Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

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Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby spock » 04 Jun 2012, 19:38

I will be staying for 3 months with Taiwanese family, I've been wondering are there any customs or traditions I should be aware of ?
During my stay I don't want to offend them by doing something unacceptable or inappropriate.

I got copy of Lonely Planet's Guide I've read everything about culture etc. but still I'm not sure about way I should behave in house.

I would be greafeful for some information
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby superking » 04 Jun 2012, 19:49

spock wrote:I will be staying for 3 months with Taiwanese family, I've been wondering are there any customs or traditions I should be aware of ?
During my stay I don't want to offend them by doing something unacceptable or inappropriate.

I got copy of Lonely Planet's Guide I've read everything about culture etc. but still I'm not sure about way I should behave in house.

I would be greafeful for some information



Depends on how traditional the family are, but it is more the case that you will think they are the inappropriate ones, especially at the table. In general try not to get drunk, loud and stupid and everything will be fine. Don't take more food than you can finish, and finish what you take. Try little bits of things to start with and find what you like. But wait for the others to take food first, especially with the fruit. If they have a lazy suzy (spinning table) let them turn it round and just grab stuff as it passes. If they have a grandma or grandad in the house observe what they like, and if you do get brave and risk spinning the table round, leave it so that there is something the old person likes right in front of them. Generally shoes off in the house. If you go somewhere for a day out but a box of biscuits or something to take back for them. Maybe take a bottle of scotch from your home country for the father, and some sort of brooch or scarf for the mother. If you are boiling hot, let them see it on your face and they will adjust the air con etc. Don't go in and start stabbing at the buttons, trouble lies that way. If they ask you if you want to play mah-jong my advice is to decline politely. They play for hours and it is really noisy and dull. They probably wont ask you though. If they start playing, expect not to see them for the rest of that day.

Generally do what you'd do when a guest at anyones house. Be polite, follow the family rules and keep your trap shut. :D And most important of all: HAVE FUN. :D
There are millions of people in the world. And none of those people is an extra. They're all leads in their own stories.

If you lose one sense, your other senses are enhanced. That's why people with no sense of humour have an increased sense of self-importance.

This post was recommended by archylgp (04 Jun 2012, 20:07)
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby Hamletintaiwan » 04 Jun 2012, 20:28

Don't eat too fast as they will continue throwing food at you as soon your bowl is almost empty.
In Taiwan no is yes and yes is a little greedy.

Here I give you!
No thanks, no no no and really no! Then quickly change the topic.

They might know American culture though. This could get really confusing.
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby BigJohn » 04 Jun 2012, 21:19

Don't lose your cool. If you snap at someone in a moment of exasperation it could have more serious consequences than you might guess.
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby bumclouds » 04 Jun 2012, 22:06

BigJohn wrote:Don't lose your cool. If you snap at someone in a moment of exasperation it could have more serious consequences than you might guess.


Is that speaking from experience?
Your warning level: [4]
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby Tempo Gain » 05 Jun 2012, 00:15

Help out with what you can around the house. When you ask to help they'll say "no, don't worry." Don't take it too literally though--make sure you've always cleaned up after yourself basically, and if the opportunity to do something is staring you in the face do it. I guess that's just common sense anywhere but the "no's" you get to offers of help might fool you a little bit.
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby Mick » 05 Jun 2012, 00:26

spock wrote:I got copy of Lonely Planet's Guide I've read everything about culture etc. but still I'm not sure about way I should behave in house.

I would be greafeful for some information


Perhaps Muzha man might lend his insight why after having read everything in the Lonely Planets guide, spock would be grateful for some information .
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby superking » 05 Jun 2012, 00:36

Come on Mick-la the LP isn't a comprehensive guide on to how to deal with life in a Taiwanese home, it's about what to see, where to eat and where to stay.

Are you paying to stay with your host family, Spock? If you are, then they should be used to people being all foreign, plus as a customer I wouldn't worry too much about you offending them. If it's a foreign exchange then I still wouldn't worry too much. Follow the advice above, keep your winkle in your underpants when you walk round the house and everything should be fine. Chances are dad will be walking about in his vest most of the day if you are staying anywhere outside of central Taipei. :D
There are millions of people in the world. And none of those people is an extra. They're all leads in their own stories.

If you lose one sense, your other senses are enhanced. That's why people with no sense of humour have an increased sense of self-importance.
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby touduke » 05 Jun 2012, 00:41

Brace yourself for weeks of mind boggling dull conversations & lots of TV.
And yes you have to eat the stuff grandmother offers you with her chopsticks. :D
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Re: Living with Taiwanese family - cultural differences

Postby Chris » 05 Jun 2012, 01:12

Don't sit next to any old people at mealtime. Because they WILL take mental notes of what items you're avoiding, grab it with their saliva-soaked chopsticks, and plop it into your bowl.
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