Over the past few years, Taichung Facebook Groups have been popping up. Most cities, it seems, have the same sorts of groups – information exchanges, swap shops, et cetera – but in a place where you are an expat (especially when you’re new) these kinds of resources can be invaluable. So, if you’re moving to Taichung, here’s five Taichung Facebook Groups you should join.
Taichung Swap Shop
Basic Concept: Taichung Swap Shop is a place to sell or swap things. You can find most anything here being traded at one time or another. Commercial offerings are generally frowned upon but there is no stipulation that a “swap” must occur: most people are simply swapping goods for cash.
User Beware: The moderation of this group is actually pretty good, considering its size. They’re aware of user suggestions and do a pretty good job of keeping it clean. Posters can be a problem; old posts (many of which include goods already sold) will linger and clog up the board, but that’s as close to an issue as you’ll see.
Feed Suggestion: I keep this one on my feed. You never know what someone might be selling (or seeking) and the posts are always relevant to the concept of trade within the city.
Taichung Restaurant Guide
Basic Concept: Taichung Restaurant Guide is just a bunch of local expat reviews of restaurants. TripAdvisor isn’t really big here and even if it was, there are just too many little holes-in-the-wall where you may be the only foreigner customer, ever, unless you tell people about the place. So it’s a great resource for foreigners to find new restaurants.
User Beware: Some people have really bad taste in cuisine, so watch which reviews you trust. There are observable trends, though, because people see a review, then go to the place, then write their own review – so if you see a place has gotten a few good reviews (or you notice a user who you often agree with) then you can be pretty safe with what you try out. But there will always be debate and occasionally even some straight-up drama.
Feed Suggestion: I keep this one hidden off my feed but mostly because I cook so much. A lot of expats here eat out daily, so it can be a great resource for many of them.
Taichung Info Exchange
Basic Concept: Taichung Info Exchange is a free-for-all, with posts ranging from selling vehicles and furniture to restaurant reviews and job listings. Of course, the most vital is the actual information sharing, particularly useful when you have a question and just don’t know (and can’t otherwise find) the answer.
User Beware: This group is pretty oversaturated – expect to see 10-15 posts a day, on average. Comments sections and even some posts are a good idea of be avoided (lots of nonsense) and there is also occasional spam.
Feed Suggestion: I hide this from my feed and go there only when I must, simply because I get tired of the stupid posts/comments and overall level of stuff I’m uninterested in. A dozen posts a day is a lot to take, from a group, especially when the only commonality is that it all relates to Taichung in some way.
Taichung Food Swap Shop
Basic Concept: Taichung Food Swap Shop differs from Taichung Swap Shop in that it’s only dedicated to food. The rules are straightforward and the pricing is very easy to understand.
User Beware: This is one seriously slow group. New posts are rare and interesting offerings even moreso. Hopefully it will heat up, in the future; I think a main problem is that expats don’t often make food in large enough batches for it to be exchanged. But the idea is great and it has the potential to be really cool, if it can get off the ground.
Feed Suggestion: It’s, like, a post a month – you might as well keep it on your feed.
Taichung Substitute Board
Basic Concept: This is a board for people to post available substitute teaching jobs, in the hopes of finding teachers to fill them. It’s generally very well-regulated, thanks to strict moderation, and really any post that offers a job is welcome (including commercial posts of schools seeking teachers).
User Beware: Avoid comment discussions at all costs. Nothing good can come of anything in the comments sections, unless your comment is “I sent you a message: check your box.” Don’t beg for work in posts or comments; use Taichung Substitute Board’s sister group, “Teachers Available in Taichung” if you are looking for work.
Feed Suggestion: I don’t have this group on my feed anymore, but that’s only because I’m not actively looking for work. When you first get to town, this is probably the most crucial resource available to you. You can literally be earning money within 48 hours of arriving in Taiwan and that’s a very powerful thing.
Taichung Electronics Market – https://www.facebook.com/groups/656003891143611/ – a swap shop dedicated solely to electronics
Compass Magazine Taichung 台中康百視雜誌 – https://www.facebook.com/groups/160949963971919/ – Arguably the most popular English magazine in Taichung, it’s great resource to keep up with the goings-on around town.
GuanXi Magazine – https://www.facebook.com/groups/206686419350784/ – Other than my blog’s Facebook page, GuanXi is often the only other place I post what I write. I used to write for them, but no longer. They are one of the primary contenders for the slot behind Compass.
Taiwan News in English – https://www.facebook.com/groups/565929220186237/ – This one’s brand new as of May 13, but it’s on the list because it seems to be a collaborative effort between a few powerful expats in Taichung that run various English media outfits and, from what I know about the individuals involved, it’ll a good one to watch if you’re into on-island current events. Up until this point, the best resource for news was AMCHAM Taichung, which is still worth checking out, as well (though my guess is that anything there worth checking out will wind up on Taiwan News in English at almost the exact same time).
Teachers Available in Taichung – https://www.facebook.com/groups/taichungteachers/ – The sister group to Taichung Substitute Board, this group is for teachers to post that they are available to teach; if you have a resume to post and are looking for work, do it here, not on Taichung Substitute Board.
Taichung English Teachers’ Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/105937059474370/ – This group is an OK idea, but a lack of cohesion can make it a pain to navigate. It includes available teachers, available jobs, resources, materials, random articles, people asking questions about English, posting apartment listings, general discussions, and more. It’s worth checking out if you’re in Taichung looking for full-time teaching work.
Expatriates who already live in Taichung know of most, if not all, of these groups. And you could ask any of them and they’ll tell you: there’s really no way to describe how much better life is as an expat when you have resources like these available. While Taichung often seems like a city with two-or-less degrees of separation between almost everyone, the power of these groups is impressive in showing us how often we are left wanting. If you live (or plan to live) in Taichung, Taiwan, these Taichung Facebook Groups are crucial resources.
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