5 Great Reasons to Teach in Taiwan
Like anyone, I was nervous when I first decided to teach in Taiwan. As the day of departure grew close, all sorts of worries ran through my head. Would I like living in Taiwan? Would I be safe there? Could I stomach the infamous smell of Stinky Tofu?
A year later, this small country had come to feel like home. Here are 5 of the things that make Taiwan such a great place to teach English.
1. There’s Always Something Awesome To Do In Your Spare Time
Taiwan might be small compared to, say, China, but there’s no shortage of incredible things to do in your free time. For outdoor enthusiasts, you’ve got fantastic hiking, rock climbing, cycling, river tracing, and outdoor adventures just an hour or two away.
Into night-life and partying? Taiwan’s major cities have world-class clubs and venues that attract some of the coolest DJs and bands from around the globe.
If museums and culture are more your thing, Taiwan is home to the National Palace Museum, with one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts in the world, as well as over a hundred other museums.
2. Taiwan’s National Healthcare System
Everyone hopes that they can spend their time abroad without a single upset stomach, twisted ankle, or nasty cold. But, if you’re like most people, at some point you’ll find yourself needing to visit a doctor. Taiwan’s amazing public health care system gives you affordable access to whatever health care you need. I always felt that the health care I received in Taiwan was on par with any care I had back in the US—and for a fraction of the cost.
The health care system also covers a lot of traditional Chinese medicine clinics, so you have the option to seek out acupuncture, herbal medicines, or other types of traditional Chinese medicine.
Even if you don’t have access to the National Healthcare System, or if you choose to go with a doctor or hospital outside of the system, the cost of care is incredibly affordable—especially compared to health care in the US.
3. Teachers are Respected and Treated Well
Of course, kids will be kids no matter what country you’re in, so don’t expect a classroom full of six-year-olds to sit at rapt attention while you write on the white board. But schools in Taiwan are great about providing materials, resources, and teaching assistants to help teachers manage their classroom. Parents, co-workers, and kids have a lot of respect for teachers here.
As an ESL teacher in Taiwan, I never felt that I had to worry about not getting paid on time, either, or about struggling to make ends meet. English teachers in Taiwan make enough to live comfortably and still put something in the bank.
4. Taiwan’s Safety
Before I left for Taiwan, both myself and my family were worried about the dangers of living in a foreign country—especially one where I spoke very little of the local language. Those fears were pretty quickly alleviated once I was on the ground. Taiwan is a stable democracy, with a lower instance of violent crime than most US cities. As a single woman, often traveling alone, I never once felt threatened in Taiwan.
As with anywhere, you have to watch out for pickpockets in crowded places, don’t walk alone at night in dark areas, be aware of what’s going on around you, and don’t get involved in illegal activities. But as long as you take the same common-sense safety precautions you would anywhere—and always check for scooters when you’re crossing the street—Taiwan is a very safe place to live and teach.
5. It’s the Perfect Place To Study Chinese Culture and Language
What better way to learn a new language than to be completely immersed in it? Taiwan offers some of the best—and most affordable—opportunities for learning Chinese. Whether you hire a tutor, enroll in classes in your free time, find a language exchange partner, or just strike up a conversation with the local 7-Eleven clerk, you are literally surrounded by opportunities to learn.
Taiwan has also worked to provide a haven for Chinese culture. From the continued use of traditional characters, to the reprinting and promotion of ancient Chinese texts, to the National Palace Museum’s collection of almost 700,000 ancient Imperial artifacts, Taiwan gives you the chance to jump right into the middle of one of the world’s oldest cultures.
Are you living in Taiwan? Have you been here before? Tell us in the comments box below what great reasons you have for teaching in Taiwan.