Many foreigners traveling abroad find themselves fascinated by the new cultures and communities they discover. Foreign student and worker, Sarah, lived in Beijing for two and a half years, before moving to Taiwan two years ago.
Sarah is originally from Michigan, and the first time she left home and traveled abroad was in 2009 when she moved to study in Beijing. She went to Beijing again in 2011 to teach English, and then again in 2013 when she returned to study Chinese at Tsinghua University. In 2015, she began an internship at a local HR company.
“The reason I returned to Beijing four times is that: one, it has this feeling of being the wild west there like anything is possible,” Sarah said. “Two, it was fascinating to see how Beijing completely transformed from 2009 to 2015. And three, honestly, Beijing just holds a special place in my heart.”
Sarah eventually left Beijing when her internship ended to study for her master’s degree in Europe. Afterward, she looked to return to Beijing as she felt her mandarin skills had weakened.
“[Finding programs and scholarships] is really competitive,” Sarah admitted. “A friend of mine who was in Taiwan told me to check out his program, and that’s when I found out that the Chinese Enrichment Scholarship offers a stipend to study almost anywhere in Taiwan.”
Since she had visited Taipei before while living in Beijing, Sarah decided to give Taiwan a try.
After initially studying for nine months in Kaohsiung, Sarah began debating whether or not she wanted to pursue her Ph.D. or look for a job. For a while, she considered moving back to China but ended up residing in Taipei instead.
“Life as a foreigner [in Taiwan] is just less complicated,” Sarah said.
As a political science major student, Sarah found the difference between Taiwan and China fascinating but remarked that ultimately, the VPN problem created some difficulties for her.