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Taiwan ESL teacher interview

This is an interview with Dale a former ESL teacher in Taichung, Taiwan. Here he talks about communication, girls, relationships, money, advice, tea, food and difficulties.

The following is a transcript of the video interview.

My name is Dale and I am 36 years old and I am now living in Taiwan.

How long have you been in Taiwan? This is my seventh year. I have been and gone a couple times and thought about leaving, but usually I haven't had enough money. Money is usually the reason why I am not leaving.

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 ??? in the morning.

A lot of the guys like the girls here. The girls seem to like the guys which is a plus for the male ego. Girls have issues with that since a lot of the guys may not be western girls material.

Which girls have issues - the western girls or the Asian girls? The western girls don't really take sexually to the Asian male. Some do, but I have known a lot to be kind of down about finding a boyfriend.

Other good things... Money's good.

How much money can you make in a month? Ahh, if you want to work you can make a 100,000NT. Now a 100,000NT is just short of 2,000 pounds, probably about $3,500 USD or $4000 CAD.

How many hours do you have to work to make that kind of money? To make that kind of money you might need to work 7 or 8 hours a day which can be quite tiring. But that's if you want the money. Some people come for the lifestyle. Some people will work 16 hours a week to get the ARC. And that gives them enough money to live on and then they can use that time to study Chinese, calligraphy, study themselves, whatever.

How much do teachers get paid an hour? The minimum is about $550-600NT and hour. In USD that is about $20 minimum. If you want to do privates and you get some good schools you can double that depending on how much you value yourself and what you want to take from it.

What advice would you give to someone interested in coming abroad to teach? Internet. I would use the internet and get on They seem to have information on everything: accommodation, furniture, bikes (scooters), visas, jobs, girls, friends, pen pals, language exchanges, college courses, etc. Get on there and get as much info as you can. I'll tell you what. Some people get on there and make MSM friends a few months before coming over. So that when you arrive you have some friends.

Dale do you have a favorite game or classroom activity that you would like to share? Ahh, game, activity ahh, I can't think of one now. I have been here for 7 years and it's go in the classroom... It's game, it's book, it's story, grammar, phonics. The famous ones are any hammer game. The teachers like to use the hammer to beat the kids, but my last school wouldn't allow that.

I like to get two kids face to face and have a hammer. Then do a little review and say to one kid give me a "b" word and the next one gives a "b" word. And they keep giving "b" words until one can't give a "b" word anymore. The rules are simple, you can't repeat the same word, you cannot say "ughh" and you cannot spend more then 3-5 seconds to give your answer. If they cannot then you hit them.

You can have a fast game also. Where you ask them a question and they have to give you an answer, but they cannot say yes, no or nod their head. If he does then you can whack him. Just whacking games, I love it (laughter).

Do they start crying? No, not really. You don't hit them that hard? Not that hard, just on the border line of tears (laughing).

How do you like the food? Ughhh (making a face), that face answers the question. Some people love the food - lot's of fish and fishy things, fishes friends and loads of meats. But I am vegetarian and a lot of the vegetables here I don't actually like. There's a huge range. They have pickled vegetables that are almost semi Korean and weird looking vegetables. I like things that don't look so weird. But don't they have a lot of vegetarian restaurants?

There are a lot of Buddhist ami tofu restaurants where you can eat things that look like meat, but you don't feel guilty after. They're really good.

What about tea/fruit drinks? I like to drink the green tea here. It's cheap, but there are millions of kinds of tea. Taiwan specializes in different kinds of teas: fruit teas, milk teas, teas with jelly inside and balls of flour. Teas that you think "this ain't tea". Lot's of that. I tend to stick with the same thing with food and drink. I am a little boring with food a drink. I feel like I know what I like.

What about in the supermarket? Do you feel like you can get foods from back home? You can. It might cost you a little more. But there's not a huge range of things from back home. There's a new place called Cosco and you can go there and buy in bulk things like cereal, whatever it is that you eat, hot dogs, vegetables, different kinds of beer, and things in bulk.

It's good if you don't live alone and you can chip in. They also have some really good things like cheeses too.

Have you had any difficulties in Taiwan? I would say that the biggest difficulty is communication. I would say that as soon as you arrive is to take up the language. I would commit to at least a year and at least an hour a day or 3 hours a week or 2 hours every afternoon. Commit to one year and then after one year, if you don't like it give it up. But by then you would have at least sussed out the grammar and you'll know most of the vocab. If you want a relationship then you are o.k. If you get lost, or get in a hospital you'll be o.k.

A year of intense study is worth more than being here for 7 years and just trying to pick up a few words every day. The pain is shorter and you'll probably enjoy it too.

The roads are pretty bad here. It's not like Taipei where they have rules and you have to stop at a red light. Here a red light means you can stop if you want to stop (laughing), but it's up to you.

Watch Part II of Dale's interview in Taiwan.