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Preface Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:27 AM

The island of Taiwan was first incorporated into the Chinese empire in 1206 under the Mongol Yuan dynasty as a protectorate. In 1684 it was added to the coastal province of Fujian -- by which time a number of other powers were also staking their claim. The Portuguese gave Taiwan the name Formosa, by which it is still sometimes known; their tenure was brief and they were soon replaced by the Spanish and later the Dutch, who both sought to control the lucrative trade routes commanded by Taiwan. Later, Taiwan became a wild and woolly frontier outpost of China's Qing dynasty -- which, after being defeated by the Japanese in 1895, -- transferred control of the island to Tokyo. With Japan's defeat in World War II, the Nationalist government of Mainland China regained control of Taiwan, and was forced to retreat there in 1949 after having been defeated by the Communists on the Mainland.

The past 50 years have witnessed stunning economic development of Taiwan: the island has enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in the world during this period and has transformed itself from an agricultural economy into a high-tech and services-oriented export powerhouse. The last decade has seen an equally amazing political evolution. On 18 March 2000, for the first time, an opposition candidate won the presidential election. The peaceful transfer of power from the Kuomintang (KMT) to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) validated Taiwan's democratic political system.

The United States broke official diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 in order to establish official ties with the People's Republic of China (PRC). At the same time, the U.S. Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) establishing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to conduct the "unofficial" relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan. In addition, the TRA declared that peace and stability in the region are in the political, security and economic interests of the United States; any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means would be a "grave concern to the United States"; and committed the U.S. to provide Taiwan with defensive articles and services as necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain sufficient defense capability against the use of force from the PRC.

Over the years, the Taiwan people have repeatedly expressed their appreciation for U.S. support, particularly for its economic and military assistance. The hundreds of thousands of Taiwan students who have studied in the U.S. have helped cement Taiwan-U.S. ties and instilled appreciation for U.S. values in the broader Taiwan society.

AIT is a private, non-profit corporation with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia and offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung, and is managed by a board of trustees.

As authorized by the Taiwan Relations Act (see appendix), AIT conducts commercial, cultural and other relations with the people of Taiwan. Its Taiwan counterpart, likewise non-governmental, is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO). TECRO has its headquarters in Taipei and offices in Washington, D.C. and twelve other American cities.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:16 PM

Named "Ihla Formosa", or Beautiful Island, by the Portuguese, Taiwan is a land of contrasts. It has everything from industrial towns and cities to rural towns and spectacular mountain vistas, from centuries old Confucian ceremonies to modern music and chaotic traffic to friendly people willing to help a stranger.

Taiwan is a small island 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89.5 miles) wide at its broadest point, and includes a number of smaller islands. It is a little bigger than Maryland and foothills and mountains covering over two thirds of the island. Yu Shan (Jade Mountain), Taiwan's highest peak at 3952 meters, is taller than Japan's Mount Fuji.

The Tropic of Cancer bisects the island, so the climate is sub-tropica with temperatures ranging from 12 to 35 degrees Celsius (54-95 degrees Fahrenheit).

Northern Taiwan has two long seasons (summer & winter) and two short seasons (spring & autumn).

Spring, mid-March to mid-May, is mostly sunny and mild with brief spells of cloudy skies and rain showers. Spring's average daily temperature is 17-25C or 62-77F.

Summer, mid-May through late September, is hot with an average rainfall of 10 inches a month, mostly from afternoon showers and thunderstorms.

Autumn, late September to early November, is characterized by mild temperatures and afternoon showers.

Winter, November through mid-April, is characterized by low cloud drizzle, fog and occasional winds.

The daily temperatures range between 17 - 24 degrees C (62-75F) in November, dropping to 12 - 19C (54 - 66F) in January and then rising to 14 - 22C (57 - 72F) in March. Occasionally, the temperature drops below 1OC (50F), especially in the mountainous areas.

The typhoon season usually starts in mid-June and lasts through October. An average of 12 typhoons form in the Western Pacific each year. The average daily temperature range in Taipei is 21 - 29C (70 - 84F) in May; 24 - 35C (75 - 95F) in July and August; 23 - 33C (73 - 91F) in September; and 20 - 27C (68 - 81F) in October.

Due to the high humidity, the heat and cold are much more uncomfortable than the temperature ranges suggest.

Kaohsiung enjoys a milder, drier winter than Taipei, but summer temperatures average about the same.

As a result of its subtropical position and heavy rainfall, Taiwan's natural landscape is constantly green with the varied hues of forest, shrubs and coarse tropical grass. All but the peaks of the highest mountains are covered with vegetation.

Taiwan is very active geologically, sitting as it does at the juncture of the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates. Steam vents and hot sulfur springs abound. Earthquakes are a common occurrence in Taiwan.

Population Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:38 AM

Taiwan's culture is a blend of its distinctive Chinese heritage and Western influences. Fine arts, folk traditions, and popular culture embody traditional and modern, Asian and Western motifs. One of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum, which houses over 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting and porcelain. This collection was moved from the mainland in 1949 when Chiang Kaishek's Nationalist Party (KMT) fled to Taiwan. The collection is so extensive that only 1% is on display at any one time.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:16 PM

People in Taiwan firmly believe that democracy is here to stay. The direct popular election of President Lee Teng-hui in 1996, the first such direct election of a leader in 5,000 years of Chinese history, marked Taiwan's transition into a fullfledged, multi-party democracy. The election of Chen Shui-bian as President in 2000 marked the first peaceful transition of power from one political party to another. President Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) faces vigorous opposition, which has played an important role in shaping legislation.

Taiwan's unique status in the international arena is tied to the island's recent history. In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang (KMT) fled to Taiwan after being defeated in the Chinese Civil War by the Communists under Mao Tse Tung. For decades, the KMT authorities on Taiwan maintained that they were the sole legitimate government of all of China and that they would at some point reunite all of China under their rule. Beijing and Taipei fought for international recognition, and, over time, Beijing clearly began to win the diplomatic struggle. In 1971, the People's Republic of China (PRC) replaced the "Republic of China (ROC)," the official name of the government in Taiwan, in the United Nations. In 1979, the U.S. switched its diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing. By 2002, Taiwan maintained official diplomatic relations with only twenty-eight countries.

In 1991, Taiwan gave up its claim to rule all of China, although it still claims legitimacy based on unbroken "ROC" sovereignty. The KMT still officially favors unification with mainland China, at some time in the future when the mainland is prosperous and democratic and enjoys a fairly equal distribution of income. The DPP party charter officially favors independence. The PRC continues to consider Taiwan an inalienable part of China. Beijing's fear that Taiwan might be gradually drifting toward independence occasionally sparks tension across the Taiwan Strait. In 1996, the PRC conducted missile exercises within 25 miles of Taiwan's two major ports, just as the island was getting ready for its first direct presidential election. In response to these exercises, the U.S. dispatched two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region, in order to underline Washington's commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue. Despite these political tensions, non-political ties between Taiwan and the PRC have grown tremendously. Since 1987, when Taiwan lifted a ban on all contacts with mainland China, Taiwan trade and investment on the mainland has grown rapidly, with some private analysts estimating that there has been more than $40 billion worth of investment in the PRC. Two-way trade across the Taiwan Strait is approaching $30 billion annually; and, since 1987, there have been millions of visits to mainland China by Taiwan residents.

Taiwan has 5 branches of government: the Executive Yuan (the administrative branch of government), the Legislative Yuan (legislative), the Judicial Yuan (judicial), the Control Yuan (similar to a government-wide inspectorate) and the Examination Yuan (charged primarily with administering examinations for entry into Taiwan's civil service). There is also a nonstanding National Assembly that formally served as an Electoral College for electing the President, but now is charged primarily with amending the constitution. The island is divided into 21 cities and counties, as well as 2 metropolitan areas, Taipei and Kaohsiung.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:41 AM

The people of Taiwan are proud of their cultural tradition. The largest collection of Chinese art objects in the world is exhibited in the National Palace Museum. Many pleasant days can be spent visiting the galleries, exhibits, and museums throughout the island, and it is a rare visitor who does not purchase a few paintings, pieces of sculpture, ceramics, woodcarvings, or handicraft articles. Traditional Chinese music and opera coexist with Western forms, while contemporary entertainment ranges from modern dance to quiz shows.

Every city has movie theaters where films produced in America, Europe, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are shown. Television is a popular entertainment offering a wide range of programming, mostly in Chinese but via cable TV, English and Japanese programs are also available.

The performing arts complex at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Plaza has hosted internationally known performers and groups such as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Luciano Pavarotti and Wynton Marsalis. The state-of-the-art National Theater and the equally well-appointed National Concert Hall have hosted a variety of Chinese performers as well as Western artists, ranging from the Vienna Boys Choir to the Martha Graham Dance Company. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, with a seating capacity of 2,600, and the Municipal Social Education Hall are other premier performing arts venues in Taipei. Besides performances of Western classical music, occasional concert dates by headliners such as B. B. King and Ray Charles, jazz pianist Chick Corea and rockers like Ricky Martin and Michael Jackson dot the Taipei musical calendar.

In a culture that has traditionally respected scholars and scholarship, a high value is placed on education as an avenue for economic and social advancement. Many visitors comment about the number of people holding doctoral degrees from the U.S. who comprise the elite in industry, commerce, government and, of course, academic circles. A free public education is mandatory for the first nine years and is available to all youth in Taiwan; an examination process limits access to senior secondary and higher education. Acceptance is based upon demonstrated academic performance and extra-curricular achievements. There is keen competition for the better schools and economically rewarding fields of learning. Students are under heavy parental and social pressure to study diligently. Opportunities exist at many universities for undergraduate foreign study. In 2000, at least 31,000 students departed for study abroad, the vast majority to the United States. Currently there are over 29,000 students from Taiwan studying at colleges in the United States.

Taiwan is a fascinating island that combines both the Occident and Orient in the fields of art, science and education. It is an exciting culture that intertwines old China with the new West--from ancient Chinese art and modern nightclubs to brush calligraphy and nuclear physics.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:47 AM

Taiwan's economy has transformed rapidly in recent years. The role of traditional manufacturing -- products such as shoes and bicycles -- has declined, with many factories moving to lower-wage locations. Meanwhile, Taiwan has become a manufacturing and R&D center for "high-tech," capital-intensive products such as semiconductors and flat-screen displays. Taiwan companies are world leaders in high-tech oriented "original equipment manufacturing," meaning that they are often the "hidden" designers and manufacturers of brand-name products such as laptops, digital cameras, and other information technology components. Taiwan's fifty years of nearly uninterrupted economic growth have generally been export-driven. Until the late 1980s, Taiwan was dependent on the United States to absorb up to half of its exports. In recent years, a growing number of Taiwan investors have set up factories in the PRC and Southeast Asia. As a result, Taiwan has become a key supplier of high-end manufacturing inputs to these locations. The PRC is now Taiwan's top export market (although many products exported there ultimately end up reprocessed and sent on to the U.S., E.U., and Japan). Spurred partly by growing demand for industrial inputs and partly by liberalization of tariff and non-tariff barriers, Taiwan is boosting its imports. In 2001, Taiwan was the eighth-largest trading partner of the U.S., with imports worth $18 billion (down from $25 billion in 2000 due to the recession). U.S. bulk commodities and industrial equipment have always sold well in Taiwan. Sales of U.S. consumer goods and high value food products have also risen sharply in recent years.

Per capita GDP exceeded US$15,000 in 2000, before dropping to about $13,000 in 2001, due to a recession and currency depreciation. Unemployment increased significantly in 2001, peaking at 5.33 percent in October, before falling to just over five percent by March 2002.

With its accession to the WTO on January 1, 2002, Taiwan has regained membership in an international trading body.

As part of its liberalization efforts, Taiwan is slowly privatizing and deregulating areas of its economy previously dominated by stateowned monopoly enterprises, such as telecommunications, petroleum refining and utilities. Private firms are also encouraged to construct and operate infrastructure projects such as harbors, municipal transit systems, and high-speed railways. Foreign investors have been allowed to participate in these and other major projects.

Banking, insurance, real estate development, and the securities markets have also been opened to foreign participation. Capital is free to move to finance trade-oriented transactions, including foreign direct and portfolio investments. Restrictions on foreign exchange have been significantly relaxed.

Taiwan is generally open to international investment. The United States and Japan are the largest foreign investors in Taiwan. About 2,200 U.S. firms are on the island, ranging from one-person offices to major production facilities, especially in the electronics field. An active, effective American Chamber of Commerce holds regular meetings in both Taipei and Kaohsiung.


Automobiles Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:17 PM

Even though the Institute provides home-to-office transportation at reasonable cost to the employees living in the Yangmingshan housing area, a personal car is a great convenience. Driving in Taiwan is different from driving in the U.S. The traffic has been described as liquid, an accurate visualization of how the vehicles all seem to fill in any gap. Motor scooters, cars, trucks and buses make heavy traffic that sometimes has only a facade of structure and enforcement. Newcomers find the driving practices confusing until they realize that there is no pattern and caution and alertness are required at all times.

A small to mid-sized, sturdy car is best suited for maneuvering in Taipei's heavy traffic. Virtually all vehicles are involved in minor accidents at some point during a tour here. Outside urban areas, the major roads are generally well-paved and maintained. Four-wheel drive, heavy-duty tires and shock absorbers are only necessary for those who want to do off-road mountain exploring on rough or unpaved roads. Rustproofing, a defogger, windshield wipers, and especially air-conditioning are virtual necessities in this humid environment. You might want to consider a CD or cassette player to study language and for driving outside the city where radio stations might be difficult to receive. Catalytic converters are required on all vehicles imported into Taiwan.

The authorities strictly enforce detailed regulations on the importation, use, and sale of motor vehicles. Before you plan to import a car, carefully read these regulations under Notes For Travelers.

All personnel assigned to AIT register their cars and receive license plates free of charge, one car per employee.

Drivers' licenses are issued without cost to all AIT employees and adult family members. Those with valid U.S. or valid international drivers' licenses usually do not need to take the local driving test. However, individuals who only possess valid international drivers' licenses must have the licenses endorsed by the Taiwan Highway Bureau before driving in Taiwan. International drivers' licenses may be obtained at a nominal fee at any time during your stay in Taiwan, but they are not respected by all countries. If you expect to be driving elsewhere in the region during your tour, it is best to secure an international driver's license in the U.S. before coming to Taiwan, if possible.

Auto Insurance Auto liability insurance is mandatory and must be obtained locally before the vehicle is moved from the port. The minimum insurance coverage required is: Bodily injury, per person NT$13,000,000 (US$475,000.00) Bodily injury, per accident NT$6,500,000 (US$238,000.00) Third party property damage NT$520,000 (US$19,000.00).

Personnel should be aware that local law only requires third party liability insurance in the denominations listed above, but due to traffic congestion and the number of accidents, AIT suggests coverage at much higher rates. Local insurance companies sell liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. Some employees choose to have their automobiles insured through U.S.-based companies. Local insurance rates for all-risk comprehensive policies range from US$800.00 to US$1,500.00 yearly. Employees should compare prices before selecting a company.

Gasoline Tax-free coupons for the purchase of gasoline are available from the AIT cashier or at the Association Distribution Center (ADC). Coupons are available in NT$200 denominations. These coupons are valid at China Petroleum Company service stations throughout Taiwan. Unleaded gasoline is available throughout the island.

Local auto repair facilities are generally satisfactory for most makes of Japanese, European and American vehicles. It will be economical to bring spare parts, which you would expect to replace during a tour, such as oil/air/fuel filters, motor oil, and lamps. Spare parts for some American and European manufactured automobiles are available locally, but they are usually expensive. One must expect occasional delays for special parts, especially on imported cars.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:48 AM

Inside Taipei City, there are taxis, buses and the metro system (MRT). Many taxis cruise the streets, and even on the rainiest day you can usually catch a cab. Bus service is very convenient and inexpensive, although buses are usually crowded at rush hour. On Yangmingshan, moreover, buses are often crowded when the Cultural University is in session, or during the flower season, when many pilgrims go to witness the blooming of the cherry blossoms. Many people take taxis and buses whenever convenient, rather than drive in the hectic traffic, especially in areas where parking is difficult. A rudimentary knowledge of Chinese or the address written in Chinese is necessary, since taxi and bus drivers generally have little English ability. Women and children are encouraged to take taxis in the evening only from reputable taxi companies from which you can order a taxi (lists are available at AIT). Taxi and bus fares are less expensive than in the U.S. There is a 20% surcharge for taxi fares from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM, and from three days before to three days after the Lunar New Year's Holiday. Tipping is not generally expected.

The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system has been in service since 1996. There are now six lines servicing most of the greater Taipei area, including Tamshui, Hsintien, and Panchiao. The MRT conveniently links the shopping, residential and tourist sites in Taipei.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:49 AM

Public transportation in Taiwan is good, and rates are still cheaper than in the U.S. Air-conditioned trains operate on a daily schedule about five hours apart between the cities on the main western trunk line that links Taipei and Kaohsiung. Nine express and several other airconditioned trains operate daily between Taipei and Hualien on the northeast coast.

Northern Link railroad provides comfortable service and a spectacular view between tunnels on the Hualien to Taitung East Coast railroad. The three-hour trip is offered five times per day. The North-South Highway, a toll road, connects Keelung-TaipeiKaohsiung. Driving time from Taipei to Keelung is less than 30 minutes and Kaohsiung can be reached in approximately 6 hours; all travel times are highly variable, depending upon traffic.

Scheduled buses travel the road between Taipei and Kaohsiung on an average of every two to ten minutes. Other buses, some air-conditioned, link small towns and villages, as well as the major cities.

Domestic airlines provide regular jet service on modern aircraft between the island's major cities, and several feeder airlines provide connections to Taiwan's outlying islands. The speed, convenience and relatively low cost of domestic air travel make it the preferred option for travel between Taipei and southern and eastern Taiwan cities.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:49 AM

Local telephone service is good and international direct dial telephone service to the United States is excellent. Worldwide telephone and fax service is available to and from Taipei and Kaohsiung at reasonable cost. Station-to-station international calls are reasonable. Internet service is widely available through DDSL and ADSL.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:50 AM

American employees of AIT can use the following addresses:

Personal Letters, Magazines & Packages: John Doe 4170 AIT Taipei Place Dulles, VA 20189-4170

Pouch Mail: John Doe 4170 AIT Taipei Place Department of State Washington, DC 20521-4170

International Mail: Jane Doe American Institute in Taiwan 7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Sec. 3, Taipei 106, Taiwan

In Washington, the mail is collected on a regular basis, pouched and forwarded to Taipei. By special arrangement between the Institute and the U.S. Government, magazine and package mail is processed for shipment by the Department of State. Mail is dispatched from Washington and Taipei on a regular basis. U.S. postage at domestic rates is required and stamps are available from the Association Distribution Center (ADC). Transit time for letter mail from the point of origin is approximately 10 days; for magazines and parcels, it can take 14 days.

Incoming packages may not exceed 17x18x30 inches, and no one dimension may exceed these limits. The new weight limit is 45 pounds. Insured mail and packages will not be accepted by the Washington address for shipment to AIT. Registered letters and packages are accepted for shipment to AIT.

The outgoing mail from AIT may be used for letters, cassette tapes, and video tapes, and also for returning merchandise received from the United States. The AIT Employee Association (AITEA) has developed a program that enables AIT employees to mail packages, via the pouch, by paying standard U.S. postage plus the air freight charges to Washington, DC.

Please remember that you are limited in what you can mail to AIT via the Washington addresses prior to your arrival or while on R&R and Home Leave. You should use your accompanied baggage, air freight and household weight allowance to cover the shipment of effects to AIT. Some boxes may be sent through the pouch prior to your arrival, but the pouch should not be used to circumvent the established weight allowances. All employees and dependents are reminded to review 5 FAM 332.4(5) and 6 FAM 168, as well as 02 State 221973, which explain the use of the pouch and the limitations on what can be shipped. Personnel who violate these regulations will be required to reimburse AIT for the shipping costs of the items from Washington to Taipei.

Local mail service is efficient (5 to 7 days) for international mail but may be subject to inspection. Approval must be obtained from TECRO before packages can receive duty free clearance from customs. Customs clearance takes approximately 5 to 7 working days.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/18/2005 12:51 AM

The International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) station provides English-language radio programs 24 hours a day on both AM and FM stereo frequencies. Some programs are bilingual. In addition, there are many Chinese AM and stereo FM stations. There are stations broadcasting western, classical and popular music part of the day, although the commentary is in Chinese. Short-wave reception from major world capitals is generally good.

Three TV stations in Taipei broadcast throughout Taiwan. Most programs are in Chinese, but the stations do carry some U.S. programs and movies. Residents now have access to the Japanese (NHK) and Hong Kong (Star) Satellite Systems via cable TV, featuring several news, sports and general entertainment shows in English. Cable TV also carries CNN, HBO Asia, Cinemax, Disney and ESPN International. Schedules for these shows are listed in the English language newspapers. Cable TV is available in all current AIT housing areas with prices similar to those in the U.S. Some English soundtracks from cable TV require a stereo TV in order to switch between Chinese and English, and sometimes Japanese. American-standard TVs work without modification in Taiwan. There are local video and DVD clubs with reasonable fees. A Blockbuster Video is located near AIT, and there is also one near the Taipei American School.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:18 PM

Three English-language newspapers are published daily on Taiwan. In addition, The International Herald Tribune, USA Today, and the Asian Wall Street Journal can be delivered to your home. Airmail subscriptions to Hong Kong or Tokyo English-language newspapers are also available. Weekly subscriptions to the Asian editions of Time and Newsweek can be delivered to your home or office. Other American magazines are generally available locally but are very expensive. Have subscriptions to your favorite magazines delivered through the mail.

Libraries: There is a large Taipei Municipal Library near AIT's main offices. Anyone 15 or older can become a member of AIT's American Resource Center, borrow books and use its computer resource library. Taipei American School (TAS) parents and students can use TAS library cards to take advantage of that extensive library.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:20 PM

AIT Health Unit. AIT has a small health unit in the main office building. The health unit is normally staffed by two Registered Nurses (RNs) with U.S. licenses. The Regional Medical Officer is posted in Manila and makes frequent visits. The Health Unit is run according to State Department guidelines and the nurses are able to make referrals.

Out Patient Clinic. Taiwan has adequate medical care. Some of the physicians are U.S. trained. Since 1997 AIT has had verbal or written contracts with nearby hospitals and clinics. The local medical facilities operate on a two-system basis. One is the National Health Insurance Clinic and the other is the Non-National Health Insurance Clinic, also called the VIP Clinic (which only accepts cash or credit cards, at the time services are rendered, and you must file your own insurance paperwork). The National Health Insurance Clinic is not "user friendly" to the non-Chinese speaking individual. The Health Unit has a list of physicians from which the nurses can make referrals.

Immunizations. Recommended for adults are:

Hepatitis A - Series of two inoculations Hepatitis B - Series of three inoculations Japanese Encephalitis - Series of three inoculations Typhoid Vaccine - 1 inoculation at age 2, then boosters every 2 years or 1 capsule of 4 doses, then boosters every 5 years Tetanus- Booster every 10 years

Prescription Medicines. Personnel who use prescription medicines on a regular basis should make arrangements to receive these through the pouch. The Health Unit does not endorse any particular pharmacy. However, two pharmacies recommended by some people at post are Morton's Pharmacy and CVS Drug Store. Also, some employees take advantage of the Merck Medco system of ordering prescription medicine through the mail.

Local Pharmacies. Most medications are available locally without prescription. If you choose to self-medicate, be aware that there have been reports of counterfeit and ineffective medications in the local pharmacies.

Dentists, Orthodontists & Periodontists. Excellent dental care is available in Taiwan, and prices are comparable to U.S. prices.

Community Health Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:18 PM

In 1999 the Taipei City Government implemented the Universal Garbage Disposal Program (4R's: Reduction, Reuse, Recycling and Regeneration). As a result, Taipei has seen great changes in its sanitation. Due to the tropical climate, insect infestation is a major problem. Several cases of Japanese Encephalitis, a mosquito-borne viral infection, have been reported since June 2001. Malaria is another disease that is transmitted through the bite of an infected female mosquito, but Taiwan has not had a reported case since 1966. Another mosquito-transmitted disease is dengue fever. There have been numerous reported cases of dengue fever since June 2001, many resulting in death. None of AIT's employees have contracted dengue fever.

Community Services Center

The Community Services Center is designed for foreigners. The center provides counseling sessions either by a certified therapist or by a social worker. The center also offers adult education classes and local community tours.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:21 PM

Meat should be eaten only if well-cooked. Occasionally, there are cases of upset stomach and diarrhea.

Taipei has a modern water treatment center for all tap water, but some water pipes are old and this can lead to water contamination prior to reaching your residence. If, even after installing a filter (AIT houses are provided with a filter in the kitchen) and/or boiling the water to be consumed, you still have doubts about the safety of your water, you are encouraged to buy bottled water. If you decide to drink distilled water, you should make sure to add minerals to your diet.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:23 PM

There are many employment opportunities available to family members in Taiwan. AIT often has vacancies for its designated spousal positions (that is, those positions requiring a security clearance). However, all positions are open to qualified AIT Eligible Family Members. Current positions which are designated as being specifically for spouses include: Community Liaison Officer (CLO), Consular Associate (2), Nurse, Information Management Assistant, Roving OMS, and Systems/Administrative Assistant.

The AIT Employees Association (AITEA) also maintains a small staff, including a manager, cashier and part-time bookkeeper for the Association Distribution Center (ADC). These positions are generally open to EFMs. An EFM is also employed as the AIT newsletter editor.

EFMs also have ample opportunities to teach in language institutes (especially English), colleges, Taipei American School, preschools, or even private tutoring. A bachelor's degree is usually required and a higher degree is often preferred.

The passage of the "Employment Services Act" in April 1992 now requires all foreigners to obtain a valid work permit before being allowed to work. Spouses of AIT employees have been regularly granted work permits, but it does mean giving up duty-free purchasing status for the spouse with the work permit. In addition, those employed locally are subject to income tax. Incomes are taxed at 20% for the first 183 days or less, but the rate changes to 6-40% based on the amount you make afterwards.

An annual summer hire program for teens and college-age dependents is organized and implemented through the Community Liaison and Human Resources Offices. Minimum eligibility age for this program is 16 years.

EFMs wishing to teach should bring their teaching credentials; however, these are not required for teaching English as a second language. Others should bring resumes, letters of recommendation from previous employers and samples of their work, if applicable.

A note for teachers: Full-time teaching opportunities at Taipei American School (TAS) are limited due to heavy competition for the positions and limited personnel turnover. Substitute teaching is generally available and sometimes can lead to a regular position. Interested EFMs should contact: Human Resources Office Taipei American School Fax: 886-2-2873-1641

TAS conducts recruiting interviews on the east coast of the U.S. in February.

Inquiries regarding the availability of specific employment opportunities can be made to the AIT's Human Resources Office (HR) or Community Liaison Office (CLO).

American Istitute - AIT Taipei

Post City Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:26 PM

The American Institute in Taiwan is headed by a Director, whose responsibilities are to maintain unofficial U.S. relations with Taiwan; and to direct AIT's activities in Taiwan. Along with the Executive Office there are 11 other sections: Administrative (ADM), Political (POL), Consular (CONS), Economic (ECON), Commercial (COMM), Agriculture (AGR), Public Affairs (PAS), Research & Planning (RAP), Technical Affairs (TECH), Liaison Affairs Section (LAS) and the Chinese Language and Area Studies School (CLASS).

Additionally, a small branch office in Kaohsiung provides some services in the south of Taiwan.

The main AIT office in Taipei, is located at:

American Institute in Taiwan 7 Lane 134, Hsin Yi Rd., Sec. 3 Taipei 106, Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2709-2000 Fax: 886-2-2702-7675

After Hours Phone: 886-2709-2013/4 AIT Homepage: http:\\ Office hours are Monday - Friday 0800 - 1700, with one hour for lunch. The offices are closed on American and local holidays.

The Commercial Section is located at:

Suite 3207, International Trade Building 32F, #333 Keelung Road, Sec. 1 Taipei 110 Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2720-1550 Fax: 886-2-2757-7162

The American Cultural Center is located at:

Suite 2101, International TradeBuilding 21F, #333 Keelung Road, Sec. 1 Taipei 110, Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2723-3959 Fax: 886-2-2725-2644 E-mail:

The Agricultural Trade Office is located at:

Room 704, Lotus Mansion 7F, #136 Jen Ai Road, Sec. 3, Taipei 106, Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2705-6536 Fax: 886-2-2706-4885

Language School Students

The AIT Chinese Language any Area Studies School (CLASS) is located on Yangmingshan, adjacent to the principal housing areas and about 11 miles from the main AIT office: 5 Chang-Sheng Lane, Ai Fu 3rd Street Shantzehou, Yangmingshan Taipei 111, Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2861-2447 Fax: 886-2-2861-5142 CLASS is a part of AIT Taipei and functions as a regular office. The primary mission of the school is to provide full-time, advanced training in speaking and reading Mandarin Chinese for employees who need to attain professional levels of language proficiency. The goal for trainees who have already reached the FSI Limited Working Proficiency Level (S-2/R-2) in Chinese is to reach the General Professional Proficiency Level (S-3/R-3) in a training program lasting about ten months. The School also offers basic courses in other Chinese dialects, as required.

Concurrent with the language course, CLASS provides students with an area studies program consisting of classes on Chinese culture, seminars with local academics, lectures, area orientation trips and extensive self-directed reading.

Students are usually asked to arrive in Taiwan the first week in August, and the school year runs from August through early June of the following year. The daily class schedule is ordinarily from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Classes consist of a combination of small groups and tutorials, depending on the needs of the students and available resources. In addition to scheduled classes, students are responsible for three to four hours of outside preparation each evening. Spouses may avail themselves of the Post Language Program Direct Funding Initiative if they wish to pursue language training on their own.

Language students reside in AIT housing on Yangmingshan along with other AIT personnel and are included in social functions of the AIT community. Most aspects of this post report will apply to CLASS students as well as other AIT employees.

Language School students are advised to bring a small cassette tape recorder or player (such as a Walkman) with them, which they will find useful for language practice. Also, students should be sure to pack dictionaries and other reference works in their airfreight, since they will need them from the very beginning. It is recommended that students bring television sets if they have them. A VCR (preferably multisystem) is also highly recommended.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:27 PM

Newly arrived employees usually move directly into their permanent quarters. If it is necessary to stay in temporary quarters, AIT will make these arrangements prior to your arrival. Temporary lodging can be either a furnished and equipped apartment or house or a hotel.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:29 PM

All AIT American direct-hire employees live in AIT-leased housing. About half of the employees live on Yangmingshan, located eleven miles from the main AIT Office, usually about a 40-minute drive. Other residences, consisting of houses and apartments, are located in downtown Taipei. AIT housing conforms to the guidelines in Airgram A-171 and 6 FAM 720.

A small Japanese-style guesthouse located near the Yangmingshan National Park is available to AIT employees and their families, at a nominal charge, for a weekend or weekday get away.

AIT encourages employees to indicate a preference of mountain (Yangmingshan) or downtown housing area several months before they arrive so that their request will be on record when the Housing Board meets to assign housing (usually in April for the summer cycle). Families with children generally prefer to be on the mountain where the air is cleaner and where there is room for the children to play outside. More importantly, the Yangmingshan housing is convenient to the Taipei American School.

Singles and couples with no children or very young children often prefer the downtown apartments so they can avoid the commute. You are encouraged to contact the CLO if you have questions about the housing so that you can make an informed choice. The CLO gives new employees the name of their representative on the board and you are welcome to contact that person as well.

Deputy Director's Residence

The Deputy Director's Residence is located in downtown Taipei. The house is conveniently located near the main AIT offices. Detailed information can be obtained from the Chief of the Administrative Section.

Other Residences

Additional residential units are located in downtown Taipei and on Yangmingshan. The Yangmingshan units are comprised of three- and four-bedroom detached homes with walled or fenced yards, and two downtown locations have three- and four-bedroom apartments.

The apartments are modern and adequate to meet all requirements, with 1,290 - 1,500 square feet of living space. A few of the apartments have parking. The Hsin Yi apartment building has a communal laundry room in the basement, while at the Dun Hwa building each unit has a small combination washer/dryer; there is also a small community exercise room at Dun Hwa. AIT is gradually letting old leases lapse and acquiring new, more modern housing.

Houses on Yangmingshan are located in three main housing areas, which are within walking distance of each other. The houses are approximately 50 years old, but almost all have modern renovated kitchens and bathrooms, and other improvements. Most of the houses are detached three- and four-bedroom ranch style, with approximately 1,300 - 2,300 square feet of living space. The houses in these areas include domestic employee's quarters. There are also two five-bedroom houses and five two-bedroom duplex, two-story townhouses with 900 square feet of living space. The ADC, a small commissary-type operation, is located in the Yangmingshan housing area. Also, there is a small country club located on Yangmingshan adjacent to the AIT housing area. The club has tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a restaurant. The country club offers free membership to all AIT personnel. In addition, a very basic weight/workout room is located on the AIT compound.

Residential Furnishings

All AIT housing is fully equipped with major appliances, including a washer and dryer (with the exception of the Hsin Yi apartments); all have a dishwasher (with the exception of the townhouses), microwave, vacuum cleaner, built-in water filter, 2 dehumidifiers, air-conditioning, floor fan, ironing board, stove and refrigerator. Master bedrooms have queen-size beds; other bedrooms have one twin bed. Shower curtains are not usually furnished.

All houses contain basic furniture, but many employees prefer to augment this with personal items in HHE or purchased locally. Limited shipment allowances are best used for kitchenware, china, tableware, linens, blankets, bedspreads, clothes, iron and other small appliances, reading lamps, entertainment items and decorative pieces. These and most other items for household use are sold on the local market, but they are usually more expensive. Storage space is extremely limited, so be careful when deciding what to bring.

Furnishings Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:29 PM

All AIT housing is fully equipped with major appliances, including a washer and dryer (with the exception of the Hsin Yi apartments); all have a dishwasher (with the exception of the townhouses), microwave, vacuum cleaner, built-in water filter, 2 dehumidifiers, air-conditioning, floor fan, ironing board, stove and refrigerator. Master bedrooms have queen-size beds; other bedrooms have one twin bed. Shower curtains are not usually furnished.

All houses contain basic furniture, but many employees prefer to augment this with personal items in HHE or purchased locally. Limited shipment allowances are best used for kitchenware, china, tableware, linens, blankets, bedspreads, clothes, iron and other small appliances, reading lamps, entertainment items and decorative pieces. These and most other items for household use are sold on the local market, but they are usually more expensive. Storage space is extremely limited, so be careful when deciding what to bring.

Food Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:30 PM

A great variety of good quality fresh fruits, vegetables and meats is available. Taipei has dozens of excellent large open-air food markets where daily shopping can be a very interesting experience. There are also large numbers of Western-style supermarkets and hypermarkets, including Wellcome, COSTCO, Carrefour, Tesco, etc. There are many good bakeries and small convenience stores throughout the city, which stock familiar American snack foods as well as local products. Imported foods are expensive, but not outrageously so. Taiwan's fresh pork is excellent. Locally cured bacon and ham, chicken, capon, duck, pigeon and goose are sold year round, as are duck, chicken and pigeon eggs. Fish, shrimp, prawn, crab, lobster, squid, clams and oysters are plentiful. Canned and dried fish and meat are popular items with the Chinese. Good beef imported from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand is available, albeit at higher prices than in the U.S.

The people of Taiwan are the world's largest per capita consumers of fruit, so there is an incredible variety of quality fruits, both local and imported, available throughout the year. You can find apples, bananas, pineapples, oranges, tangerines, pomelos, grapefruit, papayas, mangoes, plums, lichees, guavas, persimmons, limes, watermelon and cantaloupes.

Vegetables available include lettuce, spinach and a wide variety of other greens, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, squash, turnips, radishes, green beans, snow peas, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, fresh ginger, onions, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beets, mushrooms, asparagus, potatoes and sweet potatoes, plus varieties seldom found in the U.S. Imported Western-style vegetables, like asparagus, broccoli, button mushrooms and celery can be very expensive.

Short grain rice, steamed bread, noodles and bean cake, as well as baked bread, rolls and pastries are always available. Generally long grain rice is not available, but this may change after WTO accession and market liberalization. French and whole wheat breads have become increasingly popular.

Dairy products such as milk, flavored milk, butter (salted and unsalted), cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, whipping cream and cheese are available, but at very high prices. There is a relatively small selection of cheese available, but better than in most of Asia. Many of these products, with the exception of fresh milk, are imported from Australia, New Zealand or the U.S.

Brand name baby foods are available on the local market. Since most stores have a high sales turnover of these products, there is little need to be concerned about freshness.

The ADC, a small grocery outlet, is located in the Yangmingshan housing area. The ADC attempts to supply those packaged foods and cleaning and household specialty items that are either unobtainable or expensive locally. The ADC also provides a range of American and foreign liquor, wine, American beer and diet and regular sodas. Special orders can also be placed through the ADC for other items not normally stocked. The standard mark-up, to cover shipping and costs, is 45% over the wholesale price from the U.S. West Coast distributor.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:32 PM

A wide variety of styles and price ranges of clothing is available in Taipei but most employees of AIT supplement the clothes they bring with purchases from mail order catalogs or purchase replacement clothing while on R & R or vacation in the U.S. There are tailors available but they are expensive and ready-made clothing is not always available in U.S. sizes. Children's clothing and shoes can be purchased locally with a wide selection of expensive and high quality clothing available from department stores, and less expensive and more uneven quality clothing available in small shops or markets.

Raingear is needed for all family members. Boots are a necessity. They can be purchased locally or ordered as needed. Good umbrellas are in plentiful supply on the local market and inexpensively priced. (During the summer, Chinese women carry an umbrella as a protection from the sun as much as from the rain.)

Good quality dress shoes are not available at reasonable prices. Ladies sizes 7 and above, and men's sizes 9 and above are especially difficult to find. It is advisable to bring a good selection, especially for adults. Due to the dampness, special care must be taken with leather products to prevent mildew.

Although at most functions office dress is appropriate, on rare occasions there are events which require formal dress. Locally-made formal wear for men and women is of very good quality, though expensive.

Fabrics, zippers, thread, and other notions are available for those who plan to sew.

Men Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:32 PM

Men require a good supply of durable, lightweight suits, for office wear during the five to six months of hot, humid summer weather. Medium to heavyweight suits, slacks, and sports jackets are needed the rest of the year.

Men wear jackets and ties for the office or evening. Women wear either a business suit or dress. Good tailoring for men's and ladies' suits is available on the local market at high prices and good locally-made and imported materials are available. There are a few days in winter when a medium weight topcoat can be worn, but normally a lightweight coat or raincoat will suffice.

Women Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:33 PM

Women should plan to wear lightweight, cool attire during the long, hot, humid summer. Cotton is more comfortable than synthetic blends in the long summer. Many women feel cotton lingerie is essential during the summer, but it is not always available locally. Pantyhose can be bought locally but larger sizes are not always available.

Taipei's winter temperatures, which are in the fifties, do not reflect the penetrating dampness and cold winds. Wool suits, dresses, sweaters, and a warm topcoat and raincoat are needed. Warm robes and house slippers are essential, especially on Yangmingshan, and can be found in limited variety in small shops selling over-runs from local manufacturers.

Children Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:33 PM

For children, a good supply of cool clothing is necessary in summer, including shorts and T-shirts and simple summer dresses for girls. Warmer apparel is required for winter, such as coveralls or slacks, long-sleeved sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets, and coats. Houses tend to be drafty, so jeans and corduroys are excellent for small children. The British School has a uniform, but the Taipei American School does not, and students dress much as they would in the States.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:34 PM

Common American-made cosmetic products can be found on the local market, but at high prices. The ADC does not stock these products. Cosmetic items, especially hypoallergenic items, eyeliner, or a particular type or shade of cosmetic, should be brought in plentiful supply until the situation can be surveyed and replacement sources established. Non-prescription drugs, cigarettes, and some tobacco products can be found locally. American greeting cards and stationary are available but at much higher prices than in the U.S. Invitations can be printed locally at reasonable prices, and party supplies are available at specialty stores. Prices are also much higher than at home. Bring birthday party supplies with you--or a good imagination, which can produce interesting substitutes.

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:35 PM

A wide variety of basic services including dry-cleaning and laundry, small appliance repairs, key-making and shoe repairs is available locally. Florists and photo shops (portraits and developing service for B/W and color) are plentiful and not unreasonable. Services provided by these shops are generally excellent.

A large plant market, located under the lian-Guo Overhead Freeway between Hsin Yi Road, Sec. 3 and Ren Ai Road, right next to AIT, is open every Saturday and Sunday. A terrific variety of beautiful orchids is available, as are seeds and a wide variety of other plants and gardening supplies at reasonable prices.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:37 PM

English-speaking domestic employees, usually women from the Philippines and known as amahs, are available. Many have previous work experience in American homes. Salaries vary depending on the work performed, but since you must sponsor the services of an amah hired from outside of Taiwan, employment packages need to include round trip air fare to the Philippines (approximately US$250) plus room and board or a housing allowance. Salaries range from $500 to $700 per month (for full-time) plus a bonus month's pay at Christmas or New Year's. Most amahs work five and one-half days per week and do daytime childcare. Some cook and are able to assist with entertaining responsibilities. The CLO can assist you in contacting domestic employees whose sponsor is leaving Taiwan.

Part-time employment of an amah that is being sponsored by another family can sometimes be arranged. It is difficult to find Chinese servants who will live in; however, Filipinas are quite willing to accept these positions. Some AIT families have hired Chinese nannies to care for their children. With the exception of the small apartments, AIT houses have basic quarters for a domestic employee.

Yard care (mowing the grass, raking leaves, trimming hedges and shrubbery) by a local yard service can be arranged but the monthly cost is about US$100. Most amahs don't do yard work. AIT does not provide grounds maintenance except for the Director and Deputy Director's residences.

Local laws offer minimal protective welfare to domestic workers. Amahs apply for an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and must apply for National Health Insurance (NHI). The employer picks up the majority of the NHI premium, presently at sixty percent.

If you would like more information about hiring household employees, please contact the Community Liaison Officer.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:39 PM

Taipei has Christian churches of many denominations: Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Seventh-day Adventist, Assemblies of God, Church of Latter-Day Saints and others, including non-denominational Churches of Christ and some interdenominational organizations. Most services are conducted in Mandarin or Taiwanese, but there is a small choice of English language services.

The Taiwan Jewish Community Center offers Shabbat services every Friday evening. It also offers Sunday school programs for children. Jewish holidays are celebrated by the Center.

Taipei has one mosque and countless Buddhist temples.

Additional information can be obtained from Gateway (a resource center for the expatriate community) after your arrival.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:39 PM Excellent school facilities are available in Taipei. The school of choice for most family members of AIT employees is the Taipei American School (TAS), located in Tien Mou. TAS has about 2,100 students in K-12 and is housed in a modern four-story facility. The school has students representing over 50 nations. Approximately 65% of the students are U.S. citizens, with approximately 80% of the students ethnically Chinese. The school year runs from mid-August through early June.

All new students are required to take a placement test prior to admission. Preschool is recommended but not required. In order to attend kindergarten at TAS, children must be 5 by October 31. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Classes at TAS are conducted in English with an American curriculum. Secondary school foreign languages include Chinese, French, Spanish and Japanese; Dutch and German are offered for the native-speaker level at extra cost, but this is not covered by AIT. In addition, Chinese is available for elementary students after school. An Asian Studies course is required for graduation from the upper school. Computer courses are a regular part of the curriculum beginning in kindergarten.

The high school curriculum, generally regarded as academically challenging, is concentrated around a college preparatory program. Thirteen advanced placement courses and the International Baccalaureate Diploma are also offered. TAS graduates are regularly admitted to the best American universities.

Taipei American School is governed by a Board of Directors elected by, and from, the students' parents. The staff is hired from the U.S., New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Europe and locally.

AIT pays for transportation to and from TAS. The tuition is covered by the education allowance. The school has no boarding facilities.

Prospective students' parents should request applications through the CLO. Applications should be completed by mid-April for the following fall.

Morrison Academy-Bethany Campus is an interdenominational Christian school with K - 9th grades. Transportation is available but not from Yangmingshan. The school is located in the downtown area not far from AIT. Some AIT parents have chosen to send their children to this school in the last few years. Allowances cover expenses. For more information, write to:

Superintendent, Morrison Academy-Bethany Campus PO Box 30 - 134 Taipei Phone: 886-2-2365-9691 Fax: 886-2-2365-9696

Yangmingshan Christian School, operated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, is a small American-system school providing instruction for K-8th grade (organized in multi-grade classrooms). It is conveniently located about two miles from the Yangmingshan housing area. Transportation is available and allowances cover expenses. Total student population is less than 50. For more information contact: Principal, Yangmingshan Christian School #64, Lane 80, Chuang Ding Road Yangmingshan, Shihlin, Taipei Phone: 886-2-861-6400 Fax: 886-2-861-3998

The Taipei British School, the Deutsche Schule Taipei and the Ecole Francaise de Taipei share a campus known as the Taipei European School (TES). TES is located at: The Primary School No. 731, Wen Lin Road Shih Lin District Taipei, Taiwan Phone: 886-2-2834-5223 Fax: 886-2-2834-5224 The Secondary School Swire European Campus 31, Chien Yeh Road Yangmingshan, Shihlin Taipei, Taiwan, ROC Phone: 886-2-2862-2919 Fax: 886-2-2862-1662.

Preschools operating in Taipei provide a somewhat American-style preschool in English. The one located within TAS and run by the Taipei Youth Program Association (TYPA) is one of the most popular ones for AIT families. Another popular preschool is the Montessori Pre-school, which is only one block away from AIT. For other options, please contact the CLO.

Away From Post Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:40 PM Since schools in Taipei are considered adequate, there is no education allowance for schools away from Taipei. Parents sending their children to boarding schools would receive an amount up to the Taipei education allowance.

Special Needs Education Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:41 PM

To assist students who have minor learning difficulties, the Taipei American School (TAS) employs resource teachers in the lower, middle and upper schools. There is one speech/learning specialist for the entire school and a reading specialist in the elementary school. Students with moderate to severe learning problems cannot be accommodated. The CLO will assist with contacting the school for an early appraisal of whether TAS has the capabilities to accept a child. The CLO can also assist to research the current availability of other resources in Taipei.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:40 PM

Educational opportunities at local universities are limited. Applicants must be fluent in Chinese and universities have restrictions on the number of foreign students who may apply. Auditing of courses is permitted.

Group or individual class instruction in Mandarin is available through the auspices of the AIT Post Language Program Direct Funding Initiative. AIT contracts with a local institution to provide intensive Chinese language survival training, mainly for spouses and specialists. In addition, the Community Services Center gives a class in "Survival Chinese" for those only wishing to use their Mandarin for shopping and getting around town. Private tutors may be hired at a reasonable hourly rate for individual or group lessons.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:45 PM

Because of Taiwan's excellent record in international competition, there is great interest in baseball, especially among young people. Taiwan now has two professional baseball leagues. Bowling is popular among the Chinese, and many alleys are open 24 hours a day throughout Taipei. League bowling is available for men and women. Professional league basketball, with many American professional players, has many teams with a full regular season of play. In line with the increased interest in sports on Taiwan, foreign basketball, soccer, and volleyball teams are frequently invited to compete with local teams, providing the opportunity to see professionals in action.

There are numerous 18-hole golf courses in the Taipei area, but membership is costly. Generally, anyone may play on these courses by paying greens and caddie fees (US$100). AIT employees may sometimes obtain special memberships at a more reasonable rate at some courses.

Taipei American school offers a program of competitive sports for high school students including swimming, diving, soccer, basketball, softball, track, cross country, volleyball, badminton, rugby and tennis. Sports and recreation at the elementary levels are handled by the TYPA for which parents must pay the fees for sports involvement. TYPA offers a wide range of activities which supplement the TAS education but are available to any foreign passport holder.

AIT employees presently are granted free membership to the PIBC's Yangmingshan Country Club and its downtown facility. The Yangmingshan club has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, men and women's saunas, a restaurant and tennis courts. There is also a small room for aerobics and showers at the main AIT compound downtown.

Several larger hotels have swimming clubs with nominal dues.

The pastimes of skin diving, scuba diving, and snorkeling are also easy to pursue on the extreme southwestern coasts and among the Penghu Islands. For divers there are qualifying courses, rental equipment, and organized dives. If you have equipment, bring it with you but remember that the excessive heat and humidity affect sensitive equipment.

Sporting gear such as golf and tennis equipment is sold in Taipei at reasonable prices. Good tennis racket restringing is also available from local pros at private tennis clubs.

Horseback riding (dressage, jumping and trail riding) facilities are available, although the options are limited and expensive.

Winter sports are limited to the rare skiing in the central mountains of the island, during a very short season. These areas are difficult to reach and do not offer the usual amenities for a skiing holiday. The one ski lift broke years ago and has not been repaired.

Strict conservation laws enacted by the local authorities make hunting illegal. (See Firearms and Ammunition under "Getting to the Post")

For the running enthusiast, the Taipei Hash House Harriers sponsor men and women's organized runs on Saturday and Sunday. These are open to all and starting points are published in the English language papers. The Harriers also sponsor competitive road races, often in conjunction with other local organizations. Running is becoming popular in Taiwan, and running shoes, suits, etc., are widely sold at prices comparable to the U.S.

There are several fitness centers but the prices are generally high. Many AIT employees use the Gold's Gym near AIT.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:30 PM

Aside from the outdoor sports listed above, many people have found the moderate climate from October to April ideal for hiking. AIT has an active hiking club and there are several local hiking clubs and many good trails to climb. Family picnics and cookouts are also popular.

Gardeners will find they have great opportunities to try their success with subtropical plants and flowers that could be cultivated only with difficulty in the U.S., but which bloom here with a minimum of care and effort.

Touring is a popular pastime. There are many interesting places to see, some of which can be reached in a day. The Community Liaison Officer organizes regular sightseeing and orientation trips for the AIT community, as do local clubs and groups like the American Club and the Community Services Center.

The following list highlights some of Taiwan's attractions:

Pitan (Green Lake): Eleven kilometers (seven miles) from Taipei by highway, this lake is noted for its deep green water. It is a favorite spot for picnics and outings.

Wulai Waterfall: South of Pitan, but higher in the mountains, this scenic area is inhabited by aboriginal villagers who perform their traditional dances for visitors. The view of the cascade may be enjoyed from a picturesque "railway" where a cable car ascends to a mountain resort.

Hsien Tung (Tunnel of the Gods): This is a cave near Keelung that contains three crypts of great depth that echo the thundering of the sea.

She Liao Islet: On this islet at the mouth of Keelung Harbor is a cove that has many monuments with Dutch inscriptions, a legacy from the period of Dutch influence.

Kuan Yin Mountain: Some 2,000 feet high, it stands impressively at the west side of the mouth of the Tamsui River opposite Taipei. It is the site of a famous Buddhist temple.

Tatun Mountain Range: This range lies east of the Tamsui River, north of Taipei, and consists of a group of volcanic peaks. It includes the Yangmingshan area, where many Americans reside. The main peak, a beautiful cone called Chi Shing Shan or Seven Star Mountain, rises 3,903 feet. There are six geysers and numerous hot sulfur springs in the area. Many miles of paths and trails crisscross these mountains, offering the hiker or casual stroller a glimpse of terraced rice fields and village life, as well as magnificent views of Taipei to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the north.

Tamsui: This is the original Formosan seaport where the Old Dutch Fort of San Domingo is located. Sun Moon Lake: Travel is feasible by air, train or car to Taichung in west central Taiwan, and from there by road to the lake. Sun Moon Lake, 2,500 feet above sea level, is considered one of the world's most beautiful lakes. Aborigines at the village entertain visitors with their dances and sell souvenirs as well.

Ali Shan is further south, at 8,774 feet, and can be reached by highway or a spectacular narrow gauge mountain railway. Here you can see 2,000-year-old cypress trees with tall straight trunks of enormous size. Ali Shan features the most famous sunrise in Taiwan.

Yu Shan: From Ali Shan it is possible to climb the 13,064-foot Yu Shan, or lade Mountain, the highest mountain in East Asia. A permit is required to climb Yu Shan. Kentina: The southern tip of Taiwan has beautiful beaches and extensive coral reefs, hot springs, unusual scenery, and a very large tropical arboretum established by the Japanese and currently maintained as Kenting Park. Kenting is roughly two hours drive from Kaohsiung. There is a variety of facilities and accommodations available, from luxury to backpack.

The Cross Island Highway, bisecting Taiwan west to east, crossing high mountains, skirting deep gorges, and following mountain streams, provides spectacular views and challenging driving. This trip is not for the faint of heart. In Lishan, the middle point on the trip, there is a hotel. Here the road splits into a northeast branch, ending at Ilan on the northeast coast, with a subbranch north to Taipei, near the Shihmen Reservoir, and an east branch, emerging at Taroko Gorge National Park. The gorge, which also has hotel facilities, is bordered by awe-inspiring, steep, marble cliffs and steadily blowing winds. Off this east branch road is a spectacular drive to Wu She via Ho Huan Shan, Taiwan's only ski area accessible by car. Here the Taiwan Forestry Bureau maintains a hostel for skiers and hikers at an elevation of 11,200 feet. It is open for skiing in January and February, but snow conditions are unpredictable and facilities are rustic.

A trip down the east coast precipice highway between Suao and Hualien offers views of dramatic scenery from a road which clings to the side of awesome cliffs hundreds of feet above the Pacific. These are reputed to be the highest sea cliffs in the world.

Travel Outside of Taiwan

Any part of Southeast Asia can be visited from Taiwan. Sydney, Australia is the authorized Rest and Recuperation (R & R) point, but Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines are more convenient vacation spots. Taipei is 80 minutes by plane from Hong Kong, three hours from Bangkok and Tokyo. There are frequent flights to each city from Taipei.

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:51 PM

Local air-conditioned theaters show Chinese, Japanese, American, and a limited number of European films. American film offerings vary from first run movies to re-releases. American movies are generally in English with Chinese subtitles. Warner Village has the latest in modern multiplex-style theatres. Karaoke is a popular evening entertainment and there are numerous venues for this form of entertainment. Some of the larger, Western hotels offer Western-style nightclub acts and discotheques, but these are expensive. Beer houses, teahouses and coffeehouses are in vogue in Taipei and they are abundant. Taipei also has many western-style pubs, some featuring live bands playing a variety of popular music and encouraging dancing. Others offer darts or pool. Although many pubs will have "happy hour" discounts, drinks usually start at around US$4.00 $5.00.

Art circles in Taipei are quite active. A continuous cycle of art exhibits is stimulated by a spirited debate on the relative values of Chinese vs. Western and traditional vs. modern art. The Taipei Fine Arts Museum makes a special effort to introduce a wide variety of modern arts to Taiwan.

Chinese Restaurants and Banquets: Some Etiquette Tips. It is important to be prompt when attending Chinese dinners and banquets. Chinese people always arrive early, say "How do you do?" individually, beginning with the host/hostess and extending, if possible, to all invited guests.

Rice wine (shaohsing) is often served at Chinese dinners, although guests may drink juice or water if they desire. The first toast is frequently a general one, with everyone drinking together, usually as soon as the first dish is presented. After this it is general practice for all at the table to toast others, starting with the host/hostess toasting the guest of honor. Couples generally drink as a unit, though they are free to drink as individuals. Remember that the Chinese only drink shaohsing when toasting. There is always a tumbler of water, beer, or soft drink to quench one's thirst. In toasting one does not necessarily say anything, but it is common to specify the kind of toast. The most common toast is "gan bei" (literally, "dry cup," the equivalent of "bottoms up"). Both parties are expected to drain their glasses and show each other the empty glass. You do not necessarily have to "gan bei"; you may respond with "sui yi," meaning "drink as you please," or, on occasion, "ban bei," meaning "drink just half the glass." Ladies, upon being toasted, may just sip from their glasses. The whole table may drink together with the arrival of new dishes.

The guest of honor at a Chinese dinner should be aware of other customs. The honored guest is expected to partake of the new dish first. Other guests will then follow. The guest of honor should be the first one to leave when the dinner is concluded. The serving of fruit and tea signifies the dinner has come to an end. The guest of honor should then make the motion to leave, thanking his or her host/hostess and depart. Otherwise, the other guests will have to continue waiting for the guest of honor to depart. Most Chinese dinners last about two hours.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:52 PM Social activities among Americans take the form of dinner parties or cocktail parties at private homes or dining out at various restaurants. With the exceptions of the Director and the Deputy Director, most representational entertaining is done in restaurants.

Families with children at Taipei American School may participate in the many activities centered around the school: plays, student concerts, sports, and events like the school's annual International Food Fair.

International Contacts Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:53 PM Taiwanese people are gregarious and pleased to make American friends. It is easy to meet Taiwanese through work or in any number of clubs and organizations. Golf clubs, tennis clubs, bridge clubs, softball and volleyball teams provide an opportunity to meet Taiwanese who have similar sports interests.

Local chapters of the Lions, Rotary, and Jaycees are active in Taipei and are eager to have American members. The American University Club, an association of alumni from various colleges and universities in the U.S., includes many American members, but the majority of the members are Chinese. There are many other alumni organizations as well. Other international clubs include the Ali Shan Oasis, the Shriners Club, the Knights of Columbus, Zonta International, and Toastmasters. The Taipei International Women's Club and Service League activities offer a broad opportunity for service and social contacts. Taipei also has an active YWCA that offers a variety of adult educational courses ranging from yoga and Chinese cooking to shadow boxing and scroll mounting. The Taipei Christian Women's Club sponsors frequent tours and lectures. These events are open to the public and advertised in the English-language papers.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:54 PM

It is a Chinese custom to exchange cards upon introduction. An employee will usually distribute at least 200-300 cards a year, if not more. Engraved and printed cards, including invitation cards, may be obtained locally at reasonable prices and within a few days after arrival. Most cards used in Taiwan have English on one side and Chinese on the other, so it may be better to order your cards immediately after you arrive and after you have received your Chinese name.

Special Information Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:44 PM

Post Orientation Program

Sponsor Program

There are two types of sponsors at AIT:

Office — helps you complete check-in procedures with the Administrative Section. The sponsor is chosen based on which office you will be assigned to.

Social — picks you up at the airport, introduces you to your neighborhood, shows you where to shop, etc. This sponsor is chosen based on housing proximity and, if possible, family makeup.

Sponsors are responsible for greeting the newcomers, setting up their quarters and introducing them to other AIT families and the local shopping areas. Introductions within offices are the responsibility of each new arrival's co-workers.

The administrative check-in is scheduled the first work day after your arrival in Taiwan. Group sessions are scheduled for the administrative orientation for CLASS students. Each new employee and each family member should have the following data readily available:

Current tourist passport.

Valid American driver's license (if you want a local license).

Inoculation records.

Shipping and vehicle information.

Health insurance identification card for your American carrier.

A copy of your most current earnings statement.

Allotment information: name, address and account numbers of your bank for direct deposit of salary checks.

Checkbook or U.S. cash for conversion to local currency.

The whole family should plan to attend the first half-day of administrative check-in so photo identification and applications for official documentation can be arranged.

American Istitute - Kaohsiung

Post City Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:55 PM

Kaohsiung is Taiwan's largest and busiest seaport, and with a metropolitan population of over 1.5 million people, it is the island's second largest city. The population is growing rapidly, keeping pace with the dynamic economic growth of the island. In contrast to Taipei, which sits in a basin, Kaohsiung lies at one end of the 160-kilometer (100 mile) long Chianan Plain, the agricultural heartland of Taiwan, and has considerable room for expansion.

Originally a small fishing village in an agricultural area, Kaohsiung is the world's fourth largest container shipping port. It is also home to much of Taiwan's heavy industry and has the road, rail, and airline infrastructure to support it. Kaohsiung has daily flights to Hong Kong, Japan and various Southeast Asian cities, as well as frequent domestic air service. Kaohsiung has one of the largest oil refineries in Asia, and there are hundreds of large and medium-size factories producing petrochemicals, cement, textiles, plastics, electronics, machine tools, plywood, processed food, and numerous other products. A large integrated steel mill, shipyard and two petrochemical complexes are located on the southern outskirts of the city. There are also four export processing zones in the Kaohsiung area. These bustling industrial complexes produce a substantial portion of the goods manufactured in Taiwan. The sprawling city, with its heavy overcast of pollution and constant construction activity, is reminiscent of industrial cities worldwide.

There are several institutions of higher learning in the Kaohsiung area, including a teachers college, two medical colleges, and the National Sun Yat-sen University. Kaohsiung has an excellent Fine Arts Museum and an active program of concerts and cultural events at the Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center.

Nearby scenic spots include Cheng Ching Lake and forest parks in the mountains of Kaohsiung County.

Kaohsiung has a dry, mild winter, with most of the rainfall occurring during the typhoon season, lasting from May to September. The city receives much less rain than Taipei and therefore has a dry dusty appearance most of the year.

In addition to frequent air flights, Kaohsiung is also connected with Taipei by railroad, which takes about 4-5 hours. It is usually a 5-hour drive by car, although it can take much longer on holidays, when the north-south freeway is extremely congested. From Kaohsiung, road, bus, train, and air connections can be made to all points on Taiwan. Telephone and postal services are excellent. Kaohsiung is connected with all other major cities in Taiwan and many overseas locations through telephone direct dialing.

Comments on utilities and equipment, food, clothing, supplies, and services in the Taipei section of this report apply also to Kaohsiung, although there is a greater variety of goods and services available in Taipei.

Not far from Kaohsiung is Taiwan's former historic capital, Tainan. With its well-restored temple honoring Taiwan's national hero, Koxinga, its old Dutch Fort at Anping, and a Confucian Temple, Tainan has a different cultural flavor than those of Taiwan's other cities. And, less than two hours drive from Kaohsiung is Kenting National Park, a vacationer's delight not unlike Hawaii in its scenery.

Housing Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:55 PM

AIT Kaohsiung employee apartments are located within 20 minutes driving distance from the office. The office is located on the fifth floor in one of the city's more modern office buildings.

AIT maintains furnished townhouses, which typically consist of three or four bedrooms, three baths, kitchen, utility room, living/dining room combination and balcony, as well as a parking garage.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:56 PM

Taipei is not quite halfway around the world, west from Washington, DC. Airfare via the Pacific is cheaper than flying by way of Europe.

Most travelers arrive at Chiang Kaishek International Airport (CKS). CKS is in Taoyuan, approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city center. The drive time is normally around an hour but traffic can double that time.

Northwest, United and Continental Airlines currently serve Taipei from the U.S. Travelers have the option of flying directly from San Francisco on United, via Tokyo on Northwest or United, or via Guam on Continental. Check with your travel office for the latest flight information.

Customs, immigration and travel service officials generally speak some English. Most official travelers are met on arrival if AIT has received advance notification. If you arrive after hours and are not met, call the AIT office at 02-2709-2014. An American is on duty at all times. As soon as you know your travel plans, please notify AIT. If you are in Washington, your travel plans should be sent through HR/CDA/AD. If you are overseas, coordinate the arrangements with your HRO. This will allow AIT to ensure that all arrangements have been made prior to your arrival and that you are met at CKS Airport upon your arrival. Since arrivals often coincide with the typhoon season in late summer, it is very helpful for AIT Taipei to have your travel plans for your stops on the way to Taipei so we can find you if the airports here are closed at your scheduled time of arrival, like during a typhoon, for example. For those assigned to Kaohsiung, reservations should be made through AIT for hotel stopovers in Taipei.

Accompanying Baggage & Currency Restrictions

Accompanying baggage is limited to those articles that are exclusively for the personal use of the passenger. Duty-free items include cigars (25 or less), cigarettes (200 or less), tobacco (1/2 pound or less), and one bottle of alcoholic beverage per adult, if for personal use. Accompanying baggage is subject to inspection by customs officers.

Unaccompanied Air Baggage & Household Effects

AIT employees and their family members and members of household assigned to Taiwan have duty-free import privileges for their unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) and surface shipped household effects (HHE). If you intend to import articles in addition to UAB and HHE, consult with GSO for clearance, because the authorities exercise strict control over high-duty merchandise such as pianos, TV sets, refrigerators, freezers, etc.

UAB shipments from the U.S. take about 12-16 days to reach Taipei, and customs clearance takes about seven working days. Surface baggage, household effects, and cars reach Keelung, the port of entry, in about two months; customs clearance requires about seven working days after arrival. For this reason, if convenient, surface shipments should be sent several weeks before your departure, but it is not recommended that HHE or vehicles be timed to arrive here before you do.

To facilitate customs clearance and avoid delay, copies of packing lists for air and surface shipments should be sent to one of the following addresses:

S/GSO American Institute in Taiwan 7, Lane 134, Hsin Yi Road, Section 3 Taipei 106, Taiwan


4170 AIT Taipei Place Dept. of State Washington, DC 20521-4170

Visas and Inoculations

Persons assigned to Taiwan must carry a valid regular tourist passport with a courtesy visa issued by TECRO, and an up-to-date immunization record. Those traveling to Taiwan on temporary duty (TDY) orders may enter with a visitor's visa, good for a stay of up to two months. This visa may be extended twice, each time for two months, allowing for a total stay of six months. If you are planning to stop in Taipei for a few days while in transit status, you are urged to obtain a visitors' visa. However, transiting without a visa is permitted for a period of up to 14 days. Holders of regular passports who enter Taiwan with resident visas must acquire exit permits before departing. It takes about one week to obtain exit permits at the local police stations. (Courtesy visas do not require exit permits.)

Those coming from areas infected with cholera, yellow fever, or plague must have the appropriate inoculations. The International Certificate of Vaccination, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), is recognized by the authorities. The certificate must bear the approved stamp of the health authorities who administer the immunizations; the doctor's signature alone is not sufficient. In the U.S., the stamp used may be that of the local or state health department, the Public Health Service, or the special "S-C Stamp."

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:58 PM

The authorities on Taiwan strictly enforce detailed regulations on the importation, use, and sale of motor vehicles. Each AIT employee may import one vehicle duty free. Vehicles may be sold to anyone with duty-free privileges without restriction, providing the vehicle can pass the local safety inspection.

Consistent with AIT's policy on the sale of personal property, employees are permitted to sell their motor vehicle duty and tax free providing the vehicle has been in the owner's possession (on Taiwan) for a period of two years. All other vehicles sold, such as a locally manufactured vehicle that was purchased tax-free and/or vehicles that have been on Taiwan less than two years, are subject to local duties and taxes. Personnel are permitted to sell their vehicle if it has been in their possession, on Taiwan, for a period of six months and they are in possession of permanent transfer, separation, or retirement orders. However, these vehicles will be subject to local duties and taxes. In case of the owner's death, or in those cases where the vehicle has suffered damage beyond repair, a special exception can be requested.

The Director's authority to determine restrictions or limitations on motor vehicles brought to AIT is contained in 6 FAM 165.7. These restrictions and limitations "may include, but are not limited to, provisions to assure that the vehicle is suitable and that the import of the vehicle is not primarily for resale."

In order to avoid abuse or suspicion of abuse, the following guidelines are provided. They are not necessarily comprehensive and do not relieve the employee of his responsibility to avoid abuse or suspicion of abuse. When in doubt, the employee should consult with the Administrative Officer. Requests for exceptions to these guidelines should be addressed to the Administrative Officer before taking an action that might be in conflict with the following: a) Ostentatious vehicles may not be imported into Taiwan. b) The first vehicle should be ordered (and preferably received) within the employee's first six months at AIT. c) A car may not be ordered or received within the last six months of an employee's tour unless he/she certifies that it will be re-exported. d) The importation of a replacement vehicle will require the prior approval of the Administrative Officer.

Duty-free importation of motor vehicles is restricted to models up to three (3) years old. For this purpose, the current year is considered one of the three. This prohibition is based on the model year of importation (e.g. vehicles to be imported in the calendar year 2002 must be a 2000 model or later). Right-hand drive vehicles may not be imported into Taiwan. There are NO exceptions for vehicles over three years old.

Please include the following information in your notice to GSO if you plan on shipping a vehicle to Taiwan: Year, Make, Model, Type (sedan, station wagon, etc.), Number of doors, Engine number, Engine size in cubic centimeters, Number of cylinders, Color, Vehicle identification number (VIN), Current value, Net weight, Air-conditioner/no air-conditioner.

Customs clearance cannot be obtained until after you have arrived and received an ID card issued by TECRO. (Processing of the card usually takes 10-14 working days.) If you provide incorrect information, the papers will have to be reprocessed after your arrival and can make for a lengthy delay in receiving your permanent registration plates.

Importation of motorcycles is prohibited and there are no exceptions.

Those thinking of importing a vehicle to Taiwan should be advised that many of the roads and parking spaces in Taipei are narrow and smaller sedans are easier to maneuver in these tight spaces than are larger vehicles.

Pets Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:59 PM

Any AIT American employee who intends to import a pet or pets into Taiwan must strictly adhere to the regulations. All pets require an import permit. The following countries have been deemed rabies free and pets imported from these countries will not require the 21-day quarantine period:

Japan United Kingdom Sweden Iceland Australia New Zealand Taiwan

All other countries not listed above are considered to be rabies-infested. Generally, no pets may be imported into Taiwan from a rabies-infested country. However, an exception to this rule can be requested for American employees of AIT on the basis of a special permit issued by the Bureau of Commodity Inspection & Quarantine. Any pet arriving from a rabies-infested country without an import permit will be returned to the point of origin at the expense of the owner. All American employees of AIT who intend to bring a pet into Taiwan from a rabies-infested country, including the United States, should forward the following information and documents to the S/GSO: (1) Name and U.S. address of the pet owner (2) Six (6) 4"x4" color photographs of pet, (3) Species of pet (4) Breed, sex and color (5) Age (be specific on the veterinary health certificate and rabies vaccination--do not use an "under six months" or "over one year" type answer) (6) Place of birth (country of origin) and present location of pet (7) Estimated arrival date of pet (8) Mode of transportation (accompanied/unaccompanied air baggage) (9) Copy of the owner's passport (10) A valid certificate of vaccination against rabies dated not less than 30 days and not more than 12 months prior to shipping. Ensure that the type of vaccine, whether inactive or live, is noted (11) the original "Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for Small Animals" health certificate stamped and signed by the country of origin's department of agriculture (for the United States, this would be a USDA Officer)

Note: (a) The pet must be accompanied by the original health certificate. (b) Copies of certificates, photographs and the above mentioned information should be forwarded to the Customs & Shipping Unit, AIT Taipei, as soon as possible. These documents are required for issuance of an import permit by the Taiwan Authorities. It takes around one week to process. The import permit will be faxed to you and should be handcarried or accompany the pet when it arrives at CKS Airport. (c) If the pet is sent as cargo, after booking your flight, please fax a copy of the AWB (airway bill) to the Customs & Shipping Unit. AIT must receive the AWB at least 5 working days prior to the pet's departure so our office can apply for duty free importation for the pet. (d) The pet can only be delivered to the quarantine station during the normal business hours. If it arrives after hours, it would stay overnight at the CKS Airport. In order to avoid the pet staying over the weekend, please schedule your pet's arrival during the week, before noon on Friday. (e) The pet is not allowed to be imported into Taiwan if it has transited through Singapore, Malaysia or Australia. (f) There are two US flag carriers servicing Taipei -- United Airlines and Northwest Airlines.

GSO will obtain approval for duty-free import of pets upon receipt of a copy of the airway bill, and will prepare the necessary customs clearance documents. Picking up the pet and obtaining customs clearance, however, is the responsibility of the pet owner.

Upon arrival at the port of entry and after completion of the customs clearance, the pet will be sent to the Veterinary Hospital at National Taiwan University in Taipei for quarantine. The contact information for the quarantine facility is:

153 Kee Lung Road, Sec. 3, Taipei Phone: 886-2-2733-5891 Fax: 886-2-2732-3817

After the 21-day quarantine period, a designated representative will pick up the pet and deliver it to your residence.

Importation of pets can be expensive and time-consuming. You must have an agent or local broker assist with the customs clearance procedures, making reservations at the veterinary hospital quarantine facility in Taipei, and arranging transportation for your pets to the facility. Costs involved per animal are approximately $800, though these costs depend on the size of the animal and the distance of your residence from the quarantine facility.

For further information, please contact the Customs & Shipping Unit by fax at 886-2-2784-2089 or email Carroll Yen at

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/18/2005 1:59 PM

Automatic firearms are prohibited. In addition, employees are strongly encouraged not to bring nonautomatic firearms or ammunition. If they are brought into Taiwan, they may not be used. U.S. citizen employees assigned to AIT must follow these procedures if they wish to import non-automatic weapons: 1. Prior written approval of the AIT Director must be obtained before bringing weapons to Taiwan. 2. No weapons or ammunition will be allowed to be kept on AIT-owned or -leased residential properties by individuals or family members assigned to AIT.

Anyone who does bring weapons or ammunition to Taiwan will be required to declare it, register it with the local authorities, and turn it over to the AIT Regional Security Officer who will keep it locked up until the employee permanently departs Taiwan.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:00 PM

The New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) is the currency of Taiwan. The rate of exchange changes, of course, depending on fluctuating foreign exchange values, but US$1 to NT$35 is a good rule of thumb (on October 2, 2002, the rate was 34.92 NT to the dollar). NT paper currency denominations are 100, 200, 500, and 1000; coins are 1, 5, 10, and 50.

Bank of America cashier services are available at AIT: Monday 10:00-1:30 Wednesday 10:00-3:00 Friday 10:00-1:30

CLASS students and Kaohsiung employees may exchange a limited amount of currency at their subcashiers.

Employees should maintain a U.S. checking account for deposit of their salary checks, payment of bills, etc. Current banking laws in Taiwan prohibit non-residents from opening checking accounts, but it is possible to open NT$ savings accounts. With the issuance of an ATM card, one can withdraw cash from ATMs scattered throughout Taipei.

AIT American employees are not limited to any set amount of U.S. dollars being brought into or taken out of Taiwan. Tourists with more than US$5000 or any other foreign currency of equivalent value at the time they enter Taiwan, and who plan to take such money out within six months, must declare it at the time of entry.

The Taiwan currency is required for making purchases in local shopping areas. Official exchange agencies are located at the airport and most banks.

The following system of weights and measures is currently used in Taiwan, but increasingly the metric system is being used: Weights: 1 catty = 1.1-1.3 pounds A Taiwan Kilo is only 600 grams, not the usual 1000 grams Area measures: 1 ping = 36 square feet Distances: Road distances are in kilometers.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:05 PM

On China

Butterfield, Fox. China: Alive in the Bitter Sea. New York: Times Books, 1982.

Hang, Jung. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Cheng, Nien. Life and Death in Shanghai. New York: Penguin, 1986.

Crozier, Brian. The Man Who Lost China: The First Biography of Chiang Kai-shek. New York: Scribner's, 1976.

Fairbank, John King. China: A New History. Cambridge: Belkap Press of Harvard University, 1992.

--China Watch. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.

Hucker, Charles 0. China's Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975.

Schiffrin, Harold Z. Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.

Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. New York: W.W. Norton, 1990.

On Chinese-U.S. Relations

Bader, William B., ed. The Taiwan Relations Act: A Decade of Implementation. Indianapolis: Menlo Park, CA: Hudson Institute; SRI International, 1989.

Fairbank, John King. The Great Chinese Revolution: 1800 - 1985, Harper Collins, 1987.

Gilbert, Stephen P., ed. America and Island China: A Documentary History. Lanham: University Press of America, 1989.

Harding, Harry. A Fragile Relationship: The U.S. and China Since 1992. Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1992.

Tyler, Patrick. A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China: An Investigative History. Public Affairs, 1999.

Lasater, Martin L. The Taiwan Issue in Sino American Strategic Relations Boulder, CO.: Westview Press 1984.

Metzger, Thomas A., and Ramon H. Myers, eds. Greater China and U.S. Foreign Policy: The Choice Between Confrontation and Mutual Respect. Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1996.

Solomon, Richard, ed. The China Factor: Sino American Relations and the Global Scene. Engelwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1981.

Tuchman, Barbara W. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945. New York: Macmillan, 1971.

Tucker, Nancy B. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994.

On Taiwan

Aberbach, Joel D., Ed. The Role of the State in Taiwan's Development. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1993.

Ahern, Emily Martin, and Hill Gates, eds: The Anthropology of Chinese Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1981.

Baldwin , Robert E. Political Economy of U.S.-Taiwan Trade. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.

Barnett, A. Doak. U.S. Arms Sales: The China-Taiwan Tangle. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1982.

Chang, Charles Chi-hsiang. Taiwan's Electoral Political and Democratic Transition: Riding the Third Wave. M.E. Sharpe, 1995.

Clough, Ralph N. Island China. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978.

--Reaching Across the Taiwan Strait: People-to-People Diplomacy. Boulder, C0: Westview Press, 1993.

Cohen, Marc J. Taiwan at the Crossroads: Human Rights, Political Development, and Social Change on the Beautiful Island. Asia Resource Center, 1988.

Cooper, John. A Quiet Revolution: Political Development in the Republic of China. Washington, D.C.: 1988.

Feigenbaum, Evan A. Change in Taiwan and Potential Adversity in the Strait. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1995.

Finkelstein, David M. Washington's Taiwan Dilemma: From Abandonment to Salvation. University Publishing Associates Inc., 1994.

Gold, Thomas B. State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1986.

Gregor, A. James. Ideology and Development: Sun Yat-sen and the Economic History of Taiwan. Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1981.

Harrell, Steven, ed. Cultural Change in Postwar Taiwan. Boulder: Westview Press, 1994.

Hickey, Dennis V. Unites StatesTaiwan Security Ties: From Cold War to Beyond Containment. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.

Jacoby, Neil H. United States Aid to Taiwan: A Study of Foreign Aid, SelfHelp, and Development. New York: Longman; St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Lasater, Martin L. The Changing of the Guard: President Clinton and the Security of Taiwan. Boulder, C0: Westview Press, 1995.

U.S. Interests in the New Taiwan

Boulder, C0: Westview Press, 1993.

Li, Kuo-ting. The Evolution of Policy Behind Taiwan's Development Success. Yale University Press, 1988.

Peng, Ming-min. A Taste of Freedom: Memoirs of a Formosan Independence Leader. New York: Hold, Rinehart, Winston, 1971.

Tien, Hung-mao. The Great Transition: Political and Social Change in the Republic of China. Hoover Institution Press, 1989.

Wilson, Richard W. Learning to Be a Chinese: The Political Socialization of Children in Taiwan. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970.

Wolf, Margery. Women and the Family in Rural Taiwan. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1972.


Bates, Chris and Ling-li. Culture Shock Taiwan. Portland, Oregon: Graphic Arts Center Publications, 1995.

Community Services Center. Taipei Living, A Resource Guide for the International Community in Taiwan (Revised and Updated, Sixth Edition). Taipei: May 2001.

Storey, Robert. Taiwan: A Travel Survival Kit. Berkeley: Lonely Planet Publications, 1994.

Zeld, Daniel P. Insight Guide to Taiwan. Hong Kong: APA Publications, 1997.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/18/2005 2:12 PM

U.S. Holidays

New Year's Day January 1 Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday January 20 President's Day February 17 Memorial Day May 26 ndependence Day July 4 Labor Day September 1 Columbus Day October 13 Veteran's Day November 11 Thanksgiving Day November 27 Christmas Day December 25

Local Holidays

Founding of the Republic of China January 1 Lunar New Year and Spring Festival Jan 31-Feb 5 Peace Memorial Day February 28 Labor Day May 1 Dragon Boat Festival June 4 Mid-Autumn Festival September 11 National Day (Double Ten) October 10

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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