Apply for HESS beforehand or just come over?


Hi everyone,

New to this forum. Did a little searching around but wanted to get any fresh perspectives as I know the job market can change over time.

I am your typical white 20 something post grad from USA looking to teach English in Taiwan. I have no teaching experience but I do have a 120 hour online TEFL along with 20 in class training.

I’m definitely looking to teach in Taipei or near Taipei off the MRT. I’ve heard to look outside of Taipei as well but I would definitely like to make this a priority.

My question is do I apply ahead of time with a chain like HESS or do I fly over with a few months worth of savings and hit the pavement/send resumes. Most people I’ve talked to have said it shouldn’t be hard and that I should definitely arrive first and then start looking. I plan on coming over in about a month. So… July.

But then again, naturally, I’m worried about those prospects especially after reading posts here of people not finding a job for months and others saying that the Taipei market has dried up unless you have experience.

Any fresh insight on this would be immensely appreciated. Again, I’ll have enough savings to last me a few months (granted I hear the peak hiring season is really just during the summer) and if I don’t apply with a chain ahead of time, I definitely plan to hit the ground running. Just worried about how realistic this may be.

Thanks for reading. I’m sure this has been asked. Just wanted to get an updated picture on this especially for 2017.

All the best


Hess will ask you to pick 4 cities and then place you in 1 of them


Is it totally crazy then to just come over and hit the pavement? A lot of people on reddit seem pretty confident that it can be done. but alas, the internet. Figured Id ask here too :slight_smile:


you gana do a lot of demos then



Been dong some searching and finding this a bit unclear.

Are there any chances that in an interview I can ask for two weeks of unpaid vacation a year. One during Christmas and another over the summer. (to visit family) . Ive seen some people say that buxibans will let you take some time off while others have said no. Any takes on this?

Thank you for the reply!


I’m also 22. White. Though I have little interest in teaching English on this island. What I can tell you, is if you check the listings on and start shooting some emails to schools about a week or two before you arrive you can have a bunch of schools eager for you to come for a demo and interview. Directly applying to schools will give you much more flexability in where and how you want to work.

Hope this helps mate, good luck job hunting.


Taking time off depends entirely on your school. I just received a constant, that I declined, which stated unpaid time off would be acceptable provided a month notice was given. And it was the school’s responsibility to find a substitute. It entirely depends on how your contract reads. That is something you’ll have to weight when considering to work for a school if and when they send you a contract.


Taking time off depends on your branch/manager. A lot go by hours allotted for vacation vs day,s due to it being part-time with some days being heavier than others. Be advised that if you teach kindergarten, you will have to come up with a Christmas play which is a big deal and you’ll need to be working before (as in a month before the performance) preparing/coaching your kids and of course on the day of the performance; after the big day it should be -ok- to take some time off. Make sure to ask in advance incase another coworker does as well; first come, first serve~

If you sign your contract during the summer and both you and branch wish to continue, they’ll give you something like 2-6weeks, again depending on branch/manager, of time off you can take in between contracts~


You’re already entitled to 14 days of unpaid leave (事假) per year by law, if you can prove the necessity of it, like caring for a sick relative. Afaik just wanting a vacation doesn’t qualify, so for that you need to negotiate.

I would advise saying no to illegal kindergarten work, of course. The Hess people are always welcome to come here and explain why we should believe they’re not wantonly breaking the law. Iirc they used to have a wishy-washy “oh, it’s, like, a gray area” statement on their website but took it down for some strange reason.


Thank you for the replies everyone!

Then I suppose when I interview with schools I will ask up front if those 14 days can be grouped into two spans of 7. Hopefully this won’t be a problem? Does anyone have any experience with this?


yyy just explained those 14 days are for emergency’s, not vacation. So pre-planning it out looks totally fishy~


To clarify:

The exact wording of Art. 7 of the Regulations of Leave-Taking of Workers is “matters which a worker must personally deal with”, though the Chinese version (the version that counts) says “勞工因有事故必須親自處理”, and “事故” is more like “accidents” than “matters” (but not necessarily medical).

The Act of Gender Equality in Employment specifies a certain number of family care days as a subcategory of 事假.

Also, the Dec 2016 version of the Labor Standards Act (Art. 38) gives you 3 days of paid leave after 6 months, rising to 7 after 1 year.

These are just minimums, so negotiate to your heart’s content. A major employer (30 or more employees) needs to have a detailed set of work rules approved by the local government, and you need to receive a copy. The work rules should specify the procedures for applying for leave, if the contract doesn’t already.

If you have any doubts, you can always ask the local labor department, the Ministry of Labor, or a lawyer.


For sure. Thanks so much for the clarification. I will definitely try to negotiate just wondering how difficult that may be . . we shall see


Your contract will dictate how much vacation you get a year. First year is usually 2 weeks and with HESS if you re-sign you get 6 weeks in the 2nd year.

They don’t give a shit when you take vacation, unless there is a event you can’t skips, like a graduation performance for example.

SPOILER ALERT YOU have to find substitutes for ALL your classes which is 1. almost impossible a lot of the time because people just won’t want to sub your classes 2. if your head teacher or manager isn’t willing to help you, it’s easier to just not take vacation.

Once again, it is all branch dependent. Some branches have good systems in place and sister schools that help with subbing, others just don’t give a shit if you want to see your family or not and don’t want to help cover your classes.


HESS is shite if you don’t work kindy, you’re going to be travelling to 2 or 3 different branches to have enough hours. Kindy can make up 10-12-17-18 hours per week. All day kindy is where the money is, that is 16-18 hours.

The illegal part is something to really think about because you can be deported if you’re caught and found guilty. So you’re going to be jumping through windows or running to the roof when you get surprise inspections lol.


For the legal minimum amounts of leave, the employee can’t be held responsible for finding a substitute. For anything beyond that, I suppose they can put it in the contract.

As for the hours, each branch (anything separately registered as a buxiban, even if it’s next door or in the same building) needs to give you the correct number of hours without pooling them. So if you have 14h/w at one and 6h/w and three others, no problem, but if your primary employer is a Hess branch that gives you 13h/w, that’s illegal.

It seems to be unheard of for a teacher to get in major trouble for the employer’s failure to provide enough hours, unlike the kindergarten thing, but there might be a problem in the ARC deartment if the authorities aren’t satisfied (I think there’s a thread or two about this somewhere).


All day kindy is 25hrs~ a full load, just be careful as your evenings will be open and you’ll be asked to sub (A LOT)