Whether you are drawn to Asia for its ancient culture or the delicious food, Taiwan is one of the top spots for teaching English abroad. As a teacher, you have the unique opportunity to teach within both public and private schools throughout Taiwan, which provides you with the best overall international experience. The subtropical climate will allow teachers to enjoy tropical beaches, beautiful mountain hikes, and upbeat modern cities.
Although there are many cities throughout the island, Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taichung offer the most opportunities to teach in Taiwan.
Taipei, the capital, is a bustling city filled with delectable Chinese restaurants and markets that fill the city streets after dark. With high-speed railways and buses, it is easy to travel from the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a top tourist spot, to the Tamsui River that travels down the city’s western border.
Kaohsiung. This southern port-city is consistently growing into more of a global city every day. With breathtaking views of the city nestled between rolling green hills and the brilliant blue ocean, Kaohsiung offers newly developed shopping malls, flashy night markets, and a handful of piers just bursting with entertainment. It is also the home of the EDA Rhinos, Taiwan’s premier baseball team. Those who teach in Kaohsiung can catch a game in between classes, or even take students for a field trip!
Taichung. The third largest city in Taiwan sits on the western side of the island, close to China. It is the home to the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, which houses the world’s largest collection of Taiwanese art. Taichung also features many historical temples, found sprinkled amongst recent construction and modern buildings. Relax at Guguan, the city’s famous hot spring, and enjoy the stunning sights around you. Teachers take pleasure in teaching in Taichung because they can experience the deep-rooted culture here as it is mixed in with the modern, upbeat tempo of the ever growing development of Taiwan.
One of the major benefits of teaching English in Taiwan is that teachers can choose between public or private institutions, both offering a variety of benefits. While the local language is Chinese, teachers do not need to be proficient in Chinese in order to teach abroad in Taiwan. Of course, the more you do know, the more advanced teaching jobs you will have available to choose from.
School Schedule. With over 14 national holidays, and many more observation days, teachers can expect to have these days off in addition to their regular vacation days, which vary between institutions. In public schools, teachers should expect a minimum of ten vacation days, whereas in private schools teachers will see up to 20 days.
The typical school year consists of two semesters, fall and spring, and students are required to attend school for the first nine years of their education. High school and beyond is optional, though more than 95 percent of students continue on to high school. The school day for elementary students, (grades first through sixth), is much longer in Taiwan than in much of the Western world, ranging from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with additional afterschool and summer/winter courses. Junior high students (grades seventh through ninth), can expect their school day to be even longer, most stay in extra classes as late as 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.
Teaching Experience. Many public institutions throughout the island do require teachers to have at least one to two years of relative experience to teach in Taiwan, and sometimes the teacher should be a certified teacher in their home state or province. Private schools require that teachers have a certification in either TEFL or TESOL before they begin their teaching job in Taiwan. While the demand is high for English teachers in Taiwan, schools do look for the latter criteria when considering candidates. Many TEFL programs in Taiwan can help in providing certification, boosting your skills, and will provide teaching placement assistance upon completion too.
Salaries & Costs
Teachers can expect a salary range of approximately $2,000 to $2,400 per month while teaching in Taiwan at a public school. For individuals teaching English in Taiwan at private schools, salaries ranging from $1,400 to $2,100 per month is average. In order to best appreciate the meaning of these salary levels, it is important to know the cost of certain daily expenses, such as breakfast, for example an egg sandwich and a soy milk beverage, will cost a little over $1 or lunch or dinner which could range from about $2.50 to $8.
Saving Potential & Perks. Teachers have the ability to save money while teaching English in Taiwan, which is generally a great benefit of teaching English in Asia. Most teachers come home with thousands of dollars in their pockets! In addition to the great salary opportunities, you can expect a few extra benefits from your institution. In public schools, teachers are often offered a performance bonus at the end of their contract (which are usually six to 12 months), a housing allowance or assistance in finding the appropriate accommodations, and they might even earn a return airfare benefit.
While teaching in private schools, teachers are often offered an opportunity to work overtime, which provides an extra boost to their paycheck. Those who work in private institutions are more often than not reimbursed for their airfare, provided with medical insurance, and assistance in finding housing and also a housing stipend. In Taiwan, all of these great benefits are in addition to the contracted salary agreement!
Accommodations & Visas
Teachers are required to apply for a work visa once they are accepted for a teaching job in Taiwan. Many companies will assist their teachers in completing the visa application process, but some do require teachers to apply for one on their own. It is best to check with the school offering you a teaching job in Taiwan, or the placement provider, in order to best prepare for the legal requirements.
Rent in Taiwan will run from around $300 to $500 depending on how close you are to the most popular or modern areas of town. Be very aware of the area surrounding your prospective home while teaching in Taiwan as vacant lots are often used to burn trash. The summers will be extremely hot and humid, while the winters in the north could easily require a heater so check the amenities too. Taipei will be the most expensive city, followed by Taichung, and then Kaohsiung.
Benefits & Challenges
- Be Patient. Teaching jobs in Taiwan are plentiful, but it important to note that the process does not happen in two weeks alone. Make sure you are prepared for the length of the application process, as well as the time it takes to approve your work visa.
- Teaching Schedule. The school schedule can vary a lot for teachers in Taiwan making it extra important to read your contract. Some schools will operate on the weekends, move teachers around between different branches of the school, or have random shifts.
- Little Secret. Many teachers who find themselves teaching abroad in Taiwan feel as if they have somehow discovered a place off the beaten track. Although it is an extremely popular location for teaching English abroad, it still holds a very charming and local feeling, and lacks the swarming crowds of other Southeast Asian countries.