Settling In Taiwan
My name is Sam, and I am a coordinator responsible for foreign teachers in Hsinchu City. My mission is to help foreign teachers to settle down in Taiwan, including work permit applications, bank account opening, house-hunting, school relationships, and whatever you can think of. This job gives me chances to meet people from different countries who are also from different backgrounds. What I will be narrating is a special case I have encountered.
Gemma used to work in Taoyuan City, Taiwan in 2017 and continued her contracts for three years. She left Taiwan for her home in 2020 and had a baby in 2021. In 2022, she decided to come back to Taiwan and continue what she was professional at. But this time, she was coming with a baby.
In the beginning, she reached out to Teach Taiwan, expressing her will to work in Taiwan again. I was assigned to contact her. Everything was going as usual like how I have helped other teachers. Unexpectedly, she added additional words that she would be coming with a 1-year-old baby. I did not see that coming. At that time, the border was open to family members of foreign teachers.
It is a good thing I have a very experienced and helpful colleague, Tracy, who reminded me of asking her to bring a TECO-authenticated birth certificate of her baby. And I was relieved I did so.
Gemma finally arrived in Taiwan with her baby and they stayed in a hotel in Hsinchu City. She and her baby needed to be quarantined for 10 days, so I had to help her find a daycare center and a house within 10 days, which these two places had to be close to each other and reachable to her school. I called all the daycare centers in Hsinchu City, pretty much each of which, however, had been occupied. Fortunately, there was one daycare center that had one more seat left. At first, the daycare center tended not to take more children in because daycare centers are given a number of children they can take in based on how many qualified babysitters they have by the city government. And at the same time, I found an apartment that its landlord was willing to rent his house to a foreigner close to the daycare center. I immediately booked both of them, not because I didn’t want to check other places but because I literally didn’t have a choice. Luckily, the rent falls within her budget and the distance is satisfactory.
After everything was settled, I took her to shop for necessities after she checked out of the quarantine hotel. Her baby enjoyed having a ride in the car and could fall asleep in a blink. He was also curious about everything around him when we were at the supermarket. When it was about lunchtime, he was so hungry that he started losing his temper and crying. It was the most awkward moment for me because everyone around us thought I was the father. Gemma felt embarrassed, too, so she quickly fed him a bottle of milk.
On the day Gemma was supposed to report to the school, we planned to meet at the daycare center and we walked to the bus stop 5 minutes before the bus scheduled time so that we could see the exact time the bus could actually arrive. We practiced the route and fortunately, it all went well. To my surprise, her school was quite a distance away from her place, but it only took her 10 minutes to get there by bus. I drove a car and it took me 15 minutes to school. So now the bus is on a Fast and Furious project?
Anyways, the school told me they liked her teaching style, solid, strict, and complete. She was dedicated to preparing lesson plans without any effort left.
I once asked Gemma why she decided to come back to Taiwan with her son instead of the country in which her fiancée was teaching. She said, “We have different favor of lifestyles and I love the environment in Taiwan. I was also hoping my son could teach me Chinese someday. And based on my experience, I think it is also a good opportunity for him to perceive a different culture in the path of his growth.”
Shared by Coordinator Sam Liao