Finding a job back home

My fears exactly. I love Taiwan but what is the future in Taiwan?

How did you get a job in the UK after having spent a decade in Taiwan?

[quote=“steelersman”]
How did you get a job in the UK after having spent a decade in Taiwan?[/quote]

Well, I got a teaching job in an FE college when I got back doing a few hours and a few hours at a private Chinese-owned language school connected with an agency that gets students onto higher ed courses in the UK. Earned enough cash to keep me going, taught almost exclusively exam prep because that’s my most saleable skill in the UK. Although I’m not the most amazing classroom teacher in the world, I’m reliable, versatile and I know what I’m talking about. I can walk into a CAE class to substitute with 20 mins’ notice and do a ‘Use of English’ lesson without fucking up the grammar, or a loooow-level IELTS class without stamping all over their hopes and dreams and making them cry.

Got a bit bored of teaching, though, so started to look around at what I might like to do instead. Couldn’t think of much, to be honest.

A job came up at a publisher, dealing with English exam materials and I got that because of my teaching experience and because I did well at the interviews (with four different people along with two tests and critiquing a pile of manuscript stuff; marathon process).

I haven’t completely left my old field, I have diversified. To do that, you have to think about your CV and make sure you have a rounded career profile. If I’d only taught children in Taiwan, I wouldn’t have gotten even the teaching jobs, let alone the publishing thing. I’ve also written bits and pieces, and (sort of) kept up to date with ELT IT and themes in methodology, etc. My advice would be to make sure you learn as much as you can about whatever and regularly update your CV to try to reframe yourself in terms of your transferable skills. Look at ads for jobs or descriptions of jobs you’d like to do and ask yourself honestly; ‘Can I do that?’ or ‘Would I pay me to do that? Why?/Why not?’

Just pick something and try to do your best. EFL got on my nerves majorly a lot of the time but I would never just give up with the hard stuff and go back to chain schools, flashcards and singsongs, no matter how tempting it was.

Speaking Chinese is a good ‘marker’ of something or other, as well. Even though it is not used at all in my job, all the interviewers picked up on it as a sign of application/diligence/intelligence (of course, we on flob know this to not be true, but them ‘out there’ )

Anyway, I hope the above post doesn’t come over as a guide to ‘How to be successful’ because a lot of luck was involved for me, as well as a lot of work to be where I am. And it’s not like I have ‘arrived’ in some amazing career; I’m just a minion in a publishing house… I’m very happy, though, and I was never really happy with my working life in Taiwan.

Well, I could have a job in Arkansas by snapping my fingers, but who the hell wants a job in Arkansas?

Well, I am not working in the town I was born in either. I moved for work. Quentin, make a decision and act on it; you are living in your default position and aren’t making any choices for yourself. Arkansas is shit, Taiwan is shit? Go to Brazil.

Buttercup, thanks for the information.

I think I will be putting my money in Chinese. I have been studying Mandarin since the second day after I arrived. I am planning to take the foreign service test.

You idea about Brazil is great. Maybe in ten years I can become a translator and work online translating Chinese to English. Then I can live in Brazil or South America.

Maybe it is a crazy idea but I am thinking about studying for a B.A. in Taiwan. Mainly to achieve a high level of Mandarin. I think that would set me apart in the translation field.

Anyways, for me it will be the foreign service, translating, or teaching Chinese in the United States.

[quote=“steelersman”]Buttercup, thanks for the information.

I think I will be putting my money in Chinese. I have been studying Mandarin since the second day after I arrived. I am planning to take the foreign service test.

You idea about Brazil is great. Maybe in ten years I can become a translator and work online translating Chinese to English. Then I can live in Brazil or South America.

Maybe it is a crazy idea but I am thinking about studying for a B.A. in Taiwan. Mainly to achieve a high level of Mandarin. I think that would set me apart in the translation field.

Anyways, for me it will be the foreign service, translating, or teaching Chinese in the United States.[/quote]

The US State Dept. doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what your Chinese fluency is. If the cut-off on the oral exams are, say, 6.4, they’ll take someone with a 6.5 on the orals and no Chinese ability and then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring that person up to minimal fluency and understanding of Chinese culture rather than someone who has lived there for decades, has a very nuanced understanding of the cultural norms, is near-native level fluent, but scored a 6.1 on the orals. If you want to get into the foreign service, the only thing you should care about is passing the oral interviews.

Not to say that fluency in Chinese can’t be an asset. I’m sure it would be if combined with, say, a law degree or significant business experience.

Chinese… If you are fluent, maybe. By which I mean that you can compete on better terms than all the x-born Chinese in your country. Not impossible, but certainly not a short or mid-term goal. Language is of course, great, but it’s no use if you can’t do anything else. ‘I can speak Chinese and English!’ hardly puts you into a niche, so think about everything else as well. Learn to teach, if that’s what you’re into; it’s a far more saleable skill in the short to mid term; learn to teach what you couls teach in your home country.

What is couls?

Maybe, but I think that the Chinese skills of many overseas born Chinese are overrated. I am not sure that their Chinese is of much use beyond daily conversation. Do they know law terms, business terms etc in Chinese? I would have to say that there are some non-Chinese in China with better Chinese.

I’ll give you a clue; the "“s” key is next to the “d” key on any standard keyboard.

Mmm, you may need a second clue; Buttercup has huge hands, they’re practically baseball mitts.

A typo … You got a few yerself, mister. See below.

[quote=“steelersman”]
Maybe but I think that the Chinese skills of many overborn Chinese are overrated. I am not sure that their Chinese is of much use beyond daily conversation. Do know know law terms, business terms etc in Chinese? I would have to say that there are some non-Chinese in China with better Chinese.[/quote]

My point. That will still take you a long time. It’s a great goal, but won’t earn you money for a long time. It would still take you longer than them to learn law terms, business terms, etc.

Eh? Has Loretta been talking shit again? Of course I mean, ‘specifically about the size of my hands’, obviously shit will have been recently been talked by Loretta.

Well that is part of my point. At least I can fall back on teaching Mandarin in the US if I cannot find anything else to do. The US is currently trying to get Chinese taught in more schools.

I don’t get your logic. Are you trying to make a judgment on my Mandarin level without ever having heard me speak Mandarin?

No, but you aren’t a native speaker, are you? Not attacking you at all, I wrote a post which took quite a while, in order to answer your question.

Native speakers always have an advantage. You just have to figure out ways to circumvent that advantage. Take my work, for an example. Could a non-native speaker become a better teacher than me, in terms of classroom management? Without a doubt. Will that teacher ever be a better English speaker/writer than me? Highly, highly unlikely. The teacher should of course work on her English, but if she’s going into an interview in competition with me, then she’d better come up with something better to sell than ‘great English for a second language speaker’.

steelersman, excuse me if I have misunderstood your words.

Well that is part of my point. At least I can fall back on teaching Mandarin in the US if I cannot find anything else to do. The US is currently trying to get Chinese taught in more schools.[/quote]
Loads of people, including plenty of native speakers, have that idea at the moment.

I’m not sure when you started learning Chinese, but it seems to take around ten years of fairly diligent study for most people to get a to a reasonable level. You mentioned the Foreign Service. Did you know that their intensive Mandarin training program takes around three times as long as the equivalent Spanish training program?

Not to say that for a non-native speaker to have a career teaching Chinese is impossible. But I don’t think it counts as a “fall-back” option.

By the way, this isn’t me trying to score points or being snarky. Like Buttercup, I’m trying to help. It’s good to have exciting ideas, but also good to know how things are on the ground, so you can determine what’s reasonably achievable and not waste too much time chasing after dreams.

I recommend you check out this [url=http://tw.forumosa.com/t/10-reasons-i-am-finally-leaving-taiwan/37783/39 Post[/url] from DSN (scroll down the page until you see his post). Like you, he started out teaching English in Taiwan. We went on to earn his BA in Chinese and Economics from a Taiwanese university. He now works in New Zealand as an economist.

Translating is an excellent profession, particularly since you could eventually do it all from home. Rousseau does just that, and there are many other translators on this forum as well. However, I recommend at least double majoring in Chinese and a more practical field, such as economics, engineering, science, business, or law. I’m not knocking the liberal arts, but most of your translation work is likely to be in those fields. You also leave the door open to enter into a different field than translation.

Alternatively, you could look into getting your MBA in Taiwan. I believe that Icon did just that. If you’re open to relocating to your home country for a bit, you could always return home to continue your schooling there in a subject that could lead you back to Asia, if that’s your passion. Business or law school seem like good choices. Best of luck to you.

Learning Chinese on it’s own is not likely to get you a great career or job, especially in your home country. You should pick up a double major like the other poster said if you want to study here, or do an MBA for what their worth, at least they are cheap and you might get a scholarship. Since you seem interested in translation/teaching it’s a good idea to study here, otherwise I would say go back to your home country if you could afford it. Tourism is going to be huge in relations to Chinese tourists and also the education market is getting bigger and bigger. As for the US foreign service I wasn’t aware that you needed language skills first before applying and they train you if you are accepted

A guy I knew from here that used to teach English just told me he went back and ran for a seat in his state’s House of Representatives and won… So maybe teaching English is not that bad of an option afterall!

The only problem with studying business in Taipei is that you mainly read English books and if you are lazy you can write your test in English at Taida.

How old do you think is too old to get a B.A. in Taiwan? I already have a B.A. from the United States.