Michael A. Turton
I want to come. What should I do? Crime and Safety
What to Bring Health
Finding, Renting, Housing Money
Water Posts and Telecommunications
Transportation Personal Services
Recreation and Travel Learning Chinese
The Social Side Food in Taiwan
Driving in Taiwan Bringing Kids?
Keeping a Pet Living in Taiwan, Returning to America
Email Me Back to Teaching English in Taiwan home page
The new terminal at Taipei-Taoyuan International Airport. The terminal opened a while back after years of delays due to graft and corruption. Most visitors to Taiwan arrive at this airport.

What to Bring
When You Come To Taiwan

There is no need to know Chinese.  People have lived here successfully for years without ever learning it.


Watsons, a popular drug store chain found all over the island.
Bring several official copies of your college BA diploma and transcripts. These must be stamped by your local Taiwan representative office. Some places now demand them, and photocpies may not be acceptable. If you have an MA/PhD it is a good idea to bring several offical copies of transcripts and diplomas for those as well. You never can tell what kind of job will come down the pike, and the authorities in Taiwan love documents. Rice fields in central Taiwan.
Repeat: make sure all your transcripts and degrees are STAMPED BY YOUR LOCAL TAIWAN REP OFFICE.

A day market crowded with shoppers.
Bring an international drivers license, available at your local AAA.  It is good for three months. Local driver's licenses are a pain to obtain. See my page on Driving in Taiwan for more details.


A temple procession crowds an urban street.
Bring a thirty or forty cheap 2" X 2" passport photos AND negatives for use in the various IDs and official documents. Photos are an absolute necessity.  My paperwork for teaching at a university required a dozen. The drinks and crackers in a local supermarket.
Taiwan offers some absolutely stunning flowers. 

Bring a suit or comparable clothing suitable for interviews.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial in Taipei, currently under repair.
Bring three or four high-quality sweatshirts and sweatpants. The stuff here is low quality and relatively pricey. A betel nut girl watches the road. 
Bring the Lonely Planet Guide to Taiwan. Tea plants in Taoyuan. 
Bring a couple-three really big, fat, nice towels. Decent towels are tough to find here! Also bring some sheets and pillowcases. Sheets are expensive here.

A pile of daikons makes an inviting display for a vegetable seller.
DO NOT bring teaching materials. Everything you need can be found at the English bookstores in Taiwan, or will be supplied to you by your school.

Enjoying lunch at a local beef noodle place. Four appetizers, eggplant, broccoli, boiled peanuts, and tofu, and four bowls of soup and noodles: NT$320.
Shoppers mob a traditional market during Chinese New Year in central Taiwan. 
A thermal imaging system takes temperatures in a large public building. Welcome to the world of SARS. DO bring some children's videos and other simple English video stuff; it may come in handy for intermediate English classes.

A vendor places potstickers, a common breakfast food, in a fryer.
Quality of underwear, bras and socks here is awful, so bring a generous supply.

Sushi displayed in a night market.
Bringing kids? Read my Kids in Taiwan page

Desserts at a local coffee shop.

A common sight: neighborhood English schools. The tall white sign and the tall black sign each advertize an English school, the former teaching "International System American English," whatever that is. There is no need to take ESL courses, although they may come in handy if you teach adults. 

Caught this one as he hung a web over my lawn mower.
If you can dive don't forget your licenses and certificates. Taiwan has some superb scuba diving and there are many dive outfits all over the island.
Delectables crowd a  vendor's table at a local night market. Night markets are one of the island's best traditions. No shots are needed right now. Malaria is not a problem, so there is no need to take pills. That situation may change in the future, so stay tuned. Vitamins are now readily obtainable. 

Be sure to get your bank's ABA number so you can send money home through the banking system.

As soon as you settle down on the island, get some business cards made at your cheap local printers.  Taiwanese love to collect business cards, and a stray card may hit on a wonderful job someday. 

Practically anything else you could ever want can be found at competitive prices in Taiwan. Computers can be bought dirt cheap and service is often quite good. Clothing can be had cheap as well so don't bring much. Heavy winter clothes are not necessary but a heavy jacket will come in handy in the winter. 

Digital cameras are available all over the island. 

A common sight in Taiwan: parts.  Many expats return with breadmakers and VCRs, but we have found that the lifespan of western electronics here is short. In any case everything is available here now. There's no need to bring anything.
I want to come. What should I do? Crime and Safety Recreation and Travel Bringing Kids?
What to Bring Health Learning Chinese Keeping a Pet
Finding, Renting, Housing Money The Social Side Living in Taiwan, Returning to America
Water Posts and Telecommunications Food in Taiwan
Transportation Personal Services Driving in Taiwan Back to Teaching English in Taiwan home page