Teach English in Taiwan

| 3 min read

Taiwan - Taipei 101

Fast Facts

Here's a glimpse of Taiwan.

Capital: Taipei

Major Language: Mandarin

Getting Around:

  1. Trains connect the major areas in Taiwan. Regular express trains run on both the west and east coast while the High Speed Rail runs only on the major cities on the western rail. High Speed Rail delivers on speed vs the regular trains but is also more expensive.

    There are also different classes of train which vary on the speed, the fastest ones having high demand so it’s better to book your tickets in advance if possible. Check out Taiwan Railways Administration for more info.

  2. Buses are reliable too and at a cheaper price. Some buses even have big comfy seats and on-board toilets. Note that it could be kinda chilly inside air conditioned ones. As a reminder, keep your bus ticket as they are required, sometimes, to be returned before you can get off the bus. www.taiwanbus.tw
  3. Buses are reliable too and at a cheaper price. Some buses even have big comfy seats and on-board toilets. Note that it could be kinda chilly inside air conditioned ones. As a reminder, keep your bus ticket as they are required, sometimes, to be returned before you can get off the bus. www.taiwanbus.tw
  4. Renting cars is also an option but only for shorter stays. Otherwise, it can get quite expensive.
  5. Using bicycles to go around is also becoming common mostly in touristy areas.

Famous Landmarks:

  • Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Taiwan at ~3,777 meters and looks very scenic with its almost perfect cone shape, although it’s not clearly visible at all times. This volcano also attracts climbers during the climbing season of July to September when the overall conditions are better for climbers.
  • Natural scenic places such as the Taroko National Park with the impressive Taroko Gorge, Yushan National Park with several mountains including the Sanqinshan peak, Maolin National Scenic Area where the Purple Butterfly Valley is located, Yangmingshan National Park with the geysers and hot springs among others.
  • See the past with a visit to various museums such as the National Palace Museum, Chimei Museum and Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum.

Visa:

A visitor visa is needed to get a work permit. However, it is a fact that a lot of native english speaking teachers come to Taiwan without a job waiting for them. Taiwan has an exempt-visa entry for some countries which include a number of English-speaking countries like the US, UK and Canada. Once you have an employer and you pass the medical check, your employer will help you get a visitor visa. This is then needed to get the work permit and ARC (Alien Residence Card).

Check complete details with the immigration office.

Application and Contracts:

Hiring is done by schools and recruiters alike. It would be better to find one prior going to Taiwan as processing documents could take weeks of waiting. A teaching contract typically lasts for a year.

Who can legally teach here:

A work permit and an ARC sponsored by your employer are needed for the duration of your contract. As a note, you should be cleared from the Criminal Background Check, issued within the past six months, from your home country to get a work permit.

Types of English teaching jobs:

  1. Public schools

    Teaching for public schools has higher requirements than Language schools. An applicant must have a formal teaching experience and should be a certified teacher in their country. Work schedule can be from morning to afternoon during weekdays.

    You can also check the FET program promoted by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. This is open for those with both a college degree and a teacher’s license. Benefits include the usual housing, airfare and medical package plus OT pay. Salary varies according to experience. Check FET’s site for more details and application period as the program follows a certain schedule that you don’t want to miss.

  2. Buxibans or Cram schools

    This is a good place to start if you do not have a previous teaching experience. If you are teaching elementary students, these are classes scheduled in the afternoon to night time during weekdays and maybe some weekends. Number of students can vary and are sometimes a little too many. There are also language schools teaching kindergartens. Just a caution tho because this is a gray area and its legality has been a topic for discussion even from way back. As such, be sure to talk this properly with your employer before accepting teaching for kindy.

  3. Private schools

    Private schools offer better benefits than public schools with paid vacations. You would also expect a smaller class than public schools.

  4. International schools

    Teaching at an international school pays the highest.

  5. Colleges / Universities

    Vacancies for this position are rare and requiring a minimum of Masters degree for applicants. Salary is generally higher than the average and varies with experience.

Local terms:

Cram schools in Taiwan are called Buxibans. These cram schools offer lessons that are meant to supplement what is learned in normal schools. Another word you’d be familiar with while teaching in Taiwan is “kindy” which refers to kindergarten.

Hiring season:

Hiring seems to be year-round because of Language school positions which start around the start and mid year. On the other hand, public schools start classes in August.

Average salary:

Starting salary ranges from 50,000 to 95,000 ($730 - $1,800) monthly depending on the type of school and your qualifications.

Typical benefits (housing, airfare):

Housing, airfare and medical package is typically part of the contract. Additional would be paid vacation and sometimes, some budget for your supplies. Furthermore, having an end-of-contract bonus is usual so better to wait til the end of your contract.

Average cost of living:

Monthly cost of living in Taiwan is around $1500 - 2,000 (USD).