This post follows up on Part 1. If you haven’t read it, do so by clicking here.
As I was flying to Taiwan, I couldn’t shake the worrying feeling off me. I was calm on the outside, but on the inside there was this apparent terror that I will now have to find some kind of job in a country I don’t speak the language of. It was not a very relaxing flight in that regard.
I saw a very pleasantly surprised customs officer as I presented my passport. I guessed it must have been the first time he saw a Working Holiday sticker in a passport, accompanied by a loud “Ohh”. It probably was a pleasant change from the thousands of travel permits that mainland Chinese carry, which dominate the “Foreign Passports” line at immigration. He stamped me in with no further questions.
I was greeted by a nice, fresh Taiwanese winter breeze, which really feels more like spring in Europe. This was fantastic, as the only weather I had known from Taiwan so far is hot and humid. We took a bus to Taichung and made ourselves comfortable in Yuilys home. For the rest of the day I was still feeling somewhat gloomy and pessimistic.
The pessimism mostly faded as I came to a couple of realizations:
- Taiwan is a country with very cheap living costs, so my savings were going to carry me for at least half a year without earning any money.
- I could try earning money by freelancing in print design over the internet.
- If really nothing would work out, I could start a Working Holiday in Australia after 6 months. Only as a last resort, because it would mean leaving Yuily for a while.
Having more clear scenarios of what would happen next, my mood became a lot better. Additionally, a few days after I arriving, I found this article. I wasn’t eligible for a Taiwanese residence card (ARC), but I could instead get a Taiwanese ID number, which fills the same purpose. This was really important, as I read before that without this number it’s difficult to impossible to apply for anything.
I went to the Immigration Department a few days later to pick up my number, which was a super easy process. It’s a simple paper that just states that this is an official government ID number, it’s connected to my passport and to be used wherever I would otherwise need an ARC.
With this paper in hand, it was possible to apply for a bank account, although I needed some translation help from Yuily as we did it in a local branch.
I was now good to go to apply for jobs. With my abysmal Mandarin, I only really saw chances in the language teaching area, even though I had next to no experience. Since we arrived Yuily pointed out English language schools to me and the sheer amount of them gave me hope. I even found two language schools in Taichung that teach German and so I applied to them by personally bringing in my resume.
There were some more good resources that I found: The websites myu.com.tw and tealit.com allowed me to put up ads for myself as a tutor and this Facebook group advertising available Teachers in Taichung also seemed like a good start. All of these resources would eventually bear fruit and get me private tutoring hours, all for German.
Only little over one week later I had an e-mail in my inbox with the subject “Classes for German teacher Stephan”. I had some work. But what was working going to be like?