Can the average Taiwanese person in Taipei speak English?

Vlogger Iris Virus did a social experiment on how well Taiwanese can speak English in Taipei

Taiwanese YouTuber Iris Virus (Image from IrisVirus YouTube channel)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese vlogger posted a social experiment on YouTube testing if travelers can communicate with the average person in Taipei in English.

Ya Ting Yu, 26, known as Iris Virus on the internet, is a digital marketer and photographer who resides and works in Taipei City. Iris is often asked by her YouTube subscribers if the Taiwanese speak much English. Therefore, she decided to make a video to figure out the answer herself.

In the video, she posed as a tourist and asked people in Taipei for directions and food menus in English.

She first asked the information center in a metro station and the counter in the department about directions. Both service people answered her questions in English immediately.

She then approached a Taiwanese woman and a man on the road and asked them how to travel to her destination again. The two Taiwanese quickly understood what she said and pointed out the directions for her.

After the successful experiences about asking directions, Iris tried to order drinks and food in the shops. A clerk from a tea stand introduced to her their most popular drink and explained the menu to her in English, while another clerk from a bun shop described all the products they have to her. 

After the social experiment, Iris was very impressed by the English ability of ordinary Taiwanese. She successfully arrived at her destination, bought a delicious pork cabbage bun and a cup of green tea without a word of Mandarin. She invited all the video viewers to come to Taiwan and visit the friendly country.

Many viewers left positive messages below video. Viewers Angie Yu and WH Lin said they were really surprised by the English ability of the bun vendor. E Sky said the video is better than any other videos from Taiwan Tourist Bureau. Henrik Matzen thought the video shows the always wonderful and friendly nature of the Taiwanese people.

It would be interesting to conduct a similar experiment in other cities in Taiwan and rural areas in the south, where far fewer tourists venture.