Teaching English abroad in Taiwan 2015

Teaching English abroad in Taiwan
A going away party for teacher Becky

Teaching English abroad in Taiwan 2015

Teaching English abroad in Taiwan is an interesting experience available to English speakers with a degree. There are different views on teaching English in Taiwan both from locals and from foreigners. I taught English in Taiwan for 4 months at a cram school and currently teach adults a couple times a month. Recently an American friend in Taiwan asked me these set of questions so I thought I would put together a Teaching English in Taiwan resource for 2015. I don’t claim to know everything, but I thought I would share as much as I know. When I was doing my research to be an English teacher I was already in Taiwan and had to go through the Formusa forums or some good, but outdated blog posts. As a digital nomad trying to get your business off the ground teaching English can provide another stable revenue steam. Its time to share what I know based on my experience to help you out.

How much can you earn?

The standard hourly rate is 580nt (obo$18.23 US). You will also get taxed on this amount. With a monthly part-time 20 hour contract I think I was earning around 39,000nt per month. Don’t quote me on that, but that is the general ball park range. If you teach outside a private school and you have more experience you could earn from 600-800nt hour.

Do you get paid for holidays or typhoon days?

Typhoon days you ask? Yes, I experienced one typhoon day in Taiwan, and it happens from time to time. Basically you get to spend the day at home, but you don’t get paid for it. Other holidays in Taiwan or vacation you take you don’t get paid for either. I know this sucks as you may in the country you live in. I did in Vancouver.

What other benefits can you expect?

If it is a larger school you can expect a health card, an ARC (resident visa to work and live), and if you’re lucky you may get access to a non-interest loan of up to 30,000nt. If you are working less than 20 hours it is likely you will not get any benefits. The health card is actually quite useful as it gives you access to good quality healthcare. For example a teeth cleaning will normally cost 1000-1300nt, but with the NHA card you can expect to pay 200nt.

How many hours will yo get?

For a part-time contract I believe I was getting 20 hours per week at the cram school. You can expect to be asked to sub (fill-in ) for other English teachers, which will bump up your hours.

What qualifications and requirements do you need?

For a cram school they require the original copy of your degree. The scanned copy will not do. I actually had to ship my degree from Canada to Taiwan. For more specific requirements please refer to the HESS site. You will need to hold a passport from one of these English speaking countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, The United Kingdom and The United States.

How and how often will you get paid?

Normally your monthly salary will be paid out the following month. The interesting thing is you will get an envelope with a slip and a big wad of cash on payday. This may seem strange for Westerners used to electronic automatic direct deposit. It is a bit of an inconvenience as you might need to make a special trip to get your pay. If you have a class that day you don’t, but you’ll have the responsibility of looking after your entire months day until your shift is over. As teachers didn’t get any secure locker or area I ended up stuffing this wad of cash in my jean pocket. Mentally you may feel rich on pay day, but be spend carefully otherwise you may be eating 5nt dumplings and 7-11 take out until the next payday.

How does the teaching thing work?

In a nutshell if you are new to the country the larger schools will arrange for you to stay at a hotel during the first week. You’ll get orientation, culture training, as well as training for about a month at the headquarters. Next, you will be assigned to a branch office where you will teach. You can request where you will teach, but are not guaranteed to teach at this location. Once at the branch you may observe an existing teacher before beginning your first class. You will get a schedule with your classes on a slip of paper. Usually in each class you will have a Chinese teacher whose job is to assist you. In my experience the Chinese teachers will likely have more experience than you and have sharper grammar than you so don’t be surprised if they interrupt you or report your mistakes to your manager. For each class you will teach you will receive a set of books. These books will contain the lesson plans and curriculum that you will be teaching. You will be responsible for marking homework. Do not be surprised if the Chinese teacher audits your homework grading. In some classes the Chinese teacher will teach the same set of students on alternate days so you will need to get the graded homework back to them before their class. If you fail to do so you will quickly get on their bad side as I experienced. To get back on their good side you may need to earn your guanxi back by treating them to a Starbucks drink.

How much time will I need to spend outside of the classroom?

You will be responsible for grading homework and all tests. You’re also going to need to be well prepared for your lessons. Teaching is like a performance. Once you begin class you’re performance begins until the break. For lower level classes this is not too difficult and may average 15-40 minutes for lesson planning and grading. Of course this varies with the number of students. For higher-level classes the grammar and grading gets more difficult. The amount of time can go up from 40-80 minutes. As you get more familiar with the material and get into a flow these times may drop. I used to take a notebook and scribble notes, which made lesson planning really slow. I tried typing out the notes, but I found it hard to get access to a computer at my branch. The most effective tip that my manager gave me was to just use post-it notes and just stick them on the books. This way you didn’t need to keep flipping back between your books and your notes.

How many students per class and how old are they?

Depending on the class you may get lucky and have 5 students, but sometimes you can get larger classes with up to 20 students. Generally the students I taught ranged from 5 – 15. If you get the kindergarten classes they are couple years younger.

What are the hours?

Classes are generally in the evenings between 5-9pm Mon – Fridays. Each class is 2 hours in length. You get a 10-minute break between each class, which is just enough time to relocate and setup for the next class. There are also classes on Saturday mornings. I taught on Friday nights until 9pm and had an 8:30am Saturday class. I never got used to it.

I’ve never taught before?

It is okay they will provide all the training. In my experience the training was not enough. Most of what I learned was just to start teaching and make plenty of mistakes and ask questions.

What are some of the schools to teach at?

There are a ton of schools to teach at. The largest schools to teach at are: Hess, Kojen, Reach to Teach, and Happy Mariam

Where can you find English teaching jobs?

tealit.com
http://myu.com.tw
Facebook groups: Need a Sub Teacher or Want to Sub Teacher in Taiwan?

What is a cram school?

A cram school is additional schooling for Taiwanese children after their regular school.

What is it like to teach children?

It depends on your class. To be honest I think they can be a handful if you don’t know how to manage them. The younger ones have a lot of energy and at times I felt like I was baby-sitting. It’s important to learn some classroom management techniques otherwise you’ll spend more time managing them than actually teaching. Some techniques involve offering rewards for good behavior. It works. On the positive side it does feel good to share the language with students, I just feel that the system you are required to follow is too rigid.

What is the experience like?

For Taiwan teaching English is considered to be a decent paying job. I think your English teaching experience will be shaped by the school you teach at, the location it is, your colleagues, and the students. Teaching English was an option that I needed at the time and I was grateful for that. Doing this job also helped me to discover the teacher in me, which led to me teaching courses through the Internet. I also built up even more comfort teaching and performing in front of people, which is a transferable skill. I had some fun making some friends from my training class and going for drinks with the other English teachers. However for me it wasn’t sustainable. The hours I had to work essentially replaced my social life. Most of the events I wanted to go were when I was teaching. Most of all being a digital nomad I wanted the freedom to do what I loved. If you are just starting your life in Taiwan teaching English can be a good way to ease yourself into the country. They educate you on culture shock; you’ll probably make fast friends with the other English-speaking teachers, and the pay is decent enough to live off of.

If you have taught English in Taiwan have you had a difference experience?

If you enjoyed this article I am currently working on an e-book on my Taiwan working holiday experience sharing my stories, tips, and adventures. Be sure to share your email for updates on the books release date.

Digital nomad in Taiwan for about $1000US a month

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It’s hard to imagine I’ve lived in Taipei for almost a year and 4 months. During this time I spent some time learning Chinese, teaching English, and building several businesses on the Internet. It wasn’t until I met a fellow Canadian that came to visit Taipei that I began to think of myself as a Digital nomad.

What is a digital nomad?

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Digital nomad lifestyle in Maui

A digital nomad is someone that earns money on the Internet. It is the idea that you can do work where you are free of the constraints of being in your office. In fact you can do it anywhere in the world. I spend most of my time working from home or the many cafe’s throughout Taipei.  The type of businesses can vary. There are developers and coders that have clients in other countries like South Africa, but they are able to do their work from a country like Taiwan. Usually it makes sense to live in a country that has lower costs, but where you can earn overseas money to maximize your situation. A digital nomad is not limited to a coder. I myself create video stock footage and sell them through stock agencies on the Internet like Pond5. Some people earn income from youtube, google adsense, and being an affiliate for different products. I also create courses that are in video format that are available and sold on learning platforms like Udemy.com and have also began publishing and selling Travel adventures on Amazon Kindle. I believe the idea of traveling and being able to work anywhere over an Internet connection was popularized by the book “the 4 hour work week” by Tim Ferris. There are different types of Digital nomads of course. I prefer to spend 3 months or longer before traveling to a nearby country. There are some digital nomads that travel more frequently.

 

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Working with a cafe in Taipei

What is passive income?

Again this idea I believe was also made popular my Tim Ferris. It is the idea that you can do work upfront that earns you can income while you sleep. While it’s not always while you sleep you can create a digital products like an e-book and then put it up for sale. The courses I create are in video format and once on the internet the sale of the course happens automatically through the platform. You can automate the sales transaction and the delivery of the product to the customer so you could be having dinner when  you can get an email from Paypal telling you that you have money. Another advantage of this type of income is that once you have created your product or service it can continue to bring in a regular income so you can move onto the next project. An example is that I built a course on making money with travel videos that sells every month. I am now free to build a new course that there is a cumulative effect.

The experience of being a Digital Nomad in Taiwan

Let’s start with basic needs. Shelter, connectivity, food, transport, and social life. Compared to Vancouver and other North American cities I found just about everything cheaper in Taipei. I traveled to many places around the world from Singapore, Australia, and South Africa. Taiwan is one of the most Internet Wifi friendly cities that I’ve traveled to. The Taiwanese love their wifi and their smartphones. Just look at the number of people looking at their phones with power banks attached to their phones. Rent is cheap compared to apartments in North America. You can get 3 or 6 month contracts ready to move in that are fully furnished and have fast Internet. I’ve observed directly and heard from many local Taiwanese friends that there are more foreigners now in Taipei in the past year or so. Taiwan is often overlooked, but I believe it is a gem in Asia and the word is getting out. Taiwan is a food paradise with local specialties like noodles, soup, and rice available at cheap prices. Food is cheap enough that I can eat out almost every meal giving me more time to work on my business. Transportation is convenient and cheap with numerous options from the MRT, bus, u-bike, or Taxi. There are also plenty of social and business events to meet new friends and fellow entrepreneurs around Taipei. There is a happening nightlife in Taipei if that is your thing. Because of convenient and cheap transportation you can have a good time without worrying about driving.

The bottom line is Taipei is a good choice for being a digital nomad. You can get connected, live and eat at a low cost. I’m not promoting this, but you can purchase a can of Taiwan beer for 35nt and drink it in a 7-11 or out on the street. Taiwan is a clean, safe, and modern city. Taiwan is also a foreign friendly city with low cost healthcare. It is easy and cheap to get around. However, to get the most out of Taiwan it definitely helps to speak Chinese Mandarin. You can get by on English though.

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Working with a cafe in Taipei

Costs of being a Digital Nomad in Taiwan

I’ve read about costs of being a digital nomad in techinasia.com’s article and the Digital nomad guide’s site. Techinasia has claimed a cost of $2121. I wanted to share with you a breakdown of my actual monthly costs of being a digital nomad in Taipei that is approximately $1071 US. Note that Taipei is the most expensive city in Taiwan. You could travel to Kaoshiung, the second largest city in Taiwan and reduce your accommodation costs by 40%. This is hearsay from a local friend, and I haven’t had a chance to look up the rental costs myself. Ok lets begin

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Local Taiwan breakfast

Digital nomad monthly budget in Taipei, Taiwan

Accommodation in the central Taipei – 16,000NT Food (based on a 400nt daily budget) –  12,000nt Transportation – 1500nt Entertainment – 2000nt Cafe – 2000NT Mobile monthly wifi 2gb 320nt Total 34,020 NT  US $1071 $1283 CDN 706 GBP There is no tax added on for most expenses for the customer. Most places don’t ask for tips except for nicer or western style restaurants. Of course you are probably wondering the assumptions behind the figures. I live near central Taipei, which is considered more on the high end. If you live in New Taipei City (20 minutes MRT across the river) you can expect to pay about 10,000nt a month. If you share a 2 bedroom apartment with a roomate you could pay 25,000nt in the Da-an area. Included in the the accommodation is High speed Internet, furniture, television, garbage service, and a small kitchen. It is normal to eat out every meal in Taiwan because it is good and cheap. Some apartments don’t have a kitchen area. I normally like to eat a healthy hot oat breakfast with fruit and then I’ll buy a noodle or rice dish for lunch and dinner. A bowl of beef noodles at a local shop goes for $130nt $4.11. You can go more expensive for western foods like a good burger and fries at Bravo Burger for 270nt $8.56Us or get a bbq chicken leg rice dish with vegetables, soup, and drink for 90nt $2.85. You can get around 1 way on the MRT to most locations in Taipei for 25nt one way .79 cents US. If you take the bus it is 15nt or .47 US. If you take the U-bike (free bike rental) to your destination in under 30 minutes it is free. The MRT is modern, fast, and has extensive coverage throughout the city. As I am central I save money on my transport as I don’t have to travel that far. I budgeted about 50nt per day to arrive at the that figure. If you need a taxi for those times on the weekend you can get to most locations from the Xinyi nightlife district  for 200nt or under $6.34.

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Taiwan tomatoe beef noodles – Taiwan offers great good and cheap prices

Starbucks cafe’s allow you to get a tall black coffee for 80nt and offer a good environment to work in. Note that not all Starbucks are equal. Some will be offer more space and offer plug outlets. If you buy a Starbucks card you get 2 hours daily free wifi. Local coffee shops like Mr. Brown you can get a coffee and unlimited daily Internet. If you go to the trendy cafe’s you’re looking to pay 130nt $4.11 US for an Americano. There are many choices with varying prices for Wifi. I heard that that 7-11 offers free wifi if you sign up and that’s completely free. If you’re heading for a night our you can expect to pay about $230nt for a pint of Heineken. $150nt for a small glass of wine. I use a mobile sim card on a 2gb plan which I think is super cheap. This isn’t your full-time connection for work, but good for communication with your friends or checking email when you don’t have coverage. Most cafe’s and restaurants will have wifi to converse your data, and when you have depleted you can always refill at different increments. 180nt $5.70Us will give you another 1GB. Do you have similar or different experiences in Taiwan. Please comment. Would you like to share your Digital nomad experience in another city that you live. Please comment.

Where to go for great cheap local food Where to go for good Western food in Taipei Where to go to relax and exercise ( Gyms, Pools, hotsprings) Current prices of food, shelter, food, clothing and more Where to meet new friends Which areas and neighbourhoods to stay and work Which bars and clubs to visit in Taipei’s nightlife How and where to find an apartment (without overpaying) How to meet other Entrepreneurs living in Taiwan How to stay safe in Taipei Where to get the the fastest and cheapest SIM-card plans with mobile data with the exact address Tips on hacking Chinese with technology Cultural differences and how to cope with them

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A wine event in Taipei. Taipei’s nightlife has a lot to offer
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A sample local restaurant menu
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A local cafe menu in Taipei

 

Taiwan Working Holiday – Event Dec 15th Vancouver

I had an idea to talk about my Taiwan working holiday experience before I returned to Vancouver.  I scheduled an event on Eventbrite and was actually surprised once I started getting some ticket sales. After all this was my first paid talk and and an experiment. Once I got to Vancouver I found a great spot at the Tree Organic coffee shop on Pacific and Richards st in Yaletown Vancouver. Thanks for the coffee shop for reserving the space and letting me use the projector. This is a nice quiet coffee shop near the waterfront. After some weeks I started to see more paid tickets and came to the realization that I was actually going to do this talk. I put together some slides on slideshare, but I already knew most of the material I just used it as a reference to keep me on track. I brought out my camera to video record 47 minutes of the talk.

Taiwan working holiday
The talk in Yaletown Vancouver

Highlights of the talk

 

  • The experience of a Working Holiday in Taiwan and what Taiwan can offer someone in Vancouver
  • Living in Taiwan
  • The experience and freedom of leaving a job and go travel the world
  • Teaching English in Taiwan
  • Making friends in a new country
  • Creativity on making your own income through the Internet. Earning a passive income on the Internet writing Amazon kindle books, Teaching on-line travel video courses, freelancing, and selling video footage on the Internet

 

 

 

Lessons learned from this experience


First this experiment paid off. It feels great that people actually paid to hear me talk. To me that is market validation that I have something of value to share. Second this was the first time using the Eventbrite platform to schedule a paid event and it worked out very well.  The third, is that it’s worth it to try and see how it works out. If this talk didn’t workout then it wasn’t the end of the world, but at least I tried. Luckily in this case it did work out, and I already see some things I can improve on for next time.


I really enjoyed doing this paid talk and sharing valuable tips, stories, and experiences with the audience. I would like to do a lot more talks like this around the world as I feel I’ve invested a lot of time especially the last 4 years on experiences that most people will never have the chance to experience. At least they can hear firsthand what is was like to leave the corporate life and have the taste of freedom. I also realize that I don’t really get nervous speaking in front of a crowd anymore. Once upon a time during high school I dreaded speeches. since those days I’ve done so many presentations during the MBA, run many work meetings, and have taught many classes in Taiwan, and talked in front of the camera many times during the past 4 years that I’m just comfortable with it.


If you are looking for another revenue stream and you enjoy public speaking as well and have something of valuable you think others would like to hear then maybe you can try a paid talk like I have.

Video highlights from the event

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full version


Here are some highlights of the event. If you wish to purchase the full 47 minute talk in HD just click on red button on the left for the download link.

 

 

Where to get a haircut in Taipei

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada. Currently in Taiwan writing an ebook on his working holiday experience in Taiwan

My first haircut at FIN was a good experience
My first haircut at FIN was a good experience

 

If you live in Taipei long enough you’re going to need to do ordinary things like get a haircut or get a dentist.  So where to get a haircut in Taipei? I started by googling and recall opening this blog post by Madeline more than once. I tried out her suggestion and went to a hair salon called FIN near the Zhongshan MRT. There is actually a FIN1 and FIN2. I tried FIN2 and got a really good hair cut with the stylist, hairwash with an attractive girl, hair dry and some hair product. I think I paid about 500nt ($16.14 US), which is a good price by Western standards. When I tried to make my next appointment I did it with the same hair stylist. I even confirmed the price with them in Chinese. I think about 500nt. I got there and finished the haircut and then waited for the bill. They told me it is something like 900nt. I was so frustrated and to make matters worst all the staff crowded around the pay counter. I  interpreted this as the Taiwanese way to try support their boss. Anyhow, I think their case was that I made an appointment with the master stylist and that was his price. Also the second time the haircut is usually more expensive. My argument was that I confirmed the price of the appointment on the phone. This was probably due to a miscommunication and I couldn’t really argue with people that didn’t fully understand me. I ended up settling on 700nt, and I was super frustrated they tried to take advantage of me especially in foreign friendly Taiwan. I promised I would write this post to protect english speaking foreigners from getting taking advantage of. If you’re going to a salon usually the way it works is they will use a more experienced stylist to cut your hair the first time. You’ll get the hair cut, free drink, hair wash, hair dry, and hair product treatment for about 500nt. The second time it’s going to cost you  more for the experienced stylists and a bit less for the junior stylists. Personally I hate going to places with this tiered system.

Taipei organizes some areas well and in trendy Zhongshan (中山 MRT (red and green line) you’ll find a lot of upscale hair salons that are more pricy.

No 1 Male hair salon
No 1 Male hair salon

 

My friend told me if you pay more than 300nt you are paying too much.  If you want a haircut for 300nt ($9.70 US) you can find the barbers at some of the MRT’s. They have one if you get off the Zhongshan MRT and walk in the underground metro mall towards Taipei Main station. There is another in the East Mall underground walkway at Zhongxiao Dunhua. If you want something a bit more stylish like a scissor haircut with a hairwash and some product you can go to the Shida area, which is near Taipower MRT exit 3. Once you exit go right on Roosevelt road and turn right on Shida road. If you walk straight on Shida road you will see hair salons on both sides. The hair salon I went to before that I had a great experience with is Park Hair Culture 台北市大安區師大路117巷4號1樓No. 4, Lane 117, Shi da Rd., Daan District, Taipei, Taipei 106, Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan. I was introduced to it by a Swedish friend that cared about his hair a lot.  It is in a lane so you will turn right. I suggest you copy and paste the Chinese address in your Google maps to find it. If you’re a student the cost is 450nt. If you’re not a student it’s about 650-700nt I think. They are a smaller modern salon and I suggest making an appointment before.

If you don’t have a student card and you’re a guy I recently found a place called No.1 Male Hair Salon. Yes interesting name I know. Shandao Temple MRT (善導寺站) 臺北士林森南路 2-1號1F。They have a weird racing car garage theme, but they do an alright job with a haircut (with buzzer), quick hair wash, dry, and product for 550nt. Second visit is for 400-450nt. For the ladies if you’re looking for something more posh and fancy you can getting off at Taipei 101 World trade center MRT and looking around there.

Where to get a haircut in Taipei
Park is a great option in Shida. Ask for Park or Peggy

If you’re interested in practicing some Chinese at the salon. Here is some vocabulary you may find useful. If you’re interested when the MP3 audio and a full set of the hair salon vocabulary and phrases you can sign up below.

 

hair salon vocabulary

English Chinese (traditional) Pinyin
short hair 短髪 Duǎnfà
long hair 長髮 zhǎng fà
bangs 劉海 liúhǎi
shampoo 洗髮精 xǐ fà jīng
conditioner 潤絲 rùn sī
hair gel 髮膠 fàjiāo
I would like to have my hair washed? 我 想 洗頭髮 wǒ xiǎng xǐ tóufà
How do you want it cut? 你要怎麼見 nǐ yào zěnme jiàn
Just trim off the ends 只修髮尾就好 zhǐ xiū fà wěi jiù hǎo
Could I have it the same style? 請幫我做和這個一樣的髮型 qǐng bāng wǒ zuò hé zhège yīyàng de fàxíng
Do I need to make an appointment? 需要預約嗎 xūyào yùyuē ma
How long do I need to wait? 我搖等多久? wǒ yáo děng duōjiǔ?
How much is it? 多少錢 Duōshǎo qián

 

0 Líng
1
2 èr
3 sān
4
5
6 liù
7
8
9 jiǔ
10 shí
11 十一 shí yī
12 十二 shí èr
13 十三 shí sān
14 十四 shí sì
15 十五 shí wǔ
16 十六 shí liù
17 十七 shí qī
18 十八 shí bā
19 十九 shí jiǔ
20 二十 èr shí
30 三十 sān shí
40 四十 sì shí
50 五十 wǔ shí
99 九十九 jiǔ shí jiǔ
100 一百 yībǎi
200 兩百 liǎng bǎi
1000 一千 yīqiān

 

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2 great free resources for learning Chinese

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada. Currently in Taiwan.

2 great free resources for learning Chinese

This month I want to introduce you to 2 free resources for learning Chinese (Mandarin). Both resources are high tech. One is a free app called Chineseskill and another is a podcast from Jenny Zhu. What I love about both of these solutions is that you can learn on the go if you’re on the MRT or just going for a walk.

1) ChineseSkill

This app is a high quality education game with the Panda as the mascot. It has practical categories such as food, colors, math. Each category has 3 rounds that you must past to unlock the next category unless you pass the “test out”, which will unlock all the categories for that level. The questions are interesting as they go straight into multiple choice questions. These questions have pictures, chinese characters, and pinyin so you can hear the pronunciation when you touch the pictures. It is really obvious which option it is, but you end up learning because of the combination of picture, sound, pinyin, and chinese characters. I think it is genius that they manage to deliver all this information so simply. They have other question formats that test your listening skills, require you to translate the chinese to english, and even write the chinese for the english.  This app is useful for learning some chinese when you have downtime at the MRT or waiting for a friend. I’ve downloaded this for the Iphone on the app store.

This app is useful for learning some chinese when you have downtime at the MRT or waiting for a friend

free resources for learning Chinese
chineseskill is a great app for learning chinese on the go
free resources for learning Chinese
chineseskill app

 

What you get out of the Jenny’s podcast is that it is entertaining and you get an cultural education from a great team

2) Important Chinese things with Jenny Zhu (Chinesepod podcast)

Jenny Zhu has developed into a household name in the modern Chinese learning world. I discovered that she regularly releases an entertaining cultural show that is both in mandarin and English. Jenny hosts the shot with David Wei, and Fiona Tian. Jenny provides her cheerful personality and has perfected a blend of speaking in Chinese and English. If I recall correctly Jenny spent some time studying in Australia and brings an understanding of Western culture and introduces us to Chinese culture and contrasts the differences on the show. She is entertaining and is not afraid to keep it real and has given me insight into how the Chinese think.

Jenny's podcast page
Jenny’s podcast page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiona Tan is an attractive half Taiwanese half Western Mandarin teacher based in Taiwan that came to my attention through Youtube. She used the youtube platform to teach things like ordering bubble tea. She recently joined the Chinesepod team and brings a Western and a Taiwanese perspective on the topics they discuss on the show. The show is interesting as they’ve talked about things such as drug busts in China, Health care, and travel. What you get out of the Jenny’s podcast is that it is entertaining and you get an cultural education from a great team. The webpage for each episode lists the chinese and pinyin used on the show as well as actual podcast, which you can play from the site or download and synch on your iphone using itunes. Good job guys.

Tips to become a better English Teacher in Taiwan

Tips to become a better English Teacher in Taiwan

So you’ve decided to become an English teacher in Taiwan?

Now that my experience as an English teacher in Taiwan is over I thought I would reflect and pass on some of my hard lessons learned. Some of this stuff I just learned and wasn’t covered in my schools training. I’m there are much more experienced teachers out there, but before I wrote this I did a google search and no-one has written an actual article on this topic. I hope to get the conversation started, and hope others will contribute.

I want to share some of my top personal tips to help you become a better English Teacher in Taiwan. My experience comes from teaching children age 5 – 12 in a cram school setting. As the kids get older they become more mature and you don’t need to administer these techniques as much.

I found out in my first week that managing the kids and their behavior was just if not more important than the actual teaching

1. Classroom management – I found out in my first week that managing the kids and their behavior was just if not more important than the actual teaching. Here are some of the techniques I found to be effective to get the kids under control.

  • The 5 second countdown – just start counting down and watch the kids scramble to not be the last one to their seats. It’s great for getting control back of the class
  • Reward system – You can issue out individual cards (any pack of cards) to children who exhibit behavior like answering questions or participating well. A variation is to do this on a team basis. You can make two teams on the board and let the kids decide the name of the team. Letting them decide really gets their buy in. They will usually pick something like dinosaurs,snake, or ninja turtles. Draw the picture to represent the team mascot. They love it. As you teach you can reward the teams with points for good behavior. For example the first team to take out their books to the correct page, or who read the best. At the end I tally the points and give the winning team something like 7 stamps. I used to trade cards for fake money which they could then buy candy for. The kids enjoyed this, but its took more time and effort to administer and distracted from my teaching.The losing team will get 2 stamps, and will feel bad for losing. Stamps mean a lot to the kids and it isn’t expensive. You can use ink to refill the stamp.

  • Punishments –  don’t like this, but if you take away their individual cards. You can even take away points away from their team, which will get the other kids on their team on their case. I’ve heard of other teachers threatening to have the students spell a word 15 times. It’s important to follow through.
  • Last resort intimidation – I’m not a fan of this, but sometimes you may have to bring out your inner terminator to put the fear in certain students. I watched some of the other teachers who would shout loud and bang something on the table to create the effect. You can shout their name really loud, bang the desk with something that will make a loud noise like a metal thermos bug, and you have to cap it off with a mean stare. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds with a serious face and lean on the desk.  Again I’m not a fan of this, but I’m putting it our there.

 

team games make it fun for the kids
team games make it fun for the kids

2. Prepare for your lesson in advance – In a cram school it is a noisy and distracting environment with kids running around. I would figure out what my next class and take the materials home with me. I could then prepare in a less noisy environment the day before or well before class to avoid rushing before class.

3. Tools – Have a strong toolkit or tool box. Here is what I think a good tool-kit should have.

  • Get a good red pen for marking over students mistake, blue pen for general purpose, and pencil for making notes in your notebook. 
  • Dice
  • Post-it notes are handy for making notes so you don’t mark up the text book
  • Whiteboard markers – The cheap ones lasted less than a week. Get the fat ones that you can refill. They cost about 40nt and 21nt to refill. 2-3 colors are good
  • You want to have at least 2 decks or cards, some good stamps, and remember to refill your stamps regularly.

There are plenty of stationary stores around Taiwan and these supplies won’t set you back that much.

4. Games. It’s important to have a good set of games to entertain and teach kids with. 

IMG_8506
fake money and cards were part of my english teacher tools
my toolkit

 

Paper, Scissors, Stone (Rock,paper,scissors) – This is what it’s referred to in Taiwan. Use it whenever the students have to practice together to determine who will go first or to settle an argument. If kids have to head have the loser of paper, scissors, stone read the page.

  • Dice – The dice are probably my most used tool. Here are some uses for it. If a team did something well or an individual on a team participated well. You can reward them by letting someone throw a dice to see how many points their team gets. It students need to practice questions with their friends then you can use give them a dice to determine which question they will practice. 
  • Get a bucket and a ball to play mobile basketball. If they do something well give them a chance to play. I haven’t met a kid that didn’t want to play basketball. If they get it in give them the dice to figure out how many points.
  • Flashcard guessing – If you use flashcards to tell them on one of the words to stand up. Odd one out if the loser. You can also hide a hard behind yourself and ask what card is behind teacher. Kids of all levels just love to guess.
  • Spelling relay – Have each team line-up. Each kid can only write one letter then has to hand the market to the person behind them.
  • Puzzle generator – If you have spare time you can create a crossword puzzle or word search using words they need to learn. This website will generate the puzzle for you. http://www.discoveryeducation.com/free-puzzlemaker/. Great if you need to fill time
  • Flash games  – If you teach math and have a smart board flash games are a creative way to let kids learn and interact. The kids can touch the smart board to move things like coins in a game. Very cool. Here is a great site I used. www.abcya.com
  • Singing statues or musical chairs – Some kids hate singing, but you can play these games and they won’t want to stop. You can play the song and when you press pause everyone sits down or you play the music and when you pause the music everyone freezes ( you need to freeze as well to sell it to them).

I’m sure that’s just scratching the surface, but I hope that helps. Feel free to leave a comment if you have more tips to share. Thanks to Dan for passing on some of the tips. If you want to to hear more tips for life in Taiwan be sure to sign up to my newsletter.

Kenting,Taiwan – Revealed

Kenting

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada. Currently in Taiwan.

I had lived in Taipei, Taiwan almost a year and during this time I heard lots of positive things from locals about Kenting’s beaches and great weather. It was a 2-hour high-speed train ride and a 2-hour drive south of Taipei. I decided to travel there and see for myself.  Kenting is located in the far South of Taiwan. We took the HSR from Taipei to the closest station in Kaosiung called Zuoying左營站. From there we rented a car and took a 2-hour drive down south to Kenting .

Tip: if you have internet on your phone use google maps for audio navigation

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We would have gotten lost if it wasn’t for google maps. The driver’s in Kaoshiung are terrible and you can expect cars to change lanes without signaling, tail-gating, and if you leave a car space in front of you some idiot will attempt to overtake you (by weaving in and out) by using that space.

We stayed at the Kenting Culture Resort, which provided a good value, free breakfast, internet, free water, free parking, and great customer service for about 2000nt a night. It wasn’t right by the beach, but it was quiet and a close drive to all the places we wanted to go.

Our first night we decided to take a 15 minute drive to a seaside hill called Guanshan 關山. I discovered it by accident while searching for the sunset time. I clicked on one of the pictures and found that CNN actually rated this viewpoint for one of he world’s best sunset views. Interesting.

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We drove to Guanshan shortly before sunset with my camera gear and drone. It was packed with people and mosquitos.  The views are spectacular to say the least. I also discovered a viewpoint that wasn’t as crowded just a 5 minute walk west of the main viewpoint. We woke up early the next morning just after sunrise for a filming session at that secret viewpoint with no other tourists to compete with.

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After that we decided it was a good time to film the main street, which happens to be Pingtung night market墾丁大街 . I’ve seen a lot of night markets in my one year here. You will see your typical night market fare here as well. What is unique about this night market is that the night market is just on one large street that transforms from a regular street to a night market that you can easily cover in an hour. I could see some interesting accommodation on the second floors of this street and around the area, but could imagine how noisy it could get on most nights. The gem my friend introduced me to was the Mambo Thai restaurant near the end of the strip. It was probably the most authentic and best tasting Pad Thai I’ve had in my life for about 200nt.  I’ll just let the picture speak for itself.

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Our hotel was conveniently located across from a famous baozi shop. A baozi is a steamed bun with some filling. This shop was serious about their baozi’s. They had a large selection on their menu and everyday you could watch the staff make them fresh from making the dough to preparing the filling wearing their surgical masks.

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After we decided to check out the lighthouse area and the most Southern point in Taiwan, which was about a 20-minute drive. We parked and walked down to what looked like a teashop for a break and drink.  I must mention that the summer down here is blistering hot. The temperatures hover around the mid to high 30’s and the sun is intense. Expect to leave the car air conditioner on “full blast” and it’s a good idea to take regular cold drink breaks. They had an observatory platform to view the ocean. It was special to imagine being at the most southern point of Taiwan. There was still a short distance to walk to the shore, but we could see many tired people coming back that deterred us. We decided to get a coconut milk drink. This was no coconut drink from 7-11. This was the real deal with a straw right into the coconut with pure natural coconut milk. Delicious! We were lucky to get special access to see how he prepared the coconuts, which you may see on our video.

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It was a couple hours before sunshine and it was time for the secret beach known as Baisha (White sand beach). If you want to put it on goggle maps you need the chinese words for it (白沙彎) I had heard so much about. The sign into the beach was discreet and easy to miss. We drove down the driveway as we saw people coming out.  We scored a free parking near the ocean and got our stuff. Before you enter the beach there were a couple of older looking Taiwanese women that you had to speak to if you wanted an umbrella and seats. I think it cost 200nt for the package. The beach was busy lined with umbrellas, Taiwanese girls in bikini’s, and local guys trying to dare each other to see who could walk closest to the ocean. I didn’t see any sign of any foreigners or anyone swimming. The sand was awesome, but the waves were really rough. We stayed until sunset. I wish I had a couple more days to enjoy that beach and just decompress.

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Our final stop was at the Houbihu Fishing Port to sample some of the fresh seafood. We had some trouble finding the right place, but there was a large building by the ocean near the wind turbines. We went to the second floor to skip the crowded uncomfortable seating area. I got a small order a sashimi for about 200nt, which is enough for one hungry person. The same amount would probably cost about 100-150nt more in Taipei. I had 3 different types. It was a delicious and inexpensive way to end our Kenting trip.

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Learning chinese in Taiwan after 1 year

Learning chinese in Taiwan
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada

Next month will be my first year spent year living in Taipei, Taiwan.  I think it’s a good time to reflect and share some of my experiences for those that are interested. In this article I’ll share the experience of learning chinese in Taiwan after 1 year and some useful tips.

Learning chinese in Taiwan

Shida

I had a great experience in my second semester at Shida (aka Taiwan Normal University Mandarin Training Center MTC). The most important factor for me was I had a great teacher. Having spoken to numerous former Shida students this is a common explanation.  To cut to the chase what are my thoughts on studying at Shida for 6 months:
As much as I hated the beginning it gave me a strong foundation in chinese
It was a good chance to make international friends and meet new people
It was a chance to revisit the college atmosphere
The program is time intensive
The teaching style is traditional old school in contrast to the western style which is more facilitative

The program

The program at Shida provided provided a good foundation. A foundation that consisted of learning to read, write (pinyin, mps, chinese characters), and speak. Our classes were scheduled everyday for 2 hours with a chinese teacher with international students 8-10 students. The teacher spoke chinese about 70 percent of the time and English 30 percent of the time. The school in general attracted a diverse international student population. My first class had students from Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, England, and Italy.  My second class had students from the US, Tibet, Germany, Indonesia, and Vietnam. This offers an interesting learning environment in the classroom as some students like those from Japan don’t speak much English, but are good at Chinese writing. Like my American and English classmates I found the most difficulty writing the Chinese characters.
The school uses the Practical Audio-Visual Chinese Second edition book. We started learning the Mandarin Phonetic Symbols (MPS) system, which are used to learn how to pronounce a word. We also learned the 5 tones, our introduction to Chinese characters, and the pinyin. I hope I haven’t lost you yet. Every lesson would introduce about 20 to 30 new vocabulary words. To learn a new word you would have to have knowledge of Chinese characters, MPS or pinyin. The Chinese that was taught was called traditional, which are the more complex characters taught in Taiwan. Mainland China uses mostly simplified characters.
When I say knowledge you need to know how to speak it, write it, and understand listening to it. I consider these different skills. After we learned the vocabulary we would get into the syntax and grammar patterns. We would receive a dictation test every week, which would test our knowledge or the vocabulary, how to write, as well as the tones of each word. Following the dictation we would receive a test of the chapter, which would require understanding Chinese by listening or reading it and responding to it the appropriate patterns.

Learning chinese in Taiwan
I have to admit I was overwhelmed the first several weeks figuring out how to cope with the overwhelming information. The largest barrier for me was the Chinese writing, the syntax, and remembering the tones.
The style of teaching is more traditional and dependent on the teacher you received. My teacher in the first semester was a bit older and traditional. She encouraged a lecturing style that left little time for questions. The school in general heavily emphasized Chinese writing and grammar syntax.
In my first semester I met friends from my class and other friends that I met from friends. The age group tended to be mostly in the early to mid twenties. As someone in my mid thirties I was on the older side of the demographic, but there were a few that were my age group or older. Socially it wasn’t too difficult to make friends with English speakers.
Some students traveled to Taiwan alone to study and were interested to meet new people and local language exchange partners. Some students were interested from the Asian countries like Japan and Vietnam were studying together and tended to be very tight knitted. It was difficult to communicate with some students from Japan. I was fortunate that I met a good group form my first class and we get together occasionally to hang out.

Writing

I hated writing. I’m not to fond of handwriting in english to begin with. In the real world I do it to sign signatures, fill out the occasional forms, and make entries in my diary. In the real world we are mostly typing. Perhaps for some people you may learn to read characters by writing them out 10 times every day. I prefer to use flashcards on my iPhone Place to learn new characters. Anyhow I left Shida knowing the main characters, which I see in most words. For example: 大 (da) ,人 ,的 (de),小 (xiao),中 (zhong) , 個  (ge) 。In the real world if you remember the pinyin for these words you can type chinese on your phone.

Reading

Reading a paragraph or dialogue is intimidating when put on the spot. In my first class the Japanese students had an advantage and it showed. There were many times I felt helpless as I realized I was illiterate for some words. I wish the school wouldn’t do this to students. It’s cruel especially when students have different levels to begin of with. My preferred method of reading was to use flash cards and then see the words in different contexts like in the dialogue. Reading and pronouncing eventually helped the characters sink in.

Speaking

We got to do some individual practice for patterns in class, and some individual practice with other students. There is not however a lot of rail conversation practice in the program and unfortunately not many students practice outside of class. You will find most of the english speaking students reverting back to english. I made an effort to speak even though I would make many mistakes and still do. I believe you have to make these mistakes to learn and practice speaking.

What Shida gave me

I left with some english speaking friends that live in Taipei
I got a foundation in chinese –  tones, numbers, dates, greetings, pronouns, and most importantly some food.
Learned about good learning tools like Pleco

Next time I'll talk about these topics           Could I build a life and friends in Taipei and what adventures did I have ?      How did I survive and figure out the basics such as how to eat and find a place to live ?      Was Taiwan what I thought it would be?
learning my ordering food as been fun

Learning Chinese since Shida

Continuing to study the Shida way

Since leaving Shida I have made an effort to learn Chinese experimenting with different methods. I continued to study Practical Audio-Visual Chinese Second edition book 2 (the orange one) from book 2 chapter 3 by myself. I would study the vocabulary with the pinyin and chinese characters and listen to the mp3 sometimes. I found after doing this from March – July I have picked up most of the vocabulary from book 2.

Watching Chinese Tv and Movies.

I tried watching American movies with chinese sub-titles. This didn’t work too well as the words appear to quickly. There is a lack of chinese movies with english sub-titles, which would be a better way to learn. I also took advantage of having access to local Taiwan cable tv and a satellite box that I won in a draw. I found that the disney channel on channel 23 in the mornings or the teenage shows at midnight to be the right level for me. I’m a big kid at heart so I still enjoy watching cartoons so and I found they talk slower and I’m able to pick up more. I managed to pick up some expressions by doing this.

Eavesdropping on conversations

I spend a lot of time at local cafe’s. This is a great environment to listen to natural social conversations from locals. You pick up some of the slang that they use. Eventually you begin to hear some of the same expressions being said that sticks. “對 啊“   (dui a = yeah!)  ”不 可能“  (bu keneng = impossible). The beauty about Taipei is during your commute on the mrt or wherever you spend time you will be exposed to local conversation. If you pay attention you will soak in some mandarin.

Ordering food, shopping, getting a service

For myself this is probably that most effective method of learning. Live in Taipei long enough and you’re going to need to interact with locals out of necessity. Whether it’s making a reservation, a hair appointment, ordering coffee, taxi, or a dentist appoint you’ll need to figure out a way to communicate. Many times I would ask if you speak english 你 可以 說 英文 嗎? ni keyi shuo yingwen ma? If they understand I would here (yi dian dian= a little). This would set myself up to speak chinese with some understanding from the speaker.

Lately I’ll just speak the chinese and see if they understand me. If they do I know they understand and give myself a pat on the back. If they don’t I’ll ask how to say this in chinese 中文怎么说?zhōngwén zěnme shuō.

If I don’t know a word I’ll use my handy app pleco to look up the words I need. I’ll listen to how to pronounce it and then try to say it with a local. I must admit it is frustrating when they don’t understand me, but I know this is part of the process.

Adding vocabulary through OCR

I add vocabulary whenever I see characters I’m curious about and see often where I hangout. If there is signage with english and chinese my pet peeve is that there is no pinyin, so I’lll use my app’s OCR to add the pinyin to my flashcard word bank.

Language partner

This is very effective for practicing. The key to finding someone to practice with is that you need to have similar goals and that usually means the other person wants to practice english. It also works if you are at similar levels. It is ok if someone speaks a bit better english than your mandarin, but you will have a middle ground where you can both communicate. You also should enjoy hanging out so it feels natural. you should meet on a regular basis and obviously you should both practice speaking.

learning chinese in taiwan

Hess pocket book

I recently started teaching engish at Hess. They give a pocketbook with provides english, pinyin, and chinese for teachers as a survival guide. They cover practical topics like bars, banking, hair salon, directions etc. It also comes with an MP3. I haven’t found a more practical educational resource to be honest. I’ve been listening to the mp3 on my commutes to work or look at the book when I eat by myself.

Technology to the rescue

Google translate

I discovered some essential technology to help here. I downloaded the current version of google app. It still needs much improvement, but the technology is useful if you need some vocabulary on the go or if you receive a message in chinese characters and need some instance translation. Some usage scenario’s
Example 1: If I knew I going to rent a DVD or want to order a certain dish I didn’t have the vocabulary for I would look up the word in advance, the tones, pinyin, and listen to the pronunciation. I would then use the word with the storeowner to see if they understood.
Example 2: You receive a SMS message in chinese that you can’t read. Simply copy and paste into google translate to convert to English.
Another good app is called pleco, which has an chinese English dictionary and a really neat feature called OCR that lets you convert chinese characters to English with your smartphone’s camera.
These tools are useful as aids, but have not yet evolved to the point to eliminate the need to learn the language

learning chinese in taiwan.

Recap

At the one year mark I feel like I’m slowly making the climb from beginner-intermediate to intermediate. I can ask for things that I need independently most of the time.The most important being understanding a chinese menu, ordering, and understanding numbers. I can string together sentences and have basic conversations. Although I haven’t reached a level I’m happy with I’ve learned a lot more than I would being in Vancouver. Being immersed in the language in Taiwan has definately helped accelerate my chinese level.  It is an empowering feeling when you are able to make an hair appointment or reservation in another language. At the moment I have started working so I’m struggling to find time. I get frustrated when a fluent english speaking Taiwanese person tells me my “chinese sucks”, but I’ll speak to a local that doesn’t speak much english telling my chinese is not bad for 11 months. So I think it’s relative to the person you are speaking with. There are some limitations to your social and professional opportunities because of the language, but this keeps me motivated.

My goal for the next 3 months is to improve my speaking and reading ability in common situations: asking for directions, applying for jobs, and social conversations. I’ve recently purchased a new book series recently published by the MTC so will add that to my learning approach. I try to remind myself this is a journey and to enjoy the experience here in Taiwan. From here I only move forward and opportunities open up the better my chinese gets. 加油!

learning chinese in taiwan

Would you like to share your experience learning chinese in Taiwan?

Next time I’ll talk about these topics

  • Could I build a life and friends in Taipei and what adventures did I have ?
  • How did I survive and figure out the basics such as how to eat and find a place to live ?
  • Was Taiwan what I thought it would be?

Dancing grass – Yilan, Taiwan

yilan taiwan dancing grass
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada

The day after my birthday celebration my local friend and I met at the Taipei Mrt station of Guting at 8:30am. From there we caught our hour and half train ride out to Yilan. Prior to this trip a couple of locals mentioned that Yilan had natural beauty.

I did’t have time to plan as I usually do, but my friend had a chance to speak to my other local friends to give us some guidance. (Thanks Tina and Riwen).

We decided to get some brunch at a vegetarian buffet near the train station. For 100nt we had a delicious veggie buffet. All the good dishes started to come out at lunch. After we decided to rent a car nearby for about 1300nt for the day. Public transport is not as extensive as Taipei and we were there just for day for heavy camera gear so we thought the car would be handy. We rented a 4 door mini automatic car with a 1.3 liter engine that was capable of 100km/hr. Good enough. Armed with my iPhone, google maps, and a 3g internet connection from taiwan mobile we eventually settled on our next stop at plum blossom lake.

On our ride we passed by western style houses with green dancing grass that reminded me of areas in Bali. It was nice just to see western houses in Taiwan, which I haven’t seen in a year. Plum blossom lake has a flower shaped lake. It started raining hard so we took shelter by a food stand with a delicious lean pork grass wrap. Look at the pics they so more than I can do than words.

After we went drove up to the Sancing temple which took 15 minutes. I drove as close as I could to the temple and was happy to get free parking. It featured an awesome view of the lake and city. The temple itself was impressive and reminded me of the Forbidden city architecture especially with the animals on the roof. With my friend Serena sheltering me and my camera I managed to get some footage. the rain quickly stopped and cleared up. The weather in Taipei and Yilan changes very frequently throughout the day in May.

We had already used up most of our day and had just enough time to make it to the Su-ao area. We managed to take some pics of the Su-ao cold springs and the Su-ao port for some great shots. We rushed back to the car rental to catch our train and passed by the Luodong Night Market.

As I wrap up this blog I realized that Yilan will require more time to fully appreciate its beauty and what it has to offer. Special thanks to Serena for making the trip happen.!

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Taiwan lantern Festival 2014 Pingxi – Valentines day

taiwan lantern festival 2014
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur
Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada

pingxi2014

My local Taiwanese friend Serena told me about the Chinese New Year lantern festival. I looked at the official page and saw that it was held in Pingxi district on Valentines Day. I was debating for days whether to go or not due to the weather. I wasn’t even sure the lanterns would still be able to fly with the rain.  I posted a message on their facebook page, and got a response that the lanterns  would be able to fly! After watching some of the past pingxi videos I thought I could produce a quality video that was different from the ones in the past.

The weather websites forecasted heavy rain so I packed a large umbrella and our camera gear. We took the train from Taipei Main station to Ruifang and from there we transferred to Pingxi. I’m glad that Serena helped me because catching the trains to Pingxi was a confusing process due to train delays, mostly schedules in chinese, and misinformation. We met some people that were going there as well and pretty much followed them there.

It was heavy rain as predicted when we arrived about 20 minutes before 9pm. We purchased the rain suits to wear over our clothes. The show ended early around 9pm and we rushed to catch the last show. As we were nearing the site, we saw the last batch of lanterns go up without warning. We manage to catch some footage of them, but the wet conditions slowed me down.  I had to use some past footage of the lanterns to keep the flow of the video

We were disappointed, but manage to find a tent where they were letting lanterns off individually. This was a blessing in disguise because it gave us an opportunity to talk to some people who were kind enough to talk about their lanterns. As you can see in the video the lanterns go up very quickly. The people we spoke to were genuine, and it was great to people to connect with them on a more intimate level.

It was miserable weather and with the weather it was very difficult conditions to film. However, the genuine happiness from the people we spoke to from the people we spoke to helped to lift our spirits.

taiwan lantern festival 2014

We hope you enjoy this video that gives you a different perspective into the pingxi lantern festival than some of the videos in the past have.

 

Video highlights

00:007 train journey to pingxi

00:30 first lantern launch

00:44 – first interview with couple creating their lanterns

01:34 French man explains his side of the lantern

02:36 couple gets ready to launch their lantern

3:03 – Singaporean couple talk about their valentine lantern and share info

04:25 – a local Taiwanese pair explain their lantern

5:17 – Taiwanese pair light up their lantern

5:33 – Lanterns rise to the sky

 

Produced and filmed by Greg Hung for ChicVoyage Productions

Big thanks to Serena Hsu

 

Some footage of lanterns from the 2012 Pingxi Festival courtesy of:

 

https://vimeo.com/36752441 (Cory Wright)

 

https://vimeo.com/36219932 (hamish dudley)

 

 

Music By:

 

ichigo vizards

FAR ASIAN FANTASIA

 

Alas Media

Chime-Remix