Hello, everyone! I’m an EIU alumna and current employee at HESS International Educational Group in Taiwan.
Overall, my experience teaching and living abroad has been filled with incredible moments and opportunities. I taught children’s English classes for a couple of years before moving into the human resources department at our company’s corporate office. I’ve lived in Taiwan for almost five years, and while I could go on and on about my experiences here, I will try to keep it to just a brief snapshot.
The first thing that stands out is something frequently mentioned about Taiwan: the people. The locals are unbelievably welcoming and helpful, and the foreigners come from all over with their own little piece of the world to share.
It’s not unusual for Taiwanese people to go out of their way to personally escort you to a gas station across town or chase you down the street to return the wallet you’ve left in a restaurant. Likewise, it’s commonplace for foreigners to strike up a conversation about which neighboring country is best to visit or invite you to join them at a dinner table. The people I’ve met have helped me to embrace Taiwan and enjoy all the things it has to offer.
When you live in a different place, you also start to re-evaluate the way you look at everything around you–and the way you look at yourself. You start to realize both how big and how small the world is.
Last Thanksgiving, HESS asked teachers what they were thankful for. We made videos depicting what we loved about Taiwan, teaching, children, friends, family, etc. It was an open-ended invitation to capture the truly enjoyable parts of life. We compiled those videos and called it “The Thank You Project.” (You can view the whole project here)
In my HESS Thank You Project video, I talked about a former teacher who used to say, “The more you know, the more you know the less you know.” This is definitely true of my time in Taiwan. There’s always something new to learn, always a challenge to be faced, always an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. For better or worse, as soon as you feel like you have something all figured out, you’re reminded you that you don’t. This can be a frustrating thing, but it can also keep you fresh and open-minded. If you can embrace those opportunities to grow, there’s always something new and exciting to experience.
It’s interesting to hear about perspectives, and there are plenty to be found all around us. If you haven’t already, definitely consider living, teaching, or traveling abroad to experience things that you might not get to at home. If you’re thinking about teaching abroad, I would recommend Taiwan as a great starting point.
Lastly, to everyone, I would encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and be willing to embrace the good as well as the difficult. Given the change, it will broaden the way you look at just about everything.
I’m happy to discuss any of these topics further, so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!