Generally, dress in Taiwan is about the same as in metropolitan areas of the United States.
People dress casually in Taiwan, even teachers in the schools. You can wear shorts and a t-shirt to work.
Evening dress is seldom worn except to the most formal dinner parties or banquets, but there will be a few occasions (the Double Ten reception on October 10, the welcome reception, etc.) when coat and tie for men and semiformal (“dressy”) dress for women would be appropriate; however, so bring at least two fancy outfits to Taiwan.
Clothes are sold in stores and in night markets. The clothing offered in stores tends to be more expensive, but you can try it on, unlike many night market stalls. If you are of average build in America, you should be able to find clothes your size, even if it’s a different size than what you wear at home. A size medium usually becomes a large or x-large, especially if you are taller.
As such, if you wear a larger size in America, be sure to bring plenty of it. It might be hard to find in Taiwan. If your feet are larger than size 8 women’s or size 11 men’s, be sure to bring extra shoes, because you are unlikely to find your shoe size in Taiwan. Similarly for women, if you wear a larger bra size, be sure to bring extra. However, if you can’t find something in Kaohsiung, it is definitely worth giving Taipei a try. Stores are more westernized in Taipei than in Kaohsiung.
Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan, which contains modern and historical architectures, diversity of culture perspectives, and a population of near three million people. It’s truly an active and popular city for tourists, business visitors, or local people. Base on the geography, Taipei city is a basin surrounding by mountains and rivers. Therefore, the weather becomes really humid and high temperature during the summer. Also, it often rains during the four seasons.
What to bring:
Taipei city is the capital city, which means you can buy most of the things you need here. There are many department stores, grocery stores, supermarkets, and convenient stores here. You can buy anything in Taipei city; however, the price maybe higher than other cities. Below are some items you may think about.
1. Raincoat or umbrella: People use umbrella very often even on the sunny days. You may buy it after you come here or bring your own.
2. Warm clothes (your department and school have no heating): Although it’s really hot in summer (26°C-30°C), it changes to be cold in winter (10°C-23°C), too. The average temperature is 22.7°C. Please bring more warm clothes and coats. The humidity will make you feel colder than it looks.
3. Clothes that dry quickly: It’s not common for people to use a dryer in Taipei. Most people will hang their clothes on the bamboo sticks on the balcony or near the window areas. Under the sunshine, the clothes will be dried in one day. However, if it rains a lot, you have to wait 2-3 days.
4. Smartphone if you have one: Having a 3G or 4G smartphone here is very useful for tracking buses, mapping where you are, and translating Chinese into English, but make sure call your phone company to ensure that your smartphone will work in Taiwan.
5. .Personal medicine: Please bring your personal medicine which you cannot find in Taiwan. Especially, during summer, there will be mosquito problems. So, you may bring bug spray or anti-itch cream which are also sold in Taiwan.
6. Gifts: If you want to give your co-teacher or students gifts from America, you can pack things like a T-shirt, keychain, magnet, or mug from a local landmark.
Thoughts on packing for ETAs
(updated in May of 2017 by Fulbright Yilan ETAs 2016-2017)
Here, you can find a few thoughts that the past Yilan ETAs have had on packing for your year abroad! To preface this document, current ETAs would like to make it clear that you can purchase any items you may need in Yilan when you arrive. Keep in mind throughout the packing process that people in Taiwan live perfectly fine with what they can purchase here, so do not fret about packing a year’s supply of every product you use on a daily basis. This is emphasized because, in the past, ETAs have tended to overpack items they easily could have purchased here. In addition, due to its close proximity with Taipei, the largest city in Taiwan, ETAs in Yilan have convenient access to import stores and Costco. If you have any questions about packing, don’t hesitate to reach out to former ETAs to get their thoughts!
If you pack and find you have extra space, or have not used your two baggage limit for your airline, keep in mind that you will acquire many items during the year. ETAs find they often have to ship things home, so having extra space or even room for an extra bag is a good idea.
- Generally: Bring casual, versatile clothes made with light, breathable material. It gets very hot and very humid in the summer, but the temperature can change dramatically from day-to-day, and some layering staples are helpful. Stretchy or yoga pants are helpful to have as well. Western brand clothes (Levi’s, GAP, Polo, etc) will be just as expensive if not more in Taiwan than back home. Local imitations can easily be found and will be far cheaper, if you choose to under-pack and buy clothes in Taiwan. In Taiwan, they sell jeans but they usually only come in longer sizes so you may need to roll them up if you buy them here.
- Rain gear: If you haven’t heard, it rains quite a bit in Taiwan. If you already own a raincoat, it might be good to bring it. Otherwise, Yilan will have raincoats available. Most scooter coats cost around $5 USD and are full-body to protect your legs while scooting.
- It is also helpful to bring pants that are more appropriate for rain. When scooting in the rain, even a full-body rain coat will not prevent the bottom of your pants from getting soaked. If you have something that dries quicker, it would be a good idea to bring it.
- If you are low on space in your luggage, rain boots might not be a necessary packing item. You can just buy rain boots or plastic covers to put over your shoes here. During the summer, when it is very hot, changing into a pair of flip-flops or other sandals for walking/scooting in the rain is the best option.
- Clothes that dry quickly: Most residents of Taiwan do not own dryers. You will not own a dryer, therefore, pack with this in mind (although, in special cases, you could go to a laundromat to use the dryer). During winter, the cold and humidity means that thick clothing can take many days to air-dry, so it is better if you have quick-drying clothes to wear in the meantime. Your clothes and shoes might get moldy, so don’t bring anything that was expensive or that you don’t want ruined.
- Warm clothing: Do not underestimate the cold during winter. In the winter, Yilan gets to about the mid-50s and rains constantly. This may not seem cold, but by the time the winter comes your body will have adjusted to the crazy hot weather and mid-50s will feel downright frigid. Additionally, there is very little (read: no) heating in Taiwan--and your schools and apartments will not be heated.The temperature isn’t really the issue, but the cold dampness and constant rain is. You will often scooter to work in the morning in the rain, and end up being cold and damp for the entire day. Bring a thick waterproof jacket, warm socks, thick waterproof gloves (for scootering), and base layer clothing (for layering under pants or shirts) - this is not a joke, you won’t regret it!
- Swimsuits: Swimsuit culture in Taiwan is significantly more conservative than in the US (I don’t think this is always true. At Wai’ao beach, both foreigners and Taiwanese wear swimwear similar to that of the US.) While you could still wear a bikini, most other people at the beach will be donning one piece suits with shorts, or even long sleeve t-shirts and shorts. (Taiwanese women are scared of the sun.) For men, you'd fit right in if you packed a teeny, tiny speedo. This is not required, though, so you'll be fine in some trunks. You will be required to bring a swimming cap in any pool or hot spring, but those are purchasable here.
- School: The dress code at Taiwanese schools tends to be much less formal than the dress code at schools in the United States. It may be hard to believe, but most teachers at school wear jeans and a t-shirt to class. However, the level of formality can vary from school to school. Once you are assigned your schools, it is good to ask your co-teacher about the dress code and also observe what the other teachers wear to make sure you are dressing appropriately. Here are some general tips:
- Remember to bring at least one pair of closed toe shoes. Any sandal that doesn't have an ankle strap is considered a slipper here. Even if you paid a great deal of money for them, if they don't have an ankle strap, they're slippers, and not appropriate for school. Flip-flops are also not appropriate for school.
- Skirts should be knee length (this is a general rule at most schools; perhaps talk with your co-teacher(s) and observe the way other teachers dress at your school). Shirts should not be revealing and long enough so that when you write on the board you won't expose too much.
- Shorts may or may not be acceptable for teaching. Pack enough variety of shorts/pants/skirts so you’ll be prepared for a more traditional or more liberal dress code.
- It is especially true that when teaching younger grades, you will probably move around a lot and will likely end up dancing and making lots of dramatic gestures, so it's important to wear shirts long enough for all of this activity.
- Formal wear: There are approximately 4-6 Fulbright events for which business formal clothing will be necessary. In addition, there are some dinner parties for which business formal attire may not be appropriate, but rather a more generally formal outfit. For men, this means that one suit may be sufficient, but for women, two outfits (a pantsuit and a dress, or a nice blouse and pants) are better to bring. (Again, these items can be purchased in Taiwan, for around the same price one might acquire them for in America, so there is no absolute need to go out and buy multiple formal outfits in a hurry.)
- Generally: If you do wear the same type of shoe a great deal, bring more than one pair so that you can rotate them and let them air out! This is especially true when it's rainy, because your shoes may take a while to dry. Shoes made out of leather or similar materials are not recommended, because they do not deal well with getting wet and can mold easily.
- Big feet: If you wear between a 5 and 8 in women's shoes, you won't have any problem finding shoes here. On the other hand, if your shoe size is larger than 8, you should probably bring all the shoes you'll need for a year.
- Hiking: There are tons of great hiking and outdoor activity locations in Yilan, or just a train ride away. Hiking boots are necessary if you want to do more major hikes or are a size 8 or larger. In any case, a good pair of sneakers is highly recommended!
- Rain boots: If you have rain boots, bring them! They’re helpful for scootering in the rain or just walking around on particularly rainy days. Otherwise, you should be fine with a few pairs of water-resistant shoes that you can rotate out as one pair gets wet.
- Toiletries: Upon arriving in Yilan, ETAs will be given an initial stipend and taken shopping. At this point, most toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, etc.) can be purchased. American brands like Dove and Head & Shoulders exist in even the most remote of stores. Only bring extra supplies of toiletries if there are specific products/brands that you need to use and may not find in Taiwan.
- The only issue the ETA usually comes across is in deodorant, of which the Taiwanese primarily use spray-on versions without antiperspirant. There are a few that do exist, but it might be a good idea to bring your own for the year.
- While contact lens solution is available here, many of the smaller stores have them at a higher price than the U.S. Just something to consider if you have space in your luggage.
- Feminine products/Birth control: Taiwan has an ample supply of sanitary napkins for women, but is significantly lacking in tampons, which are also constructed differently. It is advised that if you are particular about this to bring as many as you can. If you have a specific birth control that you are using/works well for you, it’s also suggested you bring a year’s supply. It is of course possible to get many kinds of birth control in Taiwan, but some ETAs have struggled to find specific brands, so if consistency is important/necessary for you, stocking up is advisable.
- Headache medicine: Although Taiwan has some painkillers available, it is suggested that you bring Advil or Motrin with you as they do not sell it here. Please note: Taiwan, while not lacking in Ibuprofin type painkillers (Advil, Motrin), does have acetaminophen type painkillers, which function exactly the same as Tylenol/Excedrin/etc because they have the same active ingredient. And you can get these for free with your health insurance card and a trip to the clinic.
- Vitamins: You will be able to find whatever vitamins/supplements you need here, but they may be more expensive than their American counterparts.
- Teaching materials: Taiwan has a multitude of stationary stores where you can purchase any kind of teaching materials you may need. If you have the time before you leave, scanning some picture books into Power Points may help you later in your classes. It may also be helpful to have some English stickers (from dollar stores) or stamps. Many of the local teachers also like it when the ETA’s use pictures of their hometown and families in their presentations.
- Computer things: Bring necessary cords and possibly a back up power supply if you have a Dell. It would also be useful to bring a computer to AV/projector converter for Mac users since the cables don't plug in the same way here. Although Taiwan does not have a single Apple Store, there are unofficial Apple Stores from which to buy Mac products, though you may have to order something (i.e. charger) to be delivered to your store from Taipei, which can take a few days. For other computer needs, Taiwan is the perfect place to find any electronics. Note: fixing any Apple products in Taiwan is not cheap and immediate because there is no Apple store/Genius bar. There are many local stores that will fix products at a cheaper price at the risk of them not being official Apple stores. Fixing MacBooks here take a significantly longer time. If your computer ever gets wet, immediately stick it in an enclosed space with a dehumidifier for a day, otherwise your screen might start molding because you didn’t dry it out fast enough.
- Adapters: The outlets in Taiwan are two-pronged, so if you have electronics that need three-prongs, you’ll need a converter/power strip. If you have electronics you need to use in the first week, make sure to bring a converter or buy one in the day-1 shopping trip. Also, it is advisable if you are bringing items like hair dryers to bring a voltage converter, or simply to purchase one when you arrive to be on the safe side. Items can short out dangerously.
- Bags: If you have one, bring a sturdy backpack or small duffel bag for weekend trips around Taiwan. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring a waterproof bag for your backpack, especially if you plan to ride a scooter or a bike to school. These items can be purchased in Taiwan, but they may not hold up as well. This is also useful if you plan on taking a winter break trip to a place where suitcases aren’t very convenient (i.e. most of SE Asia).
- Carry-on-sized suitcase: You might also like to have a medium-sized suitcase. This will be useful if you travel abroad during Chinese New Year break, and you can even use it for long weekend getaways within Taiwan or just for taking laundry over to a laundromat. If this makes sense to use when you’re packing, bring it; if not, you can buy one here.
- Books: Don’t bring books unless it is necessary. Books can weigh bags down and some ETAs have incurred extra costs at the airport because of this. The Fulbright Office in Yilan has its own library, and although the bookstores in Yilan do not possess many English books, bookstores in Taipei are usually well stocked. It’s also possible to borrow English books at your local library or cultural center once you get a card. If you are a particularly avid reader, it is suggested that you purchase an e-reader before your trip and load up on e-books.
- Bed sheets: Apartment beds vary from single to double sizes, so it might be best to just bring both a twin-sized and queen-sized bedsheets. Bedding is rather expensive in Taiwan and often doesn’t come fitted (with an elastic band to keep it on the bed), so don’t be surprised to pay a little more for it. If you can get some shipped to you after you move, it might help.
At the Luodong and Yilan night markets, there are some stores which sell lots of bedsheets and pillowcases.
Things to Consider
● U.S. Souvenirs: Yilan ETAs are given a host family towards the beginning of the year. Although ETAs do not live with these families, having a host family is a great opportunity to develop deeper relationships with local Taiwanese people that will last long after your ETA grant is over. It is suggested that ETAs give their family a gift at their first meeting; purchase something that represents your hometown. Taiwan has a very strong “gift-giving culture” so bringing several of these things won’t go remiss (also to give your school - LET, principal, etc.). US currency (such as pennies) will be fascinating to your students if you would like to prepare this in advance.
● Cell phones: If you have an unlocked cell phone with a sim card slot, you will be able to use your phone in Taiwan as a phone. Make sure to contact your cellphone provider to see if you can unlock your phone before you travel to Taiwan. If your current phone is still under contract and cannot be unlocked, maybe try to find an older phone that is no longer being used.You can buy a cellphone in Taiwan, but it is not recommended because they’re just as expensive as in the US. Although cellphone companies in Taiwan have monthly plans available, ETAs are advised to take pay-as-you-go minute plans, which means paying full-price ($200-500 US) if you want a smart phone. Data plans can be easily purchased in packages. Most ETAs bring their smart phone from home and get a sim card.
● Internet: Taiwan is abundant in Wi-Fi, fear not! Your apartment will come with good, accessible Wi-Fi, and your school may have it as well. Don’t worry about bringing any sort of modem or router with you.
● Transportation: Some ETAs have previously considered shipping their bicycle from home to use in Taiwan. Please don’t do this! Yilan has many used bike shops and you will be able to sell your bike back at the end of the year. Most ETAs in Yilan do ride scooters to work, but some choose a bike in addition for leisurely activities.
● Money: Although Fulbright will provide an initial stipend in the first week, it has been advised in the past for ETAs to bring a little bit of cash with them on the plane for emergencies. However, the ATMs in the airports and all over Taiwan do often work with American debit cards. If you bring cash, you can easily exchange it, or keep it for your return home.
● Household items: In terms of appliances and other household needs, apartments are mostly fully-furnished (at the very least you will have a bed, wardrobe, and desk in your bedroom). ETAs have the option of leaving some useful items in their apartment for the next ETAs. Although this is not a guarantee, things like a clothes line, hangers and even a mattress pad might already be waiting for you. Dehumidifiers, if not left behind by previous ETAs, are a strongly encouraged purchase once you’re settled in. They will help keep your clothes, shoes, and bedding dry, and generally help keep the damp out of your room/apartment.
● Healthcare: Taiwan has fantastic national health insurance, which means most doctor visits and medicine falls under $20 USD. That being said, your insurance will not kick in until a month after you get here (although you are still able to visit the doctor and you will be reimbursed for everything if you become sick or there is an emergency in the first 2-3 weeks). If there are medications you need in the first month, bring them, and if you anticipate any medical troubles (if you are sensitive to airplanes or humidity) it is advised you visit your doctor while in America. Navigating the Taiwanese health care system can be challenging if you’re a lower-level Chinese-speaker so it is advised that you take someone with you to the doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital who can adequately translate.
Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan, located in the west-central part of the island. It has a pleasant climate and a population of just over one million people. The city is home to many manufacturers and, in recent years, has experienced rapid growth in the diversity of its cultural offerings.
Taichung is blessed with a pleasant climate. It is often compared to California because of the frequency of sunny dry days. The highest temperatures are in the summer months of July, August, and September, while the lowest temperatures are in the winter months of January and February. The city enjoys mild weather throughout the year, with an average annual temperature of 23°C (~73°F). The average annual rainfall is around 1600 mm. The rain falls generously in the wet season (May – August) and scarcely in the dry season (October – February). The uniqueness of Taichung’s geology means that the city suffers less from typhoons than other areas in Taiwan. However, typhoons still affect the city and often bring very heavy rainfall and flooding. On the other hand, due to its location in a valley and lack of rain, Taichung also has air quality problems throughout the year.
As Taichung is located in the middle of Taiwan, it is conveniently located for making trips to both Taipei and Kaohsiung. There are frequent, comfortable and inexpensive freeway-bus routes. The journey to either city by bus or train takes around 3 hours, or as little as 1.5 hours given optimal traffic conditions.
What to bring:
Pack as lightly as possible. Here are some suggestions for your reference as below:
Clothes: You need to bring formal clothes or dresses for Fulbright events. In terms of weather, Taichung may have the best weather in Taiwan, but it is still pretty humid compared to America.
-Summer: Wear clothes that are lighter and wick away sweat since there is no air conditioning in the schools. For people who are easily bitten by mosquitos, you can bring some lightweight long sleeve shirts, long pants and/or mosquito spray to protect from mosquito bites.
-Winter: Bring some warm clothing and at least bring one warm jacket (if it also functions as a windbreaker, even better). It can be wet and cold in Taiwan. Since there is no heating in the schools, it’s a good idea to wear layers.
Although it rains infrequently in Taichung, consider packing a waterproof jacket and shoes; however, they are also available in Taiwan. Because Taiwan has beautiful scenery and many hiking opportunities, also consider packing some athletic wear.
a. Technology: You can find just about every necessity in Taichung for a reasonable price. However, you should bring a laptop, external hard drive, camera, smartphone, etc. A 3G or 4G smartphone is very useful for tracking buses, mapping your location, and translating Chinese to English, but be sure to check with your phone company to see whether your smartphone will work overseas. Some phones must be unlocked by their carriers to function abroad.
b. Personal Hygiene: If you are picky about particular hygiene products and brands, be prepared to bring your own. Although prescriptions are not required to purchase pharmaceuticals in Taiwan, they may come in handy for examiners to review your record. Also, please pack personal medication that may not be easily found in Taiwan. Additionally, mosquitoes are especially rampant during Taiwan’s summer; consider packing anti-itch crème, though these are also available in Taiwan. Lastly, the UV rays in Taiwan are very strong and most Taiwanese brand sunscreens are very watery. American brand sunscreens are available, but can be expensive. Consider bringing a few bottles of your favorite sunscreen.
c. Bedding: Top sheets are not widely available in Taiwan; consequently, pack one if you so desire. Stores generally only sell fitted sheets rather than a set, so if you need both a fitted and flat sheet to sleep, bring them. Also, it can get unexpectedly cold at night in the winter. Because there is no indoor heating and blankets are relatively expensive, some previous ETAs benefited from an electric blanket. Consider bringing one with you if you are sensitive to the cold. Portable room heaters can also be purchased here if needed.
d. Gifts: If you want to give your co-teachers or students gifts (i.e. T-shirts, keychains, magnets, and mugs) from America, feel free to pack them. American coins can also be good prizes or gifts to your students at the end of the year. Please note that the student size you teach varies according to school placement, with student bodies ranging between less than 100 to over 1000.
e. Miscellaneous: Consider bringing hot sauces/condiments (e.g. Tabasco, Sriracha, almond butter), as they are not easy to find in Taiwan. (Or asking friends/family to bring misc. objects when they come to visit)
It may be useful to search online about Taichung for more information in deciding what to pack and how to prepare. Below are some helpful sites.
Additionally, there are many Facebook groups with both locals and foreigners that may be useful for preparing for your year abroad. In Taichung specifically, consider joining the following:
1. Taichung Info Exchange - ask any questions about living in Taichung, e.g. recommendations on events, food, shops etc.
2. Taichung Swap Shop - buy, sell, or trade items on this group.
Kaohsiung has a tropical climate, so there aren’t four clearly defined seasons: bring predominantly spring/summer appropriate clothing (don’t forget a bathing suit; a one-‐‑piece swimsuit is recommended for women). You don’t need lots of heavy clothing (although classrooms and apartments don’t have central heating so it can seem chillier than it is)! Unless you’re larger than a shoe size 9/10, you should have no problem buying shoes in Taiwan. Same goes for clothing: larger sizing might be harder to come by, so pack accordingly. Kaohsiung is home to many malls, where you can find Western brands such as: H+M, Nike, Zara, Mango, the GAP, Roots, Toms, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Vans, Birkenstocks, and many more. There are also lots of local options as well, so almost any item of clothing should be available for purchase in Taiwan.
Apartments have washing machines but no dryers, but laundromats and dry cleaning are readily available near all the apartments.
Kaohsiung is a large metropolitan area with more Western commodities than any other ETA site (with the exception of Taipei). The brands listed above are available in select products. Most ETAs packed a year supply of specific brand name products that they like to use. For body wash, shampoo, toothpastes, and bulkier personal care items, you are likely to defer to brands available here. Other items listed above are unavailable or scarce in Taiwan, so you should pack a year supply if you need them. Glasses and contact lenses are cheaper and widely available in Kaohsiung with your U.S. prescription.
Congratulations! Kaohsiung ETA apartments are fully furnished! You will be able to find bed sheets, pillows, towels, and other home goods at the stores listed at the end of this document. Technology is widely available, but bring your essential items. Most outlets in the apartments are two-‐‑pronged, but adapters are easy to find here and past ETAs leave some in the apartments. As soon as you get off the plane in KHH, you will be guided through purchasing a local SIM card for your smartphone. Before leaving the U.S., contact your phone company and ensure that your phone is “unlocked” and can be used with overseas SIM cards. Within your first week in Kaohsiung, you will get help in setting up a local bank account. Bring some USD for airport expenses, but you will get TWD on your first day here for expenses.
Overall, almost any and every kind of school supply is available here in Taiwan. Stationery stories here put American ones to shame. You do not need to bring any kind of supplies for school use. What you do need to prepare, however, are pictures! You don’t need physical copies, but definitely have digital ones readily available. Chances are, you’ll be making a fair share of powerpoints, and they’re always more interesting if they’re real pictures and not just clipart/google image finds.
Hospitality is an important part of Taiwanese culture; bring a few SMALL gifts for people like your host family, school principals, and coteachers that are evocative of your hometown/state or alma mater. These don’t need to be big or expensive, it’s the thought that counts! It’s also a nice idea to bring something small (e.g., pennies) to hand out to your students at the end of the year. If you can’t fit gifts, don’t worry! If you do traveling within Taiwan you can bring back specialty foods from other locations as gifts and people will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
What to bring:
Taitung city has a much smaller population than any other part of Taiwan, so there aren’t any department stores or large chain stores found in other cities, such as Costco, SOGO or Mitsukoshi. But we do have franchised convenience stores, like Cosmed, Watsons and 7-11 where you can buy the basic daily necessities. The same advice about personal amenities found in other sections of this information packet applies here as well.In addition, there are two major supermarkets, Carrefour and RT Mart, along with numerous branch stores of Chuan Lian, a nationwide supermarket chain. A final note for men: if you use an electric razor, you better switch to regular razors. It is usually so humid that it is impossible to run an electric razor (wet or dry) across your face without razor burn.
The weather is hot, so bring casual wear. Men can wear comfortable pants and polos or short-sleeved oxfords; and this will be considered “dressed up” for work. Lightweight, breathable short-sleeved shirts are best. For ladies, sleeveless is only okay if quite modest. Ladies, be especially careful about necklines! Taiwanese necklines are quite high in comparison to the States, and you’ll find yourself doing a lot of bending over in the course of teaching, so make sure you won’t be revealing anything! Ladies can bring comfortable skirts and casual blouses that will allow them freedom of movement to play learning games, but still keep cool. Dresses, skirts, and shorts shouldn’t be any shorter than just above the knee. Dress expectations vary between schools – at many schools it’s fine to wear jeans as casual pants, but some schools expect more formal dress. Bring at least a week’s worth of conservative casual clothes to wear in the beginning while you test the waters. To stay comfortable year-round, be sure to bring clothes that can be layered, because there will be noticeable temperature changes from early morning, to mid-afternoon, to night during the fall and spring.
Because it’s hot here from May to November (25 °C ~ 32 °C), and also rainy during part of the year, bring some clothes that dry easily. (We don’t have clothes dryers or central heating.) Even it’s warm in winter sometimes. (around 15~ 20 °C). When not at work, it’s okay to dress mostly like you would in the States. You’ll see Taiwanese girls wearing pretty short shorts, although spaghetti-straps, halter-tops, tube tops, and low-cut shirts are a rarity for daytime wear. This is probably partially due to modesty and partially due to fear of getting tan, but it doesn’t hurt to play it safe. As a Fulbright scholar, it’s likely that you’ll be invited to a few fancy dress events over the course of the year. Suits and dresses of all sizes can be purchased in Taiwan…or you can avoid the expense and just bring your own. Also, as hot as it is in Taitung most of the time, it still gets cool in the winter (lows of about 50F), and your work/apartment won’t be heated, so bring just a few items warmer clothing as well! If you feel like you need more, you can buy some after you arrive.
If you forget anything, don’t worry, you can still find a place to buy it here. Only larger-sized individuals will have trouble finding a good selection (if your shoe-size is larger than ladies’ 8 or men’s 10, you are most likely “large” by Taiwanese standards), and after you get acquainted with the place, you can arrange a short shopping trip in Kaohsiung. Many of the Taitung locals do this as well; just drive or take a train to Kaohsiung for the weekend to do some shopping and sightseeing.
Bring some books to read, if you like to read in your leisure time. There’s only one branch of Taiwan’s famous Eslite book store in Taitung city, and their English section consists of just a few shelves. If you need more books…..put that on your Kaohsiung/Taipei shopping list. Don’t worry, the Kaohsiung/Taipei Eslite bookstores are very well stocked.
We have beautiful mountains, ocean and hot springs. You can go mountain climbing or go surfing easily. If you want, you can go every weekend. Bring plenty of outdoor wear and definitely a swimming suit.
****Special note about teaching materials******
Although the stationary stores have a wide selection of most general school supplies/teaching materials, it has been noted that certain items are difficult to find. Here is a list of teaching materials harder to access in Taitung compiled by a former Taitung ETA. You are not required to bring any of these items, but they may compliment some of your future lesson plans.
Halloween: Candy corn, Halloween costume accessories (other than a witch hat)
Easter:Plastic Easter eggs
General:Tissue paper, English books (for yourself and your students)
For your Students:
- General Children’s Storybooks
■ Press here, By: Herve Tullet
■ We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, By: Micheal Rosen
■ Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, By: Bill Martin
I Went Walking, By: Sue Williams
- Holiday Children's Storybooks
■ Christmas: How The Grinch Stole Christmas, By: Dr. Seuss
■ Halloween: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat, By: Lucille Collandro
■ Mother’s Day: Guess How Much I Love You, By: Sam McBratney
Don’t bother bringing:
-rain boots. Although it rains a lot, it’s usually too hot for boots, just bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet instead (with good traction for slippery sidewalks!). You may find it a good idea to wear slippers/ flipflops when commuting to work by scooter during the rainy season and then changing to a pair of dry, work-acceptable shoes that you keep at school or in a plastic bag.
-a power converter. You can get Taiwanese power strips with holes for all sorts of plugs.
-silver jewelry. Silver tarnishes with amazing speed in Taiwan, so unless you polish it frequently, you won’t be able to wear it long
(updated in June of 2017 by Fulbright Kinmen ETAs 2016-2017)
- Average summer temperature: 80°F - mid-90s°F
Summer is extremely humid in Kinmen with sporadic thunderstorms. Air conditioning in public buildings is not guaranteed (i.e. classrooms, restaurants, etc.). In 2016-2017, all apartment bedrooms had air conditioning. There is almost no central air conditioning in Kinmen.
Average fall temperature: 55°F - 80°F
Fall is gorgeous and mild. Most years, at least one typhoon will hit Kinmen, but they range greatly in their intensity. During typhoons, you can expect high winds, heavy rain, and a day off.
Average winter temperature: 40°F - 60°F
Despite the seemingly mild temperatures, winter in Kinmen is frigid due to severe wind chill, lack of central heating, and lack of insulation. Kinmen is the coldest place in Taiwan. As there is no central heating in Taiwan and the walls are not insulated, rooms will be much colder than in the US. Schools also have outdoor hallways with windows open all year. Driving on a scooter, the main form of transportation, exacerbates the wind chill. Therefore, pack for “real” winter, not “island” winter. The pollution tends to get worse in the winter, but pollution masks are readily available and common. Winter is coming…
Average spring temperature: 50°F - mid-80s°F
Spring is the moldy season because of the high humidity, frequent rain, and warm weather. Many types of raingear are readily available and affordable.
Kinmen teachers dress very casually (think: jeans and a t-shirt). However, you can dress more formally, if you want. Sandals are okay, but they must have a backstrap. Sandals without a backstrap are considered “house shoes,” so flip-flops are inappropriate. People in Kinmen will tend to dress more conservatively, such as sleeved shirts, higher necklines, longer shirts, and looser fits. Most women wear minimal or no makeup.
Clothing: You can shop here! Do not feel like you need to leave Kinmen to buy necessities. While sizes run smaller, ETAs of many different body types have found clothing in Kinmen. In general, Kinmen has everything you need, although stores do not always carry a wide variety or many American brands.
Toiletries: You can buy almost all drugstore brands in Kinmen! For example, Dove, Head and Shoulders, Neutrogena, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Opti-Free, Gillette, etc. Even “Western”-specific toiletries (i.e. deodorant, tampons, contact solution, razors) are easily accessible at big drugstores, such as Watsons and CosMed. If you have non-straight hair, you may want to bring a supply of your own hair products. Even shipping these products to Kinmen can be difficult. For natural girls, you can get creative by mixing and matching oils from the grocery store for your hair. (You can also connect with other natural girls in Taipei who braid!) You will find many new beauty products in Kinmen, not available in the US. You should bring your own supply of medicine, including melatonin and allergy medicine. However, if you need a prescription while in Kinmen, you will be able to find medicine at an affordable price.
Food: There is a wide selection of outdoor vendors, convenience stores, and grocery stores in Kinmen that provide almost all the food you need. If you are looking for something specific, the Costco-like import store carries many American brands and goods. You can also ask the employees to order items for you.
Home: On your first day in Kinmen, the coordinators will take you to shop for things in your apartment. The apartments also come furnished. It may be best to leave home goods, including bedding, at home until you see what your apartment will require. However, if are allergic to some materials or have sensitive skin, we suggest you bring your own.
What to bring:
Sandals with a strap
Warm winter clothes:
Sweaters and sweatshirts
WINTER coat (a fleece is not enough)
Water-resistant and wind-resistant gloves (i.e. ski gloves)
Windbreaker and other wind-resistant clothes
Light layers (the best way to stay warm in the winter winds!)
Light, breathable fabrics for warm weather
In terms of the number of clothing items, it’s very common for teachers to wear the same outfit twice in a week. Do not be afraid to pack fewer clothes and wear repeat outfits. Dry cleaning is available.
You should bring a computer, necessary cords and possibly a back-up power supply if you have a Dell. It would also be useful to bring a computer to AV/projector converter for Mac users since the cables don't plug in the same way here.
Outlets are mostly standard American, but many are just two prong. Consider a three to two adaptor, although this can be bought in Kinmen. It might be easier from the start, though, just to have one.
DO NOT worry about outlet converters. Your US chargers are compatible in Taiwan.
Business & business casual outfits. Over the year, you will attend 3 formal dinners (business dress), 3-5 meetings (business casual), and a 3-day conference (business casual) at Fulbright Taiwan. The number of outfits you bring will depend on what you are comfortable with. However, we recommend men bring 1 suit.
These are some items that we think will be helpful when teaching next year but are not essential. These items are difficult to find in Kinmen, but craft and cooking supplies are readily available. If you already have these around your house, feel free to pack them, but don’t feel as though you need to buy them. You’ll find that everyone’s teaching situation is different, so you may never use these items. However, you can always share with your fellow ETAs.
Subscription service to digital library (i.e. your local public library’s e-book database). This is great for finding e-books to read to your students.
Religious-themed holiday items (other than Christmas)
i.e. menorahs, plastic Easter eggs, dreidels, etc.
Preschool-aged children’s books with high-frequency words. The best books will only have 1-2 sentences per page.
Personal items that showcase your culture, identity, religion, etc.
i.e. Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Roll-ups, gummy worms
Board & card games
i.e. Chutes & Ladders, Candyland, Clue, Bananagrams