Family of 4 wanting to move to Taiwan. Need input

Actually, a lot of people make it an ideal career for themselves.

From what I’ve read so far, that is true only because many do not have dependents to support or a maximizing their profit potential. I’m just trying to ensure that finances as a teacher will suffice for my family and I ( of course taking into account my wife will eventually have to work).

I’ll put in whatever effort is necessary to make it work. Our only hurdle will be initial year or two while the kids are still young. I’m looking into the nanny that a previous poster mentioned. I just don’t think my wife would be too keen on that.

I would think carefully about this change in your life. I’m a professional with a working ability in Mandarin. My reimbursement is still less than 1/3 of what the US would offer for a similar position (Ph.D.). I remain out of love for Taiwan, not pay or future benefit. I’ve worked as an EFL teacher, a fine job. But what experience and skills do you bring to a competitive industry? Us suggest looking elsewhere. The Taiwan market for teachers without talent or experience is shrinking!

Reimbursement is relative to the location of an individual. I know I would earn significantly less if I took on an English teaching position in Taiwan. I am mainly concerned on whether it is doable and within reason, or if the cons outweigh the positives. Nothing is perfect in life, and I understand that fact.

I am aware the market is shrinking for English teachers due to the stagnant birth rate in Taiwan. However, I am also optimistic that the market will not shrivel out and die completely. Other than 14 years of work experience and the possibilty of TEFL, I will not have much teaching experience. I was a teaching assistance for the daycare at my local college, but that was eons ago. I had considered getting a Master’s or teaching credentials, but the overall cost of the two will not justify the pay. It would be significant if I taught in China or UAE, but those locations are less desirable for my family and I. I am also taking into account that teaching would be more of a stepping stone to get introduced in Taiwan, and I would have the flexibility to move into another profession once my Mandarin improves.

If you wouldn’t mind sharing other markets where teaching English is thriving, I would like to look into it and do more research. Thank you for your input.

What a terrible idea. Why don’t you move to a lower-cost part of the US instead?


Hi Larry,

Welcome to Taiwan. Just thinking outside the box a little…

1/ On visa, I see you have a degree in Environmental studies, and work as a budget analyst. Is your degree related to the government department in which you work? If so, do think you could claim 5 years of expertise as a ‘financial professional in green energy technology’? Or, do you think you could arrange a collection of documents that could sell your professional talents as being outstanding/in demand in Taiwan? Or, is your salary more than about USD 62,500 (current exchange rate for 160k TWD/mo)?

If so, you might be eligible for the Employment Gold Card four-in-one visa. It comes with an open work permit, which could simplify your immigration and job-hunting process substantially. There’s a thread on the forum and my own little blog post.

2/ An alternative to finding teaching work is to see if you can arrange a ‘remote’ job. That is, work ‘from home’ for a US (or other country) employer while being based in Taiwan. The advantages are that you can use your existing professional network in US to find such a job, it’s likely to be a higher salary than what you could get teaching, you can continue to use your professional skills and it still comes with greater flexibility for work-life balance. The disadvantages are that they’re not easy to find, and you need to pay some extra attention to tax and visa issues.

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@Larry671 , I support what you are doing. You are preparing your kids for a future where Chinese language ability by non-chinese may be on par with Spanish ability in many parts of the US.

Bullying happens everywhere, not really a culture thing.
Too me, that should be a non-factor. I have had two mixed kids in local school at kindergarten ages and all was fine. Whether or not that is by luck, or whatnot, I’ll still take what we got, which was excellent.

As for kaohsiung you picked the right city. The MRT is fine for getting around. It has an electric light rail on the streets along the harbor. It’s building some more MRT lines right now.
Food is way way cheaper than Taipei by up to 50% sometimes for normal Chinese food on the street. Has int’l airport to all major cities in Asia. I could go on forever about how much cheaper it is to live in the south versus Taipei.

For your children, you may consider half-day kindergarten in the beginning, which is possible. We tried it for one year and then put them into full day the following year.
I’m guessing it’s easier to get into local public kindergarten in KHH than in Taipei based on population down here is not so dense as Taipei and New Taipei. You’ll understand why if you read other threads here on trying to get kids into public kindergarten up in Taipei.

Any questions, just PM.

Have lived in Taiwan over 20 years, mostly in the north.
Kaohsiung has exceeded our expectations, which were not low, by a long shot.


Understanding your motivations and background more moving to Taiwan is not a terrible choice .
It’s close to Phil and Guam which is good.
My kids haven’t experienced bullying so far not to say it can’t or won’t happen sometimes.
If you can get a teacher licence that would open up working in public schools here which seems to be a better choice than buxibans and the govt should continue to support that program for a long time.
Teachers come and go so you should have a reasonable chance of getting hired especially with the right credentials.

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Hi Derpydogs,

I played with that idea for a bit, and have been to a few states with lower costs of living (Missouri, Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Nevada). The appeal is not there for me. I grew up surrounded by ocean, and do not want to lose that by moving to a landlock state. That limits the states that I would move to. Another factor is my pay would still scale to wherever in the U.S. I decided to move to. If you can provide me with a few states that you recommend, I can look further into them.

Thank you.

To teach in a public school you’ll need at least a substiture license from the US. To teach at the university level you’ll need at least a Masters. To teach in a cram school just a BA. That said, the turnover rate in many of those schools is quite high because of the way that many owners treat their employees.

I’d suggest getting some kind of credential that allows you to teach at a public school in your state. With this you’ll be able to hook up with a teaching job at a public school or private high school. Not all private high schools require a masters though. It might depend on your area of expertise. I’ve seen quite a few ads for teaching positions at these kind of schools. They tend to be somewhat more stable and the pay is decent.

Definitely make sure your wife has her US passport before you come. It’s highly unlikely that she’ll be able to get a teaching job with her Philippine passport. US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, the UK.

If you’re working full time, it’s going to be quite difficult to learn Chinese to the point where you can get a different kind of job. And, as someone else pointed out, many teaching jobs pay more than professional jobs. This is something to consider.

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Hi Larry671,

Lots of helpful posts, here are a few points for you to consider:

  • Can be hard with your kids in a local public kindy/school and not having good spoken and written Mandarin. With my son in a public daycare in Taipei, and daughter in a different public school, a lot of the communication and planning is a bit haphazard. For my son, we will get some note scrawled in a book they send home in his bag. It might be a note saying that daycare is cancelled for five days because of a gastro outbreak (that has happened twice this summer). Sometimes you find out about an excursion the day before. At my daughter’s school it is no different, one example, we found out about school finishing at 10:30 am on Friday a week in advance, because there was some Saturday morning activity organised a few months earlier. Can be hard if you are working full time and have meetings organised etc.

  • In my opinion the kids don’t get enough time running around and being physical in school here.

  • The schooling is a bit old fashioned disciplinarian for my liking. Lots of pointing going on in my daughter’s classroom. There seems to be no evolution in the pedagogy, they just seem to do the same thing “because that is how it has always been done”. Just my impression…

  • I think it will be a hit to your family’s health. The small island is polluted by decades of heavy industry with next to zero regulation and an uninformed public, so the quality of the water used to grow your veges and rear your meat is questionable. I hope you haven’t fallen for this clean green image of Taiwan they keep pedalling abroad.

Has no one mentioned the horrible driving practices here yet? OP should really investigate if he wants his family to live in a place with horrible Taiwanese driving.


Why not Florida? It’s not landlocked, cheap cost of living too. To be honest once you leave SF/NY/LA/Seattle the cost of living in the US is pretty reasonable. I’d seriously consider this before Taiwan. If you were 28 and single, different story.


yea that is good advice.

Honestly, I think it isn’t a great idea to move here. I’m an English teacher at a private school in Taiwan working 30 hours a week and I make 70 000 NTD a month. I don’t have a teaching certificate. For a guy in his early 20s with a girlfriend like me it’s more than enough to live and enjoy life in TW. For a guy with a wife and kids it’s nowhere near enough. Think it through a bit as you’re cutting your salary by more than half…

TW is no dream life either. People are fleeing in their droves to China and abroad so don’t hold your hopes out on finding a job that will pay more than 50 000 NTD a month in a buxiban. And that’s if you are fortunate. There’s tons of foreigners here so it’s first come first served for the ESL gigs.

Being close to the Phillipines is a definite boom; great island and beautiful people. You can fly there often as its very very cheap. I’d like to give you a heads up about Taiwans attitudes to South East Asians (SEA). Taiwanese are in general, extremely racist and xenophobic to SEAs. I don’t want to worry you unecessarily but it’ll make your wife getting an English teaching job here very hard.

May I ask why you don’t try China? China only recently has issued a request for Filipino English teachers.

If you don’t fancy China them why not Vietnam? There are thousands of Filipino English teachers in Vietnam and they are treated well there and valued for the English teaching ability. Both you and your wife can earn good and easy money in China and Vietnam if you choose to work there.

But I’ve never met a Filipino teacher here in Taiwan. Not one. In Japan, yes. In south Korea, yes. In China, yes. In Vietnam, yes. Taiwan? Never! It’s sad…real sad that Taiwan is so backwards thinking. As others have mentioned in the forum, SEA nationals are unfortunately viewed as only capable of manual labour work. Which is so untrue, but it takes time to change a countries attitude when it’s been built up by a deranged superiority complex that’s been in place for years and years.

Well either way, SEAs workers and families are only growing and growing in TW. 10% of 1st grade elementary school kids are from SEA parents. With the pathetically low TW birth rate and the refusal by many TW to do a basic paid job, it just opens more doors to SEA workers. They’re more than welcome. I prefer them to Taiwanese truth be told. More soul, more generosity and they bust their ass FOR their family back home. Unlike Taiwanese kids who kiss ass and lay about waiting to claim that inheritance from mommy or daddy.

My earnest recommendation is choose another country. Good luck either way!


Filipino teachers at Buxiban may be very few. There are about 50 Filipino teachers on ARCs. I guess many of them are licensed teachers at regular schools or professors. Many Filipinos who don’t need work permits are doing tutoring.

@Larry671, if your wife can get a teacher’s license before moving here, the benefit will be bigger than yours. If you think teaching just as a temporal work till you find a job of your profession, I think you should at least try to find a position of your profession before moving.

Source? Legit never met one. Pass me on any information about this if it’s true.

From statistics on NIA site.

Current latest ones are here.

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I know of one Phillipino who works here as a teacher. He has a PhD and teaches at a university. With an advanced degree it’s much easier to get these positions.

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He probably makes less than me though. I’m not a qualified teacher. Is that fair? Nope. Even though a SEA English speaker arguably knows the nuances of English far more than a white backpacker type who came to TW for a gap year.

The latter is found in buxibans, private schools and colleges with ease in TW. Only 50 SEA English teachers? With the majority of those needing PHDs? Proves my point.

Back to OP. See how difficult it’ll be for your wife to teach here? Why waste time in TW where it’s difficult? China and Vietnam are far better solutions.

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