Long-Term Housing in Taiwan
If you’re planning to stay in one place for an extended period of time, but not long enough to rent a room or an apartment, youth hotels (not to be confused with youth hostels) are a good option.
Those listed below are similar to college dormitories and are great places to meet young people from around the world.
Inquire about rates for extended stays, because they’re discounted significantly.
Finding an Apartment
Renting an apartment with friends is a popular alternative for longer-term English teachers and students. Check notices at the Chinese-language schools or ask other teachers. Some teachers give their landlords private English lessons in exchange for rent reductions.
Although communication can be done through makeshift sign language, remember that landlords are business people. It’s not a good idea to nod and smile without fully understanding the contract you are signing. Apartment hunters should always take along a translator.
Once you’ve found a place that you like, check into the following before signing the lease:
- Telephone: Having a phone is especially important for those planning to teach privately or socialize. Try to have the phone hooked up before moving in, because it is difficult to communicate with a phone company employee who can’t understand you (and vice versa).
- Shower: Many people in Taiwan only take baths, so if you can’t live without a shower, make sure there is one. Also, check for a hot water heater and a full propane tank to fuel it.
- Utilities: You’ll probably be expected to pay extra for electricity, water , and propane.
- Air conditioning: You’ll find that it’s worth the extra money if you plan to be in Taiwan in the summer.
Finally, make sure you fully understand the lease. You’ll probably be asked to leave a security deposit and to make a commitment for six months to one year. Keep in mind that terms are often negotiable and many Chinese people love to bargain.
Living with a Chinese Family
Can be an excellent look into Chinese culture and a great way to practice your Mandarin; however, learn from our mistakes and take a few precautions:
- Most families will not let you use their phone because they know the majority of your calls would be to friends halfway around the world. Make sure there’s a pay phone nearby.
- Many Chinese people bathe in the evening. If you can’t adjust to this, make sure they have no objections to you showering in the morning.
- Establish a few ground rules. This is especially important to people who are as interested in learning Chinese as they are in teaching English.