A center of vibrant culture and economic growth, Taiwan—officially known as the Republic of China—has recently established itself in the capital and high-tech industries. Taiwan is located right next to the world’s center of economic growth, and is known for its amazing night-markets and dynamic culture.
Interns in Taiwan will have a chance to work in this center of international exchange and experience the dynamic culture that the island of Formosa has to offer.
Surprisingly, Taiwan’s electronics industry was nearly nonexistent in the 1960s. Nowadays, the information technology sector dominates the Taiwanese economy and plays a large role in the international IT market.
The government has even set initiatives to encourage industrial and scientific research and development by establishing science parks that house many of Taiwan’s technology companies. Several high technology and semi-conductor companies in Taiwan offer internship opportunities for students looking to gain some experience in software development, IC manufacturing, or testing. Note that you may need to have some basic knowledge or experience with technology and computing.
There are several opportunities for research in science and technology at Taiwan’s prestigious universities and research institutes. Research opportunities are available in a variety of areas relating to science, including medicine, molecular biology, and biotechnology. However, most internships are offered exclusively to graduate students and scholars who are looking to conduct in-depth research and analysis while studying abroad.
This is your chance to get some hands-on experience in international business. As globalization continues to affect businesses around the world, more and more Taiwanese organizations are looking to build international departments and foster friendly relations with western companies.
While opportunities for business related internships vary greatly with each company, interns in Taiwan should expect to use their English language skills to their advantage. Marketing, communication, and finance are only a few areas of business in which internship opportunities in Taiwan can be found. Don’t forget that many western companies that are expanding in the east may be looking for interns as well!
When and Where to Look for an Internship
Internships in Taiwan are available year-round, but most international interns work during the summer. It may be difficult to contact an organization directly about internship opportunities.
However, there are several internship program providers that have established relationships with companies in Taiwan and are looking to fill those spots. Make sure you begin researching opportunities months in advance, as the application deadlines for internship programs may vary.
Cost of Living in Taiwan
The cost of living in Taiwan may vary depending on the location you decide to live in. Like any other country, the costs of living in a large city will be much greater than living in a small village. In that sense, it will cost around 19,500 NT (New Taiwan Dollar)a month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Taipei, a major business and technology hub. Note that 1 NT is approximately 0.03 U.S. dollars. For more details about the cost of living in Taiwan, visit NUMBEO.
- 1 bedroom apartment rent: 19,500 NT
- 1 bottle of Coke: 27 NT
- 1 way subway ticket: 20 NT
Business etiquette in Taiwan leans toward the conservative end of the spectrum. Appearance for both men and women should be clean and relatively modest. Although the culture in general is influenced by the Chinese standards of formality and modesty, it is becoming increasingly westernized. Note that different companies’ work culture will vary, but it doesn’t hurt to strive for punctuality and respect.
The official language spoken in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, but you may hear locals speaking in the Taiwanese dialect. An elementary level of Mandarin is recommended to ease communication and daily living. However, there’s no need to worry about speaking fluent Mandarin in the workplace, since most businessmen speak English.
Networking is extremely important for business professionals in Taiwan. People make an effort to establish good relations with almost everyone they meet and expand their network. New opportunities often arise when two people learn that they have a mutual contact. As an intern, you will not need to worry about this too much—just take the opportunity to meet interns and co-workers! If you’re interested in growing your international professional network, check out the Taipei Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs, or Hsinchu Professionals Networking Group. If you happen to be interning in Taiwan in the fall, stop by SEMICON Taiwan, an annual networking event for Taiwan’s microelectronics manufacturing businesses.
Work and Labor Laws in Taiwan
Taiwan’s work and labor laws, outlined in the country’s Labor Standards Act, emphasize the importance of fair labor practices and occupational work hazards. Regular working hours may not exceed 84 hours per two weeks, or 42 hours per week. International interns may or may not be paid, depending on the internship program and company.
Internship Programs in Taiwan
Is English widely spoken in Taiwan?
While it's possible to get by in Taiwan only speaking English, it's generally a good idea to brush up on some basic Mandarin phrases. English will be more widely spoken in Taipei than in other parts of the country. The government has alluded to plans to make Taiwan a Mandarin-English bilingual nation by 2030, but at this point English is not nearly as commonly spoken as Mandarin.
How long can a US citizen stay in Taiwan?
US citizens can stay in Taiwan up to 90 days without a visa. If you plan to stay longer you will need to apply for a visa.