much. So now here I am in my final year of college and am faced with the situation of finding a career or some path to follow. I am double majoring in Economics and Chinese and am wondering if there are opportunities for me in Taiwan (preferrably Taipei). I would consider myself to be a "lower-advanced" Chinese level speaker and have no problems with communicating in the language (deep business-related issues would be a problem---still working on it though). I am currently studying at the business level of chinese and hope to have a career some day that may utilize it. The main problem is.....I don't know what I could do in Taiwan with my credentials.

I don't think I would mind having lower wages in Taiwan, compared to those in the U.S. Besides, the standard of living is lower in Taiwan and the food is great! [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img] So anyway, I would like to know if any of you can offer some advice for my situation. Should I stay in the U.S. or head to Taiwan? Keep in mind that I'm about to graduate from college.

Thanks for any advice. I look forward to your replies!
rcfong
 
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby Rascal » 21 Feb 2002, 05:33

You must have some idea what you want to do!?

And are you sure the standard of living here is so much cheaper? Housing in Taipei certainly is not cheap. And the food ... well, matter of taste perhaps.
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby rcfong » 21 Feb 2002, 05:57

Hi there,

Well....here in the US, many Econ majors go on to be consultants or analysts, based on from what I've seen. If I was offered a similar job tomorrow right here in the US, I would take it. It would be a great starting point in the field. But if I am to be jobless for several months, then going to Taiwan in search of a "different" job may not be a bad idea....I don't think. Anyway, whether I go to Taiwan or not after I graduate depends on whether I have found a desirable job or not. I'll go either route, depending on the job offered in either country. Maybe I could be an editor or technical writer in Taiwan or work in a business firm (Geez, I'd be OVERJOYED if I had that opportunity). Teaching english seems "ok" but I wouldn't want to do it too long.

As for the food, yeah I like it a lot [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img] (then again, I like just about everything)....but too bad the bakeries in Taipei aren't as good as the ones here in Chinatown NY, or even Philadelphia. And finally, the housing issue....to tell you the truth, it's bearable in my opinion. It's still higher in this area of the U.S. so.....Taipei isn't too bad.
rcfong
 
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby PlacardJoe » 21 Feb 2002, 06:58

I'd say go where you got the best shot of pulling down righteous babes. You're too young to allow concerns over your career to interfere with the important stuff.
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby wolf_reinhold » 21 Feb 2002, 07:21

Stay in the US and get a job and then angle for a posting in Taiwan or China. MUCH better pay that way.
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby rcfong » 21 Feb 2002, 07:25

hello Wolf-Reinhold,

Yeah, if I'm not misunderstanding your reply, then that is my original plan. But....could you provide an example or explanation on how I would do that? It doesn't seem easy...
rcfong
 
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby ironlady » 21 Feb 2002, 14:11

Hi DWF,
It is easy to be in the US and think about going to Taiwan for "something better". I believe strongly, however, that a person should have a compelling reason to do so, otherwise he or she may end up just floating through life in Taiwan (it is very easy to get into the "one more contract" lifecycle over there).

I agree with you that the cost of living is lower in Taiwan than in the States. The quality of life is better in some ways (except, notably, in the area of pollution/noise). As a woman, I can go anywhere in Taipei at almost any hour of the day or night and not feel threatened (well, I guess that my normal American "level of alertness" helps). I can't do that in the States. At least most criminals in Taiwan don't want the hassle of speaking English with victims (the whole South African Ambassador thing with Chen a few years ago must have been a big mistake, nothing more!)

Anyway, I don't think that you'll have much of a shot getting an expat package from the States unless you have work experience and/or connections. There are unfortunately many folks with degrees in economics who are completely bilingual, and they are likely to be placed in front of you for preference (this isn't ALWAYS so but I think it's likely).

I don't see why you couldn't carve yourself out a nice niche in Taiwan doing editing work. There is plenty of it available, and you could continue your Chinese studies if you wanted to avoid the whole work-visa issue for awhile. Since you have not spent much time in Taiwan, the authorities wouldn't question you for awhile, anyway.

As a native English speaker, naturally you are aware that you could get work teaching English, but I can understand why that might not be quite your thing at this point in your life. If you just want to "take a year or two off" it might be OK, but it won't advance your career appreciably when you go back to the States.

You might be able to save some money in Taiwan if you live simply, and you could probably manage to get into a Chinese company to work, although that probably wouldn't happen overnight. If you have no strong ties to the States, and feel like you have lots of time, it might be a good experience. You might want to set some definite goals for yourself, though (I'll save $X, or I'll spend X time, or I'll get X years of experience) and then firmly and resolutely go back to the States. If you stay too long, you may catch the "I should be in Taiwan" disease, for which there is no known cure. [img]images/smiles/icon_sad.gif[/img]

Regards
Terry
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby jma123 » 21 Feb 2002, 14:37

I'm in a similar situation also. I made the move to Taiwan about 6 months ago, after graduating from college. My job in the US delayed my start date so I decided to check out what Taiwan had to offer. I think it's important to consider what you want to get out of Taiwan - is it going to be where you start your career or just for time off before returning to the US?
As for the pay, it is lower (actually much lower, compared to entry-level salaries in the States) and the cost of living isn't that low. It's something to consider.
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby <Michael> » 21 Feb 2002, 14:40

Another thing you'll have to think about is which relevant ministry regulates the industry you want to work in. In my case, it's the Government Information Office. The GIO requires that you have at least two years of experience in your field before taking on a job in Taiwan. So before you come, I suggest you find out how much experience beyond college you'll be required to have.
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Should I work in Taiwan or stay in the U.S.? (graduating fro

Postby rcfong » 22 Feb 2002, 03:06

Hello Terry,

Thank you very much for your comments and opinions. What you said about possibly floating around in Taiwan without direction makes a lot of sense. During my short stay in Taipei last summer, I thought about how life would be like if I stayed there longer. I could easily imagine slow progress in my career path and jumping from one contract to another. And although teaching English brings in a decent income, I would only consider doing it for a short time as a means of supporting myself. At the same time, I would definitely go back to NTNU and continue on with my Chinese studies (one of my goals in life is to become extremely proficient in Mandarin). Anyway, I studied at NTNU last summer and enjoyed it very much. The reputation of their Mandarin Training Center is well deserved. Though...I could imagine it being even more intense and thus more effective.

Teaching english for a year or two doesn't seem like a bad idea. During my stay, I could try to establish a new network over there. So far, my only established network consists of my wonderful housemate in Taiwan, who works for an international trading firm. If I return to Taiwan, she said she would help me find a position within her company. She showed me some of the documents that she works with on a daily basis and I was very surprised to see that many of them are identical to the ones that I see in my business chinese class here in the US (I get really excited when I see a particular class have immediate real-world-use [img]images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

I think that some time after college, I would like to spend some time in that part of the world. I love studying Chinese and what better way to do it than by surrounding myself in the environment. It's the career situation that is my main concern for now. I simply don't want to "float" around, as you put it. Then again, maybe floating around could lead to something meaningful within time as long as I plan out a direction.

It's such a tough dilemna. With no job lined up (yet) after graduation, I can't help but think about going to Taiwan for a couple of years to study more Chinese, do some editing work or english teaching, build up my network, and "see more of this world".

Terry, thanks for your insights. I'll keep them in mind.
rcfong
 
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