Teacher John – Life in Taiwan Quarantine in May 2021

Teacher John – Life in Taiwan Quarantine in May 2021

Teacher Interview: Taiwan Quarantine & Teaching in Taiwan in 2021 with Reach To Teach

Learn about life in Taiwan quarantine with John who flew to Taiwan just before the May outbreak in Taipei and New Taipei City. John is currently waiting for schools to reopen so he can begin his teaching career in Taiwan. In the meantime, he has kindly offered to share his thoughts about his arrival in Taiwan, his experience leading up to his departure for Taiwan, and what life in Taiwan quarantine has been like for him.

Thanks so much for agreeing to interview with us to let other teachers know what to expect about the document process at home and what quarantine has been like for you, John. Let’s get started! 

RTT: Hi John! Could you please tell our readers a little about yourself? 

JK: Hi Carrie! Yeah, sure. I’m John, I’m 26 years old, and I’m from the United States. I like sports, music, and learning things in general.

I see teaching in Taiwan as an extraordinary opportunity for personal growth. I want to improve my Mandarin skills, be on my own, and have to figure things out on my own.

RTT: Could you walk us through the paperwork process for obtaining your resident visa to Taiwan? 

JK: Yeah. First, Carrie will give you a list of items that you must procure and compile. Most of them are easy to get, or will be copies of things you already have, like your passport, diploma, and letters of reference.

However, by far the item you must pay the most attention to is your health check form. You will need to work closely with your doctor to make sure you get all the tests necessary and have him or her fill out the form entirely. After you obtain a completed health check form, you must mail it to a TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office) office in your country so they can verify it.

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For this step, make sure you call the office you intend to work with to figure out exactly what you need to mail in. Off the top of my head, I think you need to include the processing fee, the application form, passport photos, a notarized copy of your passport, and the health check form itself, which also needs to be notarized.

So, yeah, the health check form is a challenge. I encourage applicants to exercise patience and caution when completing this step.

Once you have obtained every item on the list, including your TECO-verified health check form, you will mail them to Carrie in Taiwan. She will use them to assist your school in applying for your work permit. Once she receives your work permit, she will FedEx it back to you in your home country. 

Then comes the final step, which is to mail your work permit, along with your Visa application and some other items, to none other than TECO, again. Once your application is approved, TECO will issue your Resident Visa.

RTT: When did you start the application process? Did you find it hard to do all of the paperwork requirements in the US? 

JK: I believe I started around the end of February and finished around the beginning of May.

I’d say it was quite difficult, overall. It wasn’t that there was any one particular step that was super technical, but rather, the sheer number of tasks, sub-tasks, and requirements felt overwhelming at times. Considering how meticulous the applicant has to be, I’d consider it a feat.

RTT: Did anyone say anything about your decision to teach in Taiwan during a global pandemic? 

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JK: The people I shared my plans with encouraged me! 

RTT: You’ve had the added experience of getting one of the last flights to Taiwan while our borders have closed until June 18th. How was that experience?

JK: It was kind of absurd, haha. I remember waking up the morning of my flight, excited that I had planned everything perfectly, from my mandatory COVID test to my flight and hotel bookings, only to check my email and see the news “Taiwan closes its borders.”

I messaged Carrie right away, who reassured me that my flight was taking off right before the border would close. I went back to read the news more carefully, and sure enough, I had barely made the cutoff, by fewer than 24 hours, in fact.

Absolutely bonkers, and I am grateful I did not have to delay my departure for another month.

RTT: What was the quarantine process like for you? How did things go at the airport when you arrived? 

JK: The process was extremely smooth. The employees at Taoyuan Airport walked me every step of the way, and when my Mandarin faltered, they switched to perfectly good English. It was quick and easy to do things like get a Taiwan phone number and take a taxi to my quarantine hotel.

RTT: Can you tell us a bit about life in Taiwan quarantine? How have you spent your time?

JK: Haha, it’s actually not too different from how I spent my time during the application process at home. I do calisthenics, watch shows, practice music, and practice my language skills.

My hometown back in the States wasn’t doing so great in terms of the pandemic, so we were all kind of used to a pseudo-quarantine situation already. It wasn’t ideal, but I guess it made the transition to full quarantine in Taiwan really easy.

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RTT: How did you enjoy working with Reach To Teach? Was there anything we could’ve improved on?

JK: I loved working with Reach To Teach! I have no complaints, whatsoever.

RTT: What advice would you give to new teachers that are thinking of teaching abroad during a pandemic? Should they go for it? Do you have any additional advice for them about how to spend their time in quarantine?

JK: If you really want to live and work in Taiwan, then go for it. That’s what I did. However, if you’re not in a rush, I suggest holding on because the pandemic complicates the application process exponentially, as well as adds a bunch of time and money costs that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

RTT: Do you think having a recruiter was a plus for you?

JK: Absolutely. I mean, I can’t really think of a reason not to have one.

Reach To Teach doesn’t charge you anything, and it has already done the hard work for you of identifying great schools in Taiwan to work with.

RTT: Do you think having a recruiter was a plus for you? JK: Reach To Teach doesn’t charge you anything. It has already done the hard work of identifying great schools in Taiwan to work with. Click To Tweet

Thanks so much for your time, John. We know other teachers that are considering moving to Taiwan will be interested in learning about life in Taiwan quarantine and what to expect. I know they’ll appreciate your valuable tips. 

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