National Sun Yat-sen University
Daniel Aschauer is currently working in Taipei for the Austrian company Anton Paar – a worldwide leading manufacturer of scientific instruments. Daniel first arrived in Taiwan in 2014 to participate in a summer school for learning Mandarin. Six years later, he became the Deputy General Manager at Anton Paar Taiwan and claimed that “helping to connect people from Austria and Taiwan is my favorite part of being here.”
Learning Mandarin was the primary purpose for Daniel to first come to Taiwan in 2014. During the two-month stay, he fell in love with this beautiful island. Daniel mentioned: “Food, people, nature and the cultural diversity are amazing here.” After returning to Austria, Daniel started his master’s studies at Johannes Kepler University Linz in 2016. He found out that JKU has a double master’s degree program with National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) and applied without any hesitation. “I wanted to visit this great place again,” Daniel smiled.
My Experiences in Taiwan
The best part of his study here, said Daniel, “is traveling around Taiwan, eating a lot of delicious food and enjoying the beautiful mountains, rivers and beaches all over the island.” For him, it is also the first time to engage in an entirely Chinese environment for an extended period. “It was pretty difficult at the beginning, and I was struggling a lot. But it also really helped to speed up the language learning process.” During his MBA program at NSYSU, Daniel also participated in a consulting project to work with a local Taiwanese company, where he gained first-hand insight into Taiwanese business. This consulting project later became the subject of his master thesis.
After graduating from NSYSU, Daniel returned to Austria and started his career. However, not being able to use Mandarin regularly made him losing his Mandarin proficiency. “If you do not use it, you lose it,” he realized. Therefore, he started looking for opportunities to come back to Asia but found it challenging after several unsuccessful job interviews. While frustrated by the job hunt, Daniel was lucky to be contacted by a friend who graduated from the same program one year later. The friend recommended him to apply for a job she happened to see on the Internet earlier that day – it was in Taipei! Within the next four months, Daniel got that job, completed the training at the headquarters in Graz, arrived in Taipei, and started working.
“When I first saw the job advertisement, I was not sure if I had the chance to get it as I didn’t tick all the boxes listed as requirements,” Daniel smiled. But his experiences of studying in Taiwan were a big plus for him as he already knew the local culture, language and business environment. It’s been almost two years since Daniel came back to Taiwan and became Deputy General Manager of Anton Paar’s Taiwan subsidiary. “I am the only Austrian here, so I am communicating a lot with our headquarters back home every day. I am also managing the local administration team and help to make sure the ideas from Austria are carried out in Taiwan.” Daniel further mentioned, “As Anton Paar Taiwan is a newly established subsidiary, there were many challenges initially, so it was not always easy. However, it has been a great learning experience so far, and I am very grateful to be here.”
Daniel emphasized that being able to read between the lines is very helpful when working in Taiwan. Compared with Austrians, some Taiwanese coworkers tend to be less direct when communicating with others. For instance, when encountering difficulties, one of his former colleagues would not ask for help directly when something was unclear, so Daniel spent some time encouraging his coworkers to speak out and ask for advice. However, Daniel mentioned that his colleagues in the office are very supportive that makes working here a great enjoyment.
Daniel is also active in both Austrian and Taiwanese circles. Since this July, he became the president of the Austrian-Taipei Society, a society that connects Austrians with friends of Austria in Taiwan. Along with a young and creative team in the Society, Daniel will help enhance Austria’s friendship with Taiwan.
When asked to advise students who are considering coming to Taiwan, Daniel encouraged students to “step out of their comfort zone as early as possible!” He continued that if you are planning to start your career in Taiwan, he strongly suggests starting as soon as graduation as you will have the most abundant resources and the freshest memory of the Mandarin language. However, if you return to your home country and time goes by, you will probably lose your passion and motivation for the next challenge. At the end of the interview, Daniel shared his feelings about staying in Taiwan: “I am grateful to act as a bridge between Taiwan and Austria, and I am very happy to help connecting people of these two different cultures.”