My Son Wants to Live in Asia: Now I Know Why

Anna Lynch
4 min readMar 16, 2020

About three weeks ago, my son, who had been teaching English in South Korea left for Taiwan for his new teaching assignment. Because this was at exactly the time that the COVID-19 virus was exploding in South Korea, he was put in a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Taiwan. His recruiter met him at the airport and took him to a hotel room where he was told to stay for 14 days under penalty of a $5,000.00 fine. He was told that he would receive a phone call each day on the hotel room phone so they could make sure he was adhering to the quarantine. He was able to order food through Uber Eats. We spoke every few days on Skype. He reported that he had not received a phone call until day five, but I imagine it took them a while to get things set up. He managed to keep his spirits up during the quarantine and was finally released on Thursday. We spoke with him on Friday night, and I was astounded at the hospitality that the Taiwanese offered him.

His recruiter picked him up from the hotel and took him immediately for a health check. There they took blood, updated his MMR vaccine, and gave him a physical. All for free, I’ll note. Then the recruiter took him around to apartments that he had identified interest in renting. They found one that suited his needs, and he signed the lease. The building is owned by an elderly couple who didn’t speak much English, but they insisted on driving him and the recruiter around to pick up items that he would need, including a bicycle. They had to drive out to a monastery where they had loaned several bicycles to pick it up. He described them tying the bike to the trunk of their car in a very haphazard manner because they were determined to have it for him. After getting back to the apartment, the recruiter drove him to the school where he will be teaching so that he could meet his colleagues and get materials he will need.

I was speechless after he told me this story. The recruiter could easily have dropped him off at the health department and left. Instead, she offered a level of hospitality that would be unheard of in the United States. He said that all told, they spent 13 hours together. While I understand that she was motivated to keep him as a prospect, she went so above and beyond what she needed to do to make him happy, that I had to really think about why.

Anna Lynch

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