Jacob found happiness in Taiwan !

Expat of the month
Published on 2019-06-28 at 07:41 by Anne-Lise Mty
The blogger behind Taiwan Foreigner initially left the USA for a semester abroad. It has been over a year and he is not planning on going back soon. The young Jacob fell in love with life in Taiwan and shares his love for the country on his blog.

How did you end up in Taiwan, Jacob? 

I originally came to Taiwan to finish my master's degree. My international relations major  needed a foreign language credit and I didn't want to come back in the fall semester so my graduate advisor recommended I apply for the Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance (TUSA) scholarship program. It was a two month intensive Chinese language program at NCKU in Tainan, Taiwan. 

What did you like so much about Taiwan that made you not want to go back? 

To put it simply, I was happy here. I had gone through a breakup the year previously and was struggling with that as well as being stuck in the Midwest where I felt out of place. When I had been here for a few weeks, I started to really experience what it feels like to be happy and that just continued throughout the year. Taiwan offers so many great things. The quality of  life here is way beyond what I could have in the US without making a lot of money. If I wanted, I could spend time in ultra-modern Taipei and then go swim with sea turtles in the same day. 

What do you do in Taiwan these days? 

After I made the decision to live here, I realized that the easiest way for me to stay here permanently was to get a job teaching English. It's the easiest option open to foreigners in a lot of Asian countries. So the last month of my study abroad program I spent visiting different English schools in Tainan. Eventually I found the one that I am currently working at and have been there for almost a year. 

What is the most difficult thing about living far from home? 

I'm not sure. Sometimes I miss my family, but if I was still in the US, I would have had to move away from them anyway. I do get cravings for Mexican food. There's a few Mexican restaurants in Tainan, but one of them isn't really good and the other doesn't offer corn tortillas. 

The best thing?

I'm able to be myself without worrying about what my friends or family think. In fact, I don't worry about very much anymore. Life in Taiwan is a lot more carefree than it is in the US. That isn't to say that there is nothing to worry about here. China is constantly threatening to invade Taiwan and until other countries decide to stand up to China and recognize Taiwan as a real country, Taiwan is stuck in a type of purgatory.  

Do you go back often?

I haven't been back yet. I told my parents that they need to visit Taiwan before I go back. I've also suggested having my younger sister come stay for the summer so she can experience life in another country while she's still young. I'd like to visit some other countries first before I visit the US again. Going back is fairly far down the list of my plans for the future. 

How did you come with the idea of starting a blog?

I was using Instagram and Facebook to share my photos and experiences, but they aren't a great place to share your thoughts, so I started blogging. The blog isn't just for me though. I also write articles that help foreigners visiting Taiwan. I've learned a lot living here and want to share my knowledge with other visitors to make their experience of Taiwan as best as possible. 

Any other expat projects?

I started a YouTube channel to start recording motovlogs when I visit different places in Taiwan. Right now, I only take photos for Instagram and then write a brief article for my blog about its history and what I thought. I'd like to start making videos, so the YouTube channel is just another way to share Taiwan with everyone. Unfortunately, it's the rainy season, so I haven't been able to record much, but once the rains stops I'll be back out there. In the future, I see myself sharing Taiwan through all three mediums and fleshing out my websites with more content. I also want to improve my Chinese, so I recently started seeing a tutor over the weekends.