Wondering what's it like to teach English in Taiwan? Awesome. I was there once, then later some other countries and now I am here to tell you about it.

I'll be doing some comparison to some other Eastern Asian countries like Korea, Japan and China.

 Dale

"What do you like about Taiwan? Everything that England hasn't got. We've got great weather. It's a good lifestyle. It's a really easy lifestyle. You work 5 or 6 hours a day max and you have weekends and evenings free. You can have a..."

Dale in Taichung, Taiwan

You'll hear more from Dale later...

It's easier going than Korea or Japan

To generalize a bit I'd say that the teaching scene in Taiwan is a bit more easy going. Schools typically have shorter work hours in Taiwan compared to Korea or Japan.

Of course you could find a forty hour a week job (like in a public school), but it's quite likely that you could find a visa from a school working less than 20 hours a week (both of my contracted jobs).

There are lots of jobs advertised like that in Taiwan.

If you want to work more then you can get another part time job.

It might not only be the work it could be the weather too. Maybe the heat slows people down a bit and gives it a bit of the Southeast Asia vibe.

Most "exotic" in East Asia

From the unearthly Dragon Fruit and the Yen Shui Fireworks Festival (where people charge headfirst into fireworks) to the Bin Lang Xi Shi (sexy showgirls who prepare and sell betel nut), you'll feel like you're in a different land here.

The Tropic of Cancer runs right through Chiayi, Taiwan. The environment here is tropical like and you'll find the weather to be hot and humid. The north of the island is much wetter than the central and southern part of the island.

Instead of snow days, here you'll have typhoon days.

Roughly one third of Taiwan is urban, very urban and populated. Over 23 million live in an area the size of Maryland and Delaware. That third is pretty much plains and the other two thirds are a different story.

Outside the urban third...

Taitung Coast, Taiwan

You'll find mountains nearly 12,000 ft. tall, hot springs and some nice beaches in the very south and on the beautiful east coast of Taiwan.

Incredible fruit

You'll find a wonderful selection of exotic fresh fruit here. Dragon fruit, lee chi, wax apple, longyan, guava, mango, papaya, and many more wonderful fruits.

Vegetarian friendly

If you're a vegetarian then you might like it here best. You'll find many vegetarian restaurants that cater to Taiwan's large Buddhist population. There's no meat here, although you will find many things that look like it.

There's no garlic or onions neither, and the food is still quite tasty. I'd say that it's the best place for vegetarians in Asia.

Scooters in Taipei during rush hour

It's polluted

This is the downer about Taiwan.

The western plains of Taiwan are pretty densely populated and all these people contribute to pollution which is mainly because there are millions of scooters in Taiwan.

They are convenient and fun to own, but unfortunately many are two strokes and contribute greatly to air and noise pollution.

They say it's friendly

Taiwan actually could be more friendly to outsiders compared to a place like Korea or Japan. It's a pretty welcoming place, but to be honest I definitely had moments where I didn't think so and that's just part of the cultural experience.

Anyways...

I remember soon after I arrived, there was one night when I was out looking for a laundromat.

I happened to bump into a group of teenage girls on the street and I asked them where I could find a laundromat. They said there wasn't one around and then one of them said she could help.

She took my laundry home to her house to wash and then brought it back.

How's that for friendliness?

As a foreigner you'll definitely get some special treatment at times and then at other times not so much.

Great intercity buses

If you go to Taiwan make sure you try the green Free Go bus. You can travel between cities in Taiwan on a bus with large comfortable chairs while watching movies.

It's very nice! And it's cheap too.

A teacher in Taiwan talks: language, relationships, money, food & difficulties

Here's an interview with my friend Dale in Taichung, Taiwan.

 

My Experience

Taiwan was the first place that I went to in Asia. I lived there for two+ years. I like Taiwan and I have some good memories from there. I found people to be pretty friendly.

What got to me there was all the noise and pollution mainly from scooters.

If I was to go back I would go to either Taipei or somewhere on the beautiful east coast.

I first lived in Taichung and then later moved to Tainan. Taichung is the 3rd largest city and kinda like a mini version of Taipei.

Tainan is a bit different. It's the 4th largest city. It's less cosmopoliton than Taichung, more laidback and historical. I probably preferred that to Taichung.

Who & where I taught

I taught mostly kids. I taught in kindergartens and buxibans. I also did some subbing at a lot of different schools which included adults and even at a public high school and an elementary school.

My bosses were o.k. They paid on time. One was a bit dodgy and was deducting tax money, but not paying into my refund. Come tax season my new employer helped me get it back.

My other boss was a single woman who owned a small cram school in Koahsiung county.

The teaching scene in Taiwan

  • Requirements: Usually a 4 year degree & native English speaker, some schools may prefer experience, teaching licenses, TEFL certification, etc.
  • Average Salary: $NT600 an hour/$NT50,000-60,000+ ($1,550-1,900) a month
  • Cost of Living: Medium, similar to Korea
  • Housing: Not free or usually included
  • Teaching hours: 15-25 a week 
  • Airfare: No
    *These are just averages expect differences between institutions

Related articles