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Above: The great view from my apartment.

Images

Typical Apartment Complex
Typical Taiwan Apartment Security Guard

Security Guard lights a cigarette
Typical Taiwan apartment security guard 

Housing in Taiwan

Housing provided by your school.

The school I taught at owned apartments that were rented to teachers as "dormitories". Basically this allowed teachers to focus on working rather than finding a place. Dormitories may be beneficial when you first arrive as it will likely be furnished (with furniture and hopefully teaching materials!). Also, the school will most likely provide these accomodations at a reduced rate.

Finding an apartment.

If you want to find your own place to live, it is best to enlist the help of someone familiar with the area to help meet your needs.

Cost of an apartment.

Prices vary depending on the locale. Typically bigger cities have higher rents and lower rents can be found if you are willing to live far away from the city. My efficiency apartment (with patio, hardwood floors, half kitchen, full bath, lots of storage space) only cost $165 USD per month, a real steal! I also had to pay the property manager water and electricity.

How safe is living in Taiwan?

The only problem that is common for both foreigners and Taiwanese citizens is break-ins and robberies. I was no exception, the burglar broke in through a small window only accessible through a landing on the 6th floor. The guy (or gal?) was brave to walk along a little ledge 6 stories up and then crawl through a window. I guess it was a teen since the window opening wasn't that large. Fortunately I wasn't home and not much was stolen. I've often heard stories of foreigners getting their apartment broken into. I guess it's a common thing since there are so many people living close together. But other than that, I was never robbed, attacked, maced, beaten-up, threatened or anything.

In the 2 photos below, are two front views of my apartment building. It is a 12 story building with the first 3 floors reserved for businesses. The bottom left entrance is to the underground parking garage, accessible by a car elevator and really small parking garage. Motorcycles line the front of the apartment. The name of my apartment building is named "The Clinton".

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My typical Taiwan Apartment:


Should I get a roommate?

A roommate would definitely lower your expenses and may make your stay in Taiwan better or worse. When I lived in Hsinchu, the employees of the Hsinchu Science and Technology Park (similar to Silicon valley in California) often rent a small apartment during the week and return home on weekends.

Little gun violence in Taiwan.

I was surprised to learn from watching the news that most crime in Taiwan involves beatings, stabbings and the occasional envious ex boyfriend pouring some corrosive acid on his ex-girlfriend! There are not too many stories of shootings since Taiwan strictly prevents citizens from owning guns. Even the shooting of Chen Shui-Bian the day before the presidential election in 2004 involved a modified toy gun. The whole time I was there, maybe about 2 or 3 shootings, and the shootings usually involve gangs that are affiliated with international gangs. As with all things in life, correlation does not mean causation and I gun control laws do help and hurt the people they are trying to protect.

FE21 Taiwan Department StoreBesides Sogo Department Stores, Far Eastern or (FE21, shown at left) also has great shopping, a great food court and the Warner Village movie theatre.

What about utilities (water, electricity, cable)?

I'm not sure if this is normal elsewhere in Taiwan, however, I paid my electric and water bill with the property managers who lived on the 4th floor. For the cable bill, the cable bill collector guy (I completely forgot his name even though we have chatted often!) would stop by each apartment to collect the bill. It only cost $15 US dollars for lots of channels! And you get CNN, Animal Planet, Showtime, Cinemax and my favorite --- Discovery channel.