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Canadians in Taiwan–culture differences between Canada and Taiwan

Hi my name is Jeremy and I am from Vancouver, Canada.  I have lived in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for a year and a half now.  My girlfriend and I wanted a new experience living in another country together, working and travelling. 

Why choose Taiwan? Food or people?

We chose Taiwan because I wanted to learn Chinese and my sister, who lived in Taipei for several years, recommended Taiwan as a great place to live.  

I have really loved living here so far: the people are kind, the food is good, it’s convenient, the weather is (usually) great and it’s quite cheap compared to living in Canada.

Taiwan popular dessert- Mango Ice

Cultural difference between Canada and Taiwan

I’m going to compare and contrast the differences that I have noticed and experienced in Canada versus Taiwan.  

💡1.  Cheap and fast transportation.  

Canada is the second largest country with a population of around 33 million, in comparison Taiwan has a slightly smaller population but is a small island… you could fit 275 Taiwans into Canada! 

In Taiwan:

You can take the HSR (High Speed Rail) from Kaohsiung to Taipei. It will take only about 1.5 hours and will cost you about $1800 NT! 

This makes it easy to explore the different areas of the island without blowing your budget.  

Secondly, since Canada is so large, most people have cars to help them get around because things are further away and take time to get to. However, in Taiwan the scooter rules. It is a cheap, convenient and quick way to get from A to B.

In Canada:

Transportation can be quite troublesome, expensive and long.  For example, a flight from Vancouver, which is on the west coast, to Montreal on the east coast, can set you back around $900 CAN (about 20,000 NT)! It is pretty much impossible to drive unless you want to make a road trip out of it.

💡2. Canadians and Taiwanese, we hang out in different ways

Okay, imagine it’s Friday evening and you are just about to finish working or teaching your last class for the day…. Should I go for drinks with friends?  See a movie? Go clubbing? Catch some shrimp? Hit up the night market? 

What Taiwanese do: night market, KTV and DIY dinner

Your answer might be very different depending on where you live. In Taiwan, people love to stay up late and go out (even on weekdays!).  One of the most popular things to do is to head to the night markets to eat endless snacks, from chicken hearts to bubble tea, you can find the strangest and most interesting things to eat.  

Another alternative if you want a DIY dinner, is to head to the shrimping place and fish for your own food!  

Also, maybe after a few beers during dinner you are feeling in the singing mood, so you could head over to the countless KTV karaoke bars to test out your vocals. Wherever you are in Taiwan there is so much to see and do (and eat!)  

What Canadians do: drink, dance and Poutine

In Canada, after a long day at work we also want to blow off some steam and let loose a little but we do have a different approach. 

One big difference is that Canadians don’t stay up as late and many bars and clubs close quite early.  The most popular thing to do in Canada is to hangout with friends at a bar and have a few drinks.  

After heading to a bar downtown we might find a place to go dance the night away, you can pretty much find any kind of music you want (disco, rap, RnB and anything in between).  

At the end of a long night one of my favorite things to do is to find poutine! Poutine is a Canadian delicacy: fries, cheese curds, gravy and anything else you want on it makes the perfect late night snack (although not healthy at all!). 

Taiwan night market

I have enjoyed my time living in both of these countries, although they are very different they both have their advantages and disadvantages (although I think Taiwan is more fun!).

Author/ Jeremy Scudder

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