Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

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Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby Jialin » 22 Apr 2012, 05:28

I'm coming to teach in Taiwan but still haven't completely decided where I want to be. It's really between Kaohsiung and Taipei. One thing I'm looking for is a place that can offer a more immersive experience in Chinese. I know, ultimately, this is just something you have to create yourself based on how you live... but is there a significant difference between Kaohsiung and Taipei in this regard? I know Taipei is more international and has more foreigners..One thing I don't want to run into is being asked to be an English tutor 10 times a day and people unwilling to speak Mandarin. (I have studied for 8 years, so I can hold a conversation.) Thanks for the insight.
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby Pingdong » 22 Apr 2012, 20:48

k town. if you really want to see culture, hit the "back country" of Taiwan, there is some fascinating stuff that goes on, and sometimes cities just cant get away with it.
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby tango42 » 22 Apr 2012, 21:21

The entire country speaks Chinese (or maybe some other local dialects) 100% of the time everywhere you go. Anywhere you go will be immersive.
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 22 Apr 2012, 21:51

Kaohsiung. Taipei is like a different country to the rest of Taiwan. I remember driving past a temple festival on a bus full of people from Taipei and they all thought it was a political demonstration O.o;;;;;

Plus in Taipei people in general can speak more English.
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby jp_mtl » 23 Apr 2012, 02:37

What you should worry about is finding a decent job, regardless of location. As far as immersion is concerned, it doesn't matter where you live. There aren't a lot of foreigners even in Taipei, and very few locals will speak English to you. I lived for a while in Banqiao and it's rare people would speak to me in English. (And they only did because I could not speak a word of Chinese).

Surely finding a good job is far more important?
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby Jialin » 23 Apr 2012, 03:10

jp_mtl wrote:What you should worry about is finding a decent job, regardless of location. As far as immersion is concerned, it doesn't matter where you live. There aren't a lot of foreigners even in Taipei, and very few locals will speak English to you. I lived for a while in Banqiao and it's rare people would speak to me in English. (And they only did because I could not speak a word of Chinese).

Surely finding a good job is far more important?



Yes, finding a job is a top priority. But basically I have to pick a city to find a job in first, no? Once I sign that contract I'm also signing up for 12 months in one city - so I'm trying to think about all the aspects of life in different cities. Since you have to apply "in person" and go around to the schools and do demos, can you really apply for jobs in more than one city at a time?
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby Lili » 23 Apr 2012, 12:44

tango42 wrote:The entire country speaks Chinese (or maybe some other local dialects) 100% of the time everywhere you go. Anywhere you go will be immersive.

False.
Unless by "some other local dialects" you mean broken English.
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"...But I ended up in Taiwan," Lili.

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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby tommy525 » 23 Apr 2012, 12:51

taipei is more fun and has more places to go for day trips. But ktown has much much more sunshine and warm days :)

Adn close to Kending and east coast.
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby Feiren » 23 Apr 2012, 14:29

How immersed you will be in either city really depends on you. You can easily seal yourself off or immerse yourself in Taiwanese society depending on whether you choose to associate with other foreigners or not. This will be the same in Kaohsiung or Taipei.

I'm just back from a weekend in Tainan. I was really struck by how much more prevalent Taiwanese is down south than it is up here in Taipei.

In Kaohsiung, you will be living in a more bilingual society (Taiwanese/Mandarin) than Taipei (Mandarin very dominant).

I have the impression that foreigners in places with smaller foreign communities tend to be more caught up in the foreigner life than those in Taipei.

But I think you should question your whole premise.

You may think that 'immersing' yourself in the language and culture and avoiding the company of foreigners will help you learn the language faster. But in my experience, this is an alienating and counterproductive approach. Of course you should not socialize only with foreigners, but you may find that in some of the more bilingual parts of Taipei (Shi-Da/NTU/East Taipei), people are more used to foreigners speaking Mandarin than down south. And you may be able to learn some things from your fellow foreigners who have already learned the language and can understand and answer your questions about the language and the people.

That said, the weather is so much better in K-town and the whole city has a great, laid back vibe. I'd live there in a second if I could find interesting work.
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Re: Immersive experience: Kaohsiung vs. Taipei

Postby headhonchoII » 23 Apr 2012, 14:55

K-town has bad air pollution. It's a big metropolis. It's also hot as hell most of the year. But I do like the bike paths and what they are doing with the city!
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
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