Frequently Asked Questions – Updated January 2017
Taiwan is 160km (96 miles) off the coast of Mainland China. It is officially considered a province of the Mainland, but for all intents and purposes, Taiwan is an independent democratic country. It has its own elections, currency, flag, army and government. The official language in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, but Taiwanese is widely spoken, particularly by the older generation. The population is 22 million. The Taiwanese tend to be extremely warm, generous and welcoming to foreigners.
Option A: Language School Positions – These positions start throughout the year, but mostly between Jan-March and June through August.
– Teach elementary students (7 – 12 years of age)
– Teach a 5 1/2 day work week. Monday to Friday classes are typically between 5 and 9pm. Most schools require teachers to teach a half day on Saturday from 9am to 1pm
– This is a great schedule if you want your mornings free to study Chinese, go to the gym, etc.
Option B: Kindigarten/Language School Positions – These positions start in Jan/Feb and again in July and August.
– Teaching a mixed schedule of kindergarten aged students (3 – 6 years) and language school students (7-12 years)
– These jobs are typically a 5-day week (Monday – Friday)
– Teach a variety of subjects between 9am to 4:30pm
– Your RTT advisor will want to speak to you directly about the legalities of teaching kindergarten in Taiwan. It’s your decision to decide whether or not this option is right for you.
Option C: Public school positions – August start date each year
– Reach To Teach is partnered with a number of public elementary schools in Taiwan, include several English Wonderland Schools in Taipei
– 5-day work week from 8:30am to 5pm
– Most public schools in Taiwan offer a bare-bones curriculum. Furthermore, you can count on the fact that there will be a huge variance in English proficiency in your classes
– Teachers interested in this option must be a certified teacher in their home country and have formal teaching experience OR have a Masters degree
– Teachers generally make between NT$65,000 and NT$95,000 per month, plus flights, a housing stipend, and paid time off during the summer. Your salary is determined by your education, certifications, and teaching experience.
Everyone in Taiwan is paid in New Taiwan Dollars (NT$). Schools pay your salary directly into your local Taiwan bank account. Most schools pay by the hour.
Hourly Positions –Most schools in Taipei have switched to hourly contracts, which means you are paid for the number of hours you teach in your classroom. Hourly contracts do not offer benefits like paid vacation time and paid public holidays. The average wage is NT600 per hour, but some schools offer a little less in lieu of including a flight compensation or contract completion bonus for new teachers that are moving abroad for their first year. Hourly pay is the most common type of pay system in Taiwan and it’s quite popular because you get paid for exactly what you teach. You aren’t paid for lesson planning or time spent grading, but teaching on an hourly basis can be a good option for teachers that are looking for a bit more flexibility with their schedules.
Salaried Positions –It is becoming less and less common for private schools in Taiwan to offer salaried positions. Schools that offer a fixed salary will require you to be at school for office hours and for teaching hours. Generally, contracts with a fixed salary include at least ten hours of office work, which is time that is used for planning lessons and grading papers. These types of contracts generally include paid vacation time at Chinese New Year and other public holidays.
Overall, both pay systems work well. The average hourly rate of pay in Taiwan it NT$600 per hour, but you might find schools that offer less if they include other perks in their teaching package. For example, some schools will pay you for some prep time each day, which could result in a lower hourly rate of pay during classroom others. Some schools also offer flight stipends that offset the cost of you spending your own money to teach with them. When this happens, you typically receive the cost of your flight at the end of your contract and teachers generally receive an increase in pay at the six month mark.
Most schools pay similar rates of pay and monthly incomes will typically range around NT$50,000 – 60,000 (approximately $1,600-1,900 USD). Bear in mind that if you accept a position that offers an hourly rate, your contract will include a MINIMUM number of hours that the school promises to give you. This is generally between 16 and 20 hours. Most of our teachers at these schools are teaching between 23 and 27 hours a week, however.
We have positions available throughout the island. We will work with you to place you at a school that best fits with your skills and preferences. Like anything else, the more flexible you are the more options you will have.
We recruit for positions year round, so you are welcome to submit your application at any time. If we feel your application is too early we may wait a few weeks or months before offering you an interview. This is because schools aren’t yet sure of their vacancies at the time you are looking to arrive. Don’t worry though ~ we will always keep you updated of your application status and we will make sure there is more than enough time to guide you through the interview, placement, visa and arrival process!
You can apply at any time. There is no deadline for applications. However, it is best to plan as early as possible. Generally, three months prior to your anticipated arrival is ideal, but you can also apply at the last minute if necessary.
Yes! But you will need to receive your diploma before you arrive in Taiwan. If you have not received your diploma, please get a copy of your transcripts from your University. Then contact your University to find out when you will receive your actual degree. Please note that if your diploma is issued in any other language other than English, you will need to have it translated and authenticated.
You can arrive as soon as we have secured your teaching placement for you and guided you through the Taiwan visa process. Done quickly, we’ve helped people arrive two weeks after they first applied with us!
This really depends on how much your monthly payments are. Most of our teachers have no problem continuing their student loan payments while teaching abroad. Your salary doesn’t appear high but the cost of living in Taiwan is much lower than in your home country. Your rent will almost certainly be less than NT$8,000 per month ($250 USD), unless you are living in downtown Taipei. Be prepared to pay as much as NT$15,000 if you want your own place in Taipei. Meals and almost everything else is much cheaper than in your home country. Also, if maximizing your earning potential is very important to you, many people pick up private tutoring jobs on the side (NOTE: Although this is widely practiced and quite lucrative, it is also illegal). Your salary will be more than adequate to support yourself as well as save money for whatever purpose you would like (loans, for example!).
The cost of living in Taiwan is much cheaper than that of the United States or Canada, for example. Costs will vary somewhat depending on whether you live in the city or country. However, your salary in the country will also be moderately lower. In either situation, your salary will be more than adequate to support yourself and live a comfortable lifestyle. There will be more specific details on cost of living in your acceptance packet.
Taiwan has universal health care, so everyone receives a health insurance card. The card will allow you to visit any of the numerous health centers, dental clinics and hospitals in Taiwan. Almost all teachers feel the health care they have received while in Taiwan to be excellent. In fact, many of them return home feeling the health care system in Taiwan to be better than their home country. Your school is responsible for covering roughly 75% of your monthly health care deduction. The remaining 25% is deducted from your payment each month.
Most schools in Taiwan do not offer free housing. Some schools outside of Taipei may offer housing at a reduced cost. When you first arrive in Taiwan, however, you will stay at a local hostel or hotel. If you are outside of the greater Taipei area, your school will help you find a permanent apartment which you find to be comfortable and agreeable. Most teachers are able to find an apartment within walking distance of their school.
Note that if you plan on teaching in Taipei, schools in Taipei do not typically provide much assistance in terms of helping teachers get set up with an apartment. There is a massive expat community in Taipei, but that means it’s typically fairly easy to find a roommate or a room for rent.
Most teachers find an apartment within two weeks of their arrival.
Check out the Looking for Roommates or Apartments in Taipei and Taiwan group on Facebook. This group was created to help people in Taipei and the rest of Taiwan to connect with folks that are looking for a shared apartment or a new roommate. When posting a comment for an apartment or roommate, please leave your email address or a phone number that you can be reached at.
South African teachers must still apply for a visitor’s visa at the TECO office in South African. As of November 2012, residents of Canada, England, New Zealand and the United States are granted a 90-day landing visa upon arrival in Taiwan.
Most schools in Taiwan do not want to bother with the time and money involved with having a teacher secure an employment visa in their home country. Teachers come in on a visa exempt status. You school will then switch your visa exempt status to a Visitor Visa while you are here. Then they will start the process of applying for your work permit and ARC. Changing your status from visa-exempt to a visitor visa does not require you to leave Taiwan. Please be aware that schools are not responsible for the cost of your health check, which is required for your work permit and ARC. Schools do not typically cover the costs of your work permit and ARC, although some international schools will offer this as part of your salary package.
The cost of your health check is approximately NT$1,710. Your school will then switch your visa exempt status to a visitor visa while you’re in Taiwan, and then apply for your work permit and ARC. Typically, the total cost of your documents is between NT$8,000 and NT$10,000 in total.
It has become increasingly difficult for us to find positions for couples in Taiwan. If you wish to apply as a couple, the best time to secure positions with us is during the months of June and July. We typically only have a few schools in Taipei each year that will hire couples, and we very rarely have positions outside of Taipei that can accommodate couples. With that said, on average, we have been placing 3-6 couples during these months each year.
You will have all national holidays off. If you work at a private school, your national holidays are unpaid. If you are working within the public school system, teachers enjoy paid National Holidays and paid time off each summer. Additionally, schools close for a whole week during Chinese New Year (generally the end of January or early February). It is possible to ask for as much as four weeks of unpaid vacation time, depending on the school. We recommend that you do not ask for time off during your first six months of employment.
This is a subject everyone can agree on: The food in Taiwan is varied and fantastic. The shabu-shabus’s, BBQ food, fresh seafood, different varieties of tofu, teppanyaki and even strange exotic food like snake’s blood and bird’s nest are just a sampling of the extremely large Taiwanese palette. Food is plentiful and extremely cheap. Wandering the night markets and sampling the varied specialties of each food vendor is a great experience. You can also find any Western food in Taiwan, though you will likely have to pay “home” prices for it. The Hard Rock Cafe, Hooters, McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, etc. can all be found in Taiwan. Higher end restaurants such as Morton’s steakhouse are also to be found. Many foreigners return to their home country and find themselves bored with the food in comparison the many choices they had in Taiwan.
Most schools do NOT pay for your flight. However, some schools offer a completion bonus at the end of your one year contract. This bonus is typically at least as much as the cost of a flight.
This really depends on when you are traveling and how far your journey is! Busy vacation times can increase the price. We recommend you check all the major discount web sites such as Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia when booking your flight.
When you arrive in Taiwan, your school will help you to change your visa exempt status to a visitor visa. Once you have completed your health check in Taiwan, your school will submit your documents to the CLA for your work permit. When your work permit has been issued, you will submit your documentation to the NIA for your ARC (Alien Residence Card). The schools that we work with in Taiwan are fully licensed schools and they are able to sponsor their teachers for a work permit and ARC for the duration of your contract.
Reach To Teach does not place teachers at schools that cannot offer a work permit and ARC.
I've heard there are legality issues concerning working in Taiwan. Do you have more information on this?
The laws concerning English foreign teachers in Taiwan may seem complex. For example, some teachers like to work additional hours at other schools, but technically you can only work at the school which is sponsoring your ARC. If you choose to work outside of your work permit limits, you do so at your own risk. Additionally, it is technically illegal to teach kindergarten in Taiwan. However, thousands foreigners do so without any problem. Whether or not to work at a kindergarten is a decision which every teacher needs to make for themselves. Our friendly and informative staff will go over teaching options with you in detail during your first interview with us.
If unavoidable circumstances are involved, yes, you may have no option but to break your contract. However, if the teacher breaks the contract for their own reasons, you will be forfeiting your completion of contract bonus and you may be asked to reimburse certain costs. Remember, you are making a commitment to teach these students for a full year.
Great question! This is a very common concern for teachers who are teaching English abroad in Taiwan. So common in fact, that we have dedicated an entire page to answer just this quesion. Please follow this link to find out more about paying your taxes as a US citizen abroad.
Your tax rate will be at an 18% rate until you have been in Taiwan for 183 days in a calendar year. 183 days is approximately 6 months (half a calendar year). After accumulating 183 days, the withholding tax rate drops to between 6%-15%, depending on your salary rate.
Visit our Taiwan links page, you should find plenty of useful web sites there.
Here is a great list to help you get started:
– Prepare your resume, cover letter and recent photo!
– Your photo should be job appropriate. Please give some thought to what you send as. Your photo goes on your teacher profile package which is then sent out to our client schools. Please send us a headshot or a photo of you with kids. Please don’t send us photos where we can’t see your face clearly or a photo that doesn’t relate to your desire to teach abroad.
– Your cover letter does not need to be long but it should express your interest in Taiwan and the reasons you feel you are the right person for a teaching position. It should also highlight any strong preferences you may have (although we would encourage you to remain flexible if possible). For example, if you wish to only be located in a specific town/city, etc. Your photo should be a recent smiling picture – as we like to see you look friendly and approachable! A full length photo is preferable to a headshot.
– Check your passport is valid for the next year or longer.
– If you don’t yet have your University diploma/degree, find out when it will be awarded to you. That date will mark the earliest time you feasibly can arrive in Taiwan.
We will guide you from there!
In Taiwan, the school will organize your collection from the airport. Either a manager from the school will pick you up or the school will hire a taxi service to pick you up. When you enter the Arrivals Hall, look for your name written on a placard. Your school representative or driver will bring you to your school or lodgings.