How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Knowing basic Mandarin will help you get around via taxi, at the wet markets and mom and pop restaurants/stores. The younger generation knows English and Taiwan people are very friendly and helpful if you need assistance. You can easily find quality language tutors/classes such as Taipei Language Institute (TLI) or Survival Chinese at the Community Services Center in Shilin. - Jul 2020

You don't have to speak any Chinese to get around. Many expats never learn any Chinese at all. That said, speaking some Chinese can go a long way to help with day-to-day stuff and just building goodwill as you go about your life. Chinese classes are readily available. Many Tianmu expats take Chinese at either the Community Services Center or TLI, AIT also offers spouse classes. - Dec 2018

You can make do with only English, but of course it helps greatly if you know some phrases in Mandarin. Language classes are easy to find, and about $10 USD per hour I think. - Jul 2018

I don't speak any Chinese. It limits me, but I get around fine. Most people take a period of language classes to learn everyday phrases. - Nov 2016

It is very useful to be able to ask questions and to direct taxi drivers. However, a lot of Taiwanese have studied in the states or Australia, and are almost always helpful. - Sep 2015

Some basic Chinese definitely helps but I do know quite a few people who get by with no Chinese at all. There are quite a few people here who can speak English. - Aug 2015

None. It helps, obviously, especially outside of Taipei. But, you can survive easily without langauge. - Apr 2015

Knowing Mandarin is very helpful, but I know many expats who never bothered to learn any Chinese and have lived in Taiwan for over a decade without a problem. - Sep 2013

It obviously helps, especially as you get out of Taipei. In Taipei, all public transportation and street signs are in english. Many people speak enough english to help you get by. - Jul 2013

It helps, but it is not mandatory. I speak only pleasantries and get along fine. Taiwanese learn English in school, so most speak at least some. And they are very willing to step in and help if necessary. - May 2013

I know little and have done okay. There is usually someone around who will help you out if you really need it. - May 2012

It definitely helps to be able to speak some Chinese - numbers, directions, etc. Many people speak English in the cities, but it gets a bit tougher in less populated areas. Luckily Chinese is a pretty forgiving language and the Taiwanese love helping foreigners learn. Set up a language exchange to get free lessons! - Jun 2009

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