Taiwan Luthiers wrote:My Mandarin level is much better than the OP but had the same issue too.
If you can't stick it out in the US (you can also work online even in the US) then come back to Taiwan, do your military (you may or may not like it... the cultural difference and defeatist attitude really gets me "Kill the commanding officer if China attacks and surrender"??) Then after military try and get yourself in the position of starting a business, because it's the ONLY way to make any real money in Taiwan. Employed work pays like crap but will give experience. The problem with online work is that the income is often inconsistent.
Forget university... English programs favor foreigners and having a TW passport is actually a curse here. You would have to take the regular entrance exam, which I haven't taken but if it's anywhere near as hard as the exam for government jobs, you have NO chance. It would take at least 10 years at Shi-Da to be able to get to the point where you can have a chance at passing those exams. Remember most Taiwanese study at least 10 hours a day, going to cram schools, for the last 12 years in order to even do mediocre at those exams! Besides there are so many college grads here (many of whom actually have a degree at a US Ivy League school) that employers aren't interested in hearing about which school you went to. If you have the right skill set they will hire you regardless of your degrees. Also, you don't need a degree to start a business. If you really need a degree then you may consider University of Phoenix if you can afford it, but seriously I feel its a waste of time and money because I never really got to use the degree. In that case all they really want to see is your high school transcript from the US and they won't make you take a TOFEL if you show them a US High School diploma, much easier than taking the Taiwan college entrance exam in my opinion.
About a 10 year ban, might as well consider it a lifetime ban because US is so paranoid that even a little smudge on your record is grounds for exclusion or refusal of visa/entry. Visa Wavier DOES NOT APPLY if you have ever overstayed, even once, and unlike many other countries, US actively deports and excludes those who overstayed as a child... they do not care. Although it does depend on who you talk to... because immigration guys (whoever at the window that is) have absolute power in deciding if you can get a visa.
Frankly, TL is giving a pretty damn great advice here.
On the business part, it really depends on whether the OP has the knack and the luck to make it here. For 1% of folks who made it ok here in the 'wan, business-wise, there are 99% of those who fail. I wouldn't press my luck there.
Yes, but you can't just start a business just because you want to make more money and you don't care what you do. For restaurants or coffee bars, you need to do your research, location matters a lot and it helps to offer something really unique too. For example don't become a legal consultant if you don't know anything about laws, and cramming at the last minute will NOT help you here. Do what you're best at, if you have skills in car repair, start an auto repair shop as soon as you have the money to get a place and some tools. You don't need to buy all the tools at once, you can always start small and work your way up. But seriously don't come to Taiwan unless you like Asia, and if you have no choice allow time to prepare yourself. You can get used to it but it's going to be a very long culture shock, especially when locals do not see you as a Taiwanese and therefore discriminates you just like any other foreigner, yet still expects you to bear the responsibility of a Taiwanese (hong baos, taxes, military, etc.)
Obama asked the DHS not to deport child immigrants, but there's no telling how long that will last as the executive order only last 2 years, and if a right wing president wins the next election you can bet things will be much worse. Xenophobia in the US only goes in one direction, and that is worse. You may even just decide to prepare (and use the two year for this) and come to Taiwan because the way things are, its only a matter of time before more civil liberties are eroded (as if things aren't bad enough already). As bad as things seem in Taiwan they are slowly improving and as a nation Taiwan is actually pretty rich compared to the US. Lots of trade surplus, low if any public and private debt and limited government spending. It's also easier to start a business here than the US because you don't have too many laws stopping you, or if laws are there they're kinda not enforced. In this case use your 2 years to gain the experience you need to start a business.
If you do end up coming back I can help with some of the adjustment thing and how to find things too. One thing you will have to get used to is that names for stuff in Taiwan are not the same for the US, and a direct translation will not help you. Also its hard to find many things, and the "Where can I find" forum isn't always helpful if you're looking for stuff the average expat doesn't look for (like lumber). Get used to fireworks too, because people do light them at any time, especially outside Taipei city.