Teaching English in Taiwan
Frequently Asked Questions – Updated in 2012!
We have attempted to cover as much as possible in our Frequently Asked Questions.
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
- Teaching elementary aged students (7 – 12 years)
- These jobs are typically a 5 1/2 day week (Monday – Saturday)
- Typically afternoon & evening work (great if you want your mornings free to study Chinese, go to the gym, etc)
Option B: Kindigarten/Language School Positions – These positions typically start in Jan/Feb and again in July/Aug
- 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)
- Typically daytime work (and teaching a few evenings each week)
- Please note that your RTT advisor will want to speak to you directly about teaching Kindergarten in Taiwan, since it is illegal.
Option C: Public school positions
- We have a limited number of public school positions in Taiwan each year.
- These jobs are typically a 5-day work week. Teachers generally teach 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$80,000 per month.
Everyone in Taiwan is paid in New Taiwan Dollars (NT$). Schools pay your salary directly into your local Taiwan bank account.
You will either receive a hourly rate of pay for teaching or you’ll receive a fixed salary.
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.
Some language schools generally pay their teachers an hourly rate instead. This is simply because some weeks are busier than others. 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. Overall, both pay systems work well.
Most schools pay similar rates of pay and monthly incomes will typically range around NT$50,000 – 60,000 (approx $1,600-1,900 USD). If you have qualifications such as a TEFL/TESOL you may receive a higher salary than someone without a TEFL. 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 to 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.
The ESL market in Taiwan is slowing down and most schools have stopped offering housing for free. When you first arrive in Taiwan, however, you will be provided with temporary housing at a local hostel or hotel. 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! Most of our teachers find an apartment within two weeks of their arrival.
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.
No, it’s not. It’s extremely easy to get a 90-landing visa upon arrival.
You will have all national holidays off. Additionally, most schools close for a whole week during Chinese New Year (generally the end of January or early February). It is possible to have as much as four weeks of unpaid vacation time, depending on the school.
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.
This depends on your contract. 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 submit your application for an ARC (working visa). All schools we work with are fully licensed schools and able to sponsor their teachers for an ARC for the length of their contract.
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 (work permit). 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, an online dating photo, 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 pick up 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. Nevertheless, when you exit from the airport, please look for your name written on a placard and that person will bring you to your destination. That destination will either be your school or temporary accommodation.