Do I have realistic expectations?

First here are some basics about me. I am a white American male with a bachelors degree in a STEM field. I do not yet have a TEFL certification.

I have been looking into teaching in Taiwan for a while, and am a few months away from departing. I should have $4000 minimum saved for living expenses when I arrive. My goal is to move to Taipei and earn rroughly 60k a month teaching in buxibans, and to save $1000 a month. I am not a heavy drinker, my hobbies are very cheap, and I am more than fine with living in a tiny apartment, and eating local cusine.

The biggest fear I have is not getting enough paid working hours. I’m a hard worker, and am willing to teach one on one after my shifts if that’s what it takes. Is saving $1000 a month a reasonable goal, or is that a pipe dream?

How long are you planning to teach here? It’s very difficult to save much in your first year teaching. I’d say that 1k a month off this bat is unrealistic, but hopefully posters who are currently working buxiban can chip in.

We just discussed this in another thread for another person. Ive said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times…

The easy money above 65000 is through Private Elementary schools. Your degree will get you in.

You can stop here. You’re hired, sir.


Interesting. So you are saying I should teach a subject other than English? Sorry if I misunderstood you.

Haha, I only mention it because it is relevant.

Some dark days ago I worked in a buxiban. Do yourself a favor and never consider it as a full time job option if you seriously wanna make money. You’ll be broke all the time and the hours (when you’re lucky enough to get them) will kill your social life.

I quit and never looked back. Got a chance to make 75 000 Ntd a month for a respected school and get the weekends off. Far better deal. Also, why Taipei? Can save a lot more in a nicer city like Kaosiung

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At a private elementary school you will usually be teaching English, Math, Science, PE and Art all to the same group of kids.

Some private schools can assign you as a subject teacher for History, Science, Math, Geography, Computers etc

Would that require that I am a certified to teach in my home country?

No, but it helps of course.

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My impression is OP is asking on the minimum living expense in Taipei.

And, just in case OP doesnt know, one on one private tutoring is illegal.

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Well then that sounds like a much more promising venture! Is it common to land a first job at a private school by applying in person, the same way you would at buxibans? Or do they typically require more experience?

Applying in person is always best. Hiring season has started for the next school year already. By April, most schools know which of their teachers will stay on for another year and which won’t. Interviewing and hiring for replacements usually starts mid April through May.

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You’re wrong. 1 on 1 tutoring is not illegal. Getting paid for it on the side goes against the work permit regulations for foreigners here usually. Nobody is getting thrown in jail for this lol

Yeah, I’m curious if saving $1000 a month is feasible.

I maybe misunderstood. I thought OP intend to do one on one tutoring as a side business, but if that means something required by the school, its not illegal at all.

Yes, it is.
But that depends on your expenses.
Stay away from Taipei to save on rent. Go to Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taoyuan etc for cheaper living costs.

It depends on what kind of living place is acceptable. You can find somewhere under 5000NTD in Taipei city if you dont need a private bathroom.

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First 6-12 months the minimum living expenses tend to be higher. Lots of financial shocks.

Yeah, I know this is all “shake your fist and talk about the dark ages”, but back in the day, people didn’t expect to land in an apartment when they came to Taiwan to teach. They got a single room in a shared apartment or rented from a Taiwanese family, or in student shared housing around a university or something. Then you traded up with great excitement to a place where you had your own bathroom! What a day that was!

Two months’ deposit on an NT$7500 room is a lot less than two months’ deposit on an NT$25,000 apartment…if you can find one…but it depends on one’s priorities and the stage of life. I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to live in a nice place, only that doing so is probably the biggest drain on savings in year 1 (unless you drink heavily or something).