Teaching English abroad has become pretty popular in recent years, so I’m always surprised that a lot of people don’t have Taiwan on their radar (this is part of the reason we started this blog).
Below are the top 5 reasons you should come to Taiwan to teach English.
Jobs and Pay
Quite simply, one of the best reasons to come to Taiwan is that there are jobs available. The vast majority of people that are teaching English in Taiwan are first time teachers, so not having experience is definitely not an impediment to finding a job.
As long as you are relatively normal and competent you should have no problem finding and holding a job here. The pay is also one of the nice things about living in Taiwan. First, let me say that you definitely won’t get rich being an English teacher in Taiwan, but you should make enough money to fund a nice lifestyle (see point 2).
Working just 20 teaching hours a week should give you enough money to cover your expenses and also have some fun/save money (many people also work longer hours by choice to make more money for various reasons like paying off student loans).
When I first came to Taiwan I worked 20 hours a week from around 5-9pm every day (there was a little extra time spent preping/grading). Working only 20 hours a week afforded me with a ton of free time (and enough money), and it was one of the reasons I enjoyed my first couple of years so much in Taiwan.
Lots of people work similar schedules and use their free time for other activities like learning Chinese, biking, hiking, martial arts, working out, meeting friends, reading, writing, and lots of other things. Really, with so much free time you can use it to do whatever you want.
In my experience, Taiwanese people are incredibly friendly to foreigners. When I first got here I had so many Taiwanese people help me to do basic things from finding apartments to cell phones contracts. This is especially important if you are like me and don’t speak any Chinese when you arrive.
Taiwanese people in general are also very friendly to foreigners who don’t speak Chinese (they are often apologetic that they can’t speak English well). I think about how foreigners are often treated in the US, and I’ve never had a bad experience like this in Taiwan, even though my Chinese is still pretty poor.
Living and working abroad can be a really fun adventure — in fact it’s one of the main reasons I moved abroad in the first place. As I’ve written before, Taiwan isn’t a place you come to for a few months to teach and have fun. You have to take the teaching seriously and make a commitment for a year.
People looking for an extended vacation might not like that, but I actually think that committing to a year really let’s you get to learn about Taiwan and experience an adventure here. There is so much to do and see and everything in the first few months will be new and different.
Culturally, Taiwan can be very different compared to the West. When living here you’ll be immersed in another culture and get to experience so many interesting and exciting things. I’ve done a lot of really cool things like watching dragon boat races, setting off fireworks for Chinese New Year, seen incredible lanterns at Lantern Festival, burned paper money for good luck, gone to temples and lit fireworks, participated in various local customs and activities, and so much more.
One of the best reasons to teach English in Taiwan is the ability to travel around Asia. Taiwan’s location is pretty central in Asia and you can definitely take trips to places around the area. During your first year teaching you probably won’t get that much time off, but you should still have enough time to visit a couple places.
If you stay for another year (or travel after your first year), you can really start taking advantage and go for several week long vacations to different locations. Tim and I have both gotten to travel around Asia quite a bit and it’s really an opportunity we could only have dreamt of if we stayed in the US.