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Teach While You Travel: Taiwan’s Teaching Opportunities

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Nestled just off the coast of China, Taiwan attracts tourists and long-term travellers with a unique blend of tradition and modernity. From the towering Chung Tai Chan Monastery to the renowned National Palace Museum in Taipei, the island offers a vast array of cultural wonders. 

In recent years, Taiwan has emerged as a top destination for TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) educators, boasting high living standards, tantalising cuisine, and a welcoming atmosphere that earned it the title of the happiest country in East Asia in 2019.

Meeting the Demand: TEFL Opportunities in Taiwan

Taiwan’s ambitious goal of achieving bilingualism by 2030 has fueled a surge in demand for TEFL teachers. While the prerequisites for relocating and working in Taiwan are stricter compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the compensation is notably higher, averaging around $2,200 per month, depending on qualifications and experience.

Securing a Teaching Position

To teach English in Taiwan, you need a visa. Eligible applicants come from one of the following countries: Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand. Most employers request a bachelor’s degree (sometimes a master’s) and a TEFL qualification, alongside a clean criminal record.

The Journey to Employment

Upon securing a teaching position, the journey to employment begins with a mandatory health check. This allows you to convert your ‘visa-on-arrival’ to a ‘visitor visa’.  Then, your employer will guide you on how to apply for a work permit.

The final step involves obtaining an ‘alien resident certificate’ (ARC), validated by your employer, granting access to health and dental insurance, as well as the ability to open a bank account. This process typically spans six weeks and costs approximately $300 USD.

Teaching Opportunities

TEFL educators in Taiwan can explore various language education sectors, each offering unique experiences and challenges:

Test-Prep Schools (Buxiban) are after-school programs that prepare students for university entry, providing valuable initial experience in the TEFL career. Although a degree or teaching experience isn’t always required, the workload is intensive, often encompassing 15-20 teaching hours per week with additional unpaid hours for homework marking and lesson planning.

Public schools offer higher salaries and generous benefits, including housing, return flights, and end-of-contract bonuses. Despite larger class sizes, educators typically teach 15 hours a week, with additional time spent at school for some compensation. 

Teaching positions in private schools are highly sought-after, offering smaller class sizes and a more manageable workload. While salaries may be lower, the benefits are often superior.

Reserved for educators with previous teaching experience and a university degree, international schools offer exceptionally high salaries and generous perks, including tax-free income.

Teaching positions in higher education are highly competitive, requiring a minimum of a master’s degree, with higher pay for a PhD. Despite the perks of this role, the workload is substantial and it may entail teaching during evenings, weekends, and daytime, depending on the courses offered.

Cultural Tips

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in Taiwan is an enriching experience that may exceed your expectations. Whether it’s indulging in unique dining experiences or embarking on cycling adventures along the picturesque east coast, Taiwan never fails to charm.

The teaching experience itself is often a delight, characterised by polite and respectful students who are eager to adopt English names, to make your life easier. Expressions of gratitude from students, such as thoughtful gifts and invitations to social gatherings, are not uncommon.

By participating in classroom meals with your students, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the local culture. Observing students doze off after a hearty meal is just one of the heartwarming moments that add to the richness of your TEFL experience abroad.

Instances of behavioural issues are rare, and you’ll always have the support of a local teaching assistant. Depending on your teaching placement, schedules typically span from 8 am to 4 pm, with breaks conveniently scheduled during the hottest part of the day.

If you ever feel a little homesick, there will be plenty of colleagues from the UK, Canada, and the US who will enjoy exploring Taiwan with you.

Spare Time in Taiwan

Not sure what to do during your free time in Taiwan? No problem! Here are some places that you shouldn’t miss:

How to get to Sun Moon Lake
  1. Enjoy the Beauty of Sun Moon Lake

Situated amidst verdant landscapes, the Sun Moon Lake offers a peaceful retreat to wander along its picturesque shores, enjoying the stunning views of the encircling mountains. Make the most of it and take a boat excursion to admire the distinctive sun-and-moon-shaped lake. Don’t forget to explore the nearby temples, including Wenwu Temple.

  1. Ride the Alishan Forest Railway

Embark on a picturesque journey aboard the Alishan Forest Railway across Taiwan’s lush landscapes on this vintage train through mist-clad mountains. Just relax, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

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  1. Explore the Thrills of Taroko Gorge

Be prepared to be stunned by the majestic Taroko Gorge and witness the towering cliffs and marble-walled canyons unique to this location. Are you a fan of adrenaline-fuelled activities? So, why not try hiking along scenic trails, by the Liwu River? Or how about testing your bravery crossing suspension bridges above rushing waters? Finally, marvel at the architectural splendours of the Eternal Spring Shrine and Swallow Grotto. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or an adrenaline junkie, Taroko Gorge is not going to disappoint.

Embrace Taiwan

Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Taiwan is an experience that goes beyond the excitement of a new career or the thrill of a new life abroad. It’s an adventure that promotes cultural immersion and personal growth. With every lesson, you and your students learn and understand a bit more about each other’s culture. 

But you know what they say about ‘all work and no play’ – so make sure you spend your free time visiting some of the amazing places that Taiwan has to offer, like the Taroko Gorge and the Sun Moon Lake.

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