Fulbright program

Cuz somewhere up thread I brought up that Fulbright ETAs are part of the reason pay will forever remain at poverty wages for all foreign teachers, since they’re willing to work long hours for NT$40,000/ month and no other benefits. And Fulbright is a captive audience because the ETAs don’t know how little they’ll be paid or how very much they’ll be exploited until after they’ve signed a contract that requires them to pay back all money spent on travel, training, and salary if they quit.

Ok, I am willing to accept that. The ETAs I have met have all come off as “old money” to me and most of them spent all their time complaining about everything about Taiwan and had nothing good to say about this country. Every time I’ve met ETAs, it’s taken me about two minutes worth of conversation to wonder why they came to this country in the first place. The 40 or so ETAs I have met over the years might be a bad sample size; I don’t know how many people are in the program or have filtered through over the years.

From what I’ve heard of complaints over the past 5 years of interacting with ETAs, I’m actually kind of surprised the ETAs haven’t taken to the press or even law enforcement and forced Fulbright to follow their own rules. It’s not fair to the ETAs to be paid slave wages to do more work than the local teachers, who are often paid overtime to help you (while doing nothing but taking a bigger pay check). It’s also not fair to the students, who deserve teachers who have been trained to teach, and not college grads who come in and teach the kids how to color or play SuperSimple Songs for 40 minutes. And, why I have such beef with Fulbright, it’s unfair to the other foreign teachers, who have put in the time and money to become qualified teachers, only to be passed over for unqualified ETAs because you’re willing to work for zero pay.


more accurately, poverty wages in original countries of many foreign teachers. Obviously, it is not a poverty wage in Taiwan for most of foreign teachers as well as local people.

I don’t think NT$40,000/ month is such bad for a year of experience in Taiwan for non licenced young people.

They are college grads who are supposed to equip skills to collect and analyse relevant information to make their proper judgement, and decide to sign the contract by their own will.

I agree there should be a licenced teacher as is supposed, though the 40min may be supposed to be a time to experience native English and English speakers. I’m not sure if it is so unfair to the students.

in general, volunteering is not illegal on a student visa.

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That is disappointing but they could get their certification then reapply.

Partly true. But this seems like a temporary thing. The MOE is actually enforcing the rules which I see as a good thing. Hopefully it raise the standards of the schools along with the pay and attract more qualifed teachers with experience.

I don’t think it would be good to ignore the teachers who refused to get certification because they were good at their job

NT$40,000 / month when rent in a safe, clean, reasonably sized to raise a family home (outside of Taipei) is going to be at least NT$20,000, is too low. I know its the “average income” here, but it’s ignoring bonuses and the benefits that Taiwanese get that foreigners are excluded from. If you’re teaching 22 classes a week, required to be at a school for 40, and volunteering (doing unpaid would be paid work) for another 2-4, you’re already pushing minimum wage in any developed country.

This goes back to they’re teaching in public schools. NT$40,000 / month is fine to a college grad with no student loans and no concerns about finances when they return to the US. Hence my slightly uncalled for comment about rich kids doing Fulbright. I know you can defer student loans while on Fulbright, but there’s a good chance you’ve got a nice chunk of interest building up while you’re not paying, which means anyone concerned about their finances isn’t going to take the job (sorry, “exchange opportunity”) at Fulbright. You can survive off that much, especially when you’re sharing a crap apartment and your rent is probably NT$3,000/ month, but you’re not saving much money when you have to cover all your living expenses or else you’re not doing much traveling/ actually seeing the place you’ve come to experience. Hence my whole “schools can find people who are willing to work for little pay” comment, which I think got moved to a different thread. If Taiwanese schools and the education bureau only cares about having white faces (fact. we all know this is their main goal or else they’dve long ago accepted Indian and Filipino English teachers), then they can save all the time and hassle by having Fulbright ETAs in their schools at $NT40,000/ month for only the time they’re teaching here and leave Fulbright to figure out all the living stuff for whatever “value added charge” they want to charge ETAs for, vs. FETs at (min.) NT$62,450 / month paid for mid Aug - July, plus airfare NT$80,000 x2, plus housing stipend at NT5,000-10,000/month, plus annual month pay bonus, health care, and labor insurance. It’s more than twice as much to hire an FET than an ETA, yet FETs will demand the contract is followed to call their friends at MOE to make sure the contract is followed.

From my conversations with ETAs, it sounds like the contract they signed and what they’re doing are two very different things. I also sense this odd loyalty where they are unwilling to speak up about the fact that they’re not doing what they signed in the contract. Like, by bringing up the mass of labor violations/ totally ignoring of the contract, they’re going to screw over their entire future or something. I only care because it screws over the rest of us when they do that because it lets the schools think they can walk all over all of us and just don’t offer jobs to anyone but the willing-to-work-for-zero-pay ETAs.

The country government where I’m at says that the point is a “teaching exchange”, wherein the local teacher and the ETA exchange their ideas and teaching strategies, so both can end the year with new ideas. If you’re coming in with a background in art history, pre-med, or international affairs, you’re hardly coming in with EFL teaching strategies that can be exchanged, especially if you’re an American who has had little exposure to a world language classroom.

Even a crap cram school would, ideally, have more training in EFL teaching than Fulbright gives. Add to this the number of ETAs who are tossed into a school that doesn’t have an official English teacher in the first place. When I first started teaching world language in the US, I had a whole team of world language teachers to guide me through the process of things that work and bluntly inform me of what doesn’t. I figured out how to teach quite quickly, because I was being held to high standards and being supported the whole way. That was on top of my teaching classes that I had to take and classroom observation hours to get a teaching license. Being dumped in the classroom and expected to “figure it out” is fine in a cram school where the boss will either figure out how to train their foreign teacher to the satisfaction of the parents or lose money and fire them. What is a public school supposed to do when they’ve signed a contract with a program that doesn’t really care what the foreign teacher is doing or how much they know about teaching or their application of it?

Perhaps more to the point: it doesn’t matter what works best for the students or what they want/need, it’s not what Fulbright applied to the government for the ETAs to do and it’s not what the ETAs applied to come to Taiwan to do. If they want to do something other than what they program claims to do, they should file the appropriate paperwork and wait for their application to be declined like everyone else, and the contract that the ETAs signed should reflect that.

[quote=“nz, post:2, topic:189263”]

I don’t know where to find this information. It used to be easy to find and 15 minutes of searching has turned up nothing. I remember seeing something about volunteering while on a student visa not being allowed, but, as I can’t find evidence either way, I’ll pretend it is allowed.

here it is.

how many Fulbright ETAs come with a family? If they think they can come with dependants on the $40000/month, it is just a poor judgement.

does Fulbright do something with white faces? I have thought it is just US citizenship, and nothing on races. I also think there are Filipino FETs.

Yeah but what about high school summer camps, English teaching centers, university lectures, and hospitals?

My guess is not many, but why should pay be based on whether you have a family to look after or not?

Fulbright is for US citizens, but it doesn’t stop schools from complaining that they didn’t get “real” foreign teachers when anything but a white person shows at their school, just as they do when their FETs are anything but white people.

I don’t know why you ask this question. Applicants should judge if the pay is enough for their needs or not by themselves.

Yeah but when you apply to Fulbright, believing it’s like the greatest and most prestigiously greatest award evah, they don’t tell you that you’ll only be paid NT$40,000/month. You have to accept the award before they’re like “and we’ll pay you half of what we know you should be paid for what you’re expected to do, but we’ll also brain wash you into believing it’s a really good good salary for what you’re doing. And everyone drinks it up. Until they find out how much they could be making even in the worst cram schools. Then they just become resentful and but at the same time try to justify it

How many people on a Fulbright student grant go to Taiwan? Looks like a few dozen at the most to me. Is this enough to significantly skew the teaching market for FETs?

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Can we split the Fulbright stuff from this thread about Kangchiao please?

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The new thread should be titled “Statistically insignificant groups of people who have no impact on teaching salaries”. It could include religious groups, voluntary workers, people doing alternative military service etc.

The number seems to double each year. This year I hear there’s like 120 or something. Maybe @lostintaipei20 can give a confirmation of that number.
If the county governments aren’t helping public schools find FETs and instead giving them Fulbrighters, it’s pretty much totally effing up the FET market. I’ve had two elementary school principals who currently have ETAs ask me about helping them find an FET. They both said if they can’t find one on their own, the government will give them an ETA instead. But the county governemnt is supposed to supply a number to MOE for how many FETs they want. The county government hasn’t done that since Fulbright came in. You wanna teach in my county, you need to have some serious contacts in the schools to get a job cuz no one’s out looking, even though the job would be there.

It was split but then someone replied to me about it on here and the conversation landed back here.

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I think they are telling you, at least on monthly stipend.


Award Benefits:
i) Total Monthly Payment : NT$40,000 - NT$50,000

  • Base Stipend: NT$18,000 – NT$22,000
  • Living Allowance: NT$15,000
  • Partial Housing Allowance: NT$4,000 – NT$10,000
  • Incidental Allowance: NT$3,000
    ii) Settling-in & Baggage Allowance (A one-time-only allowance): NT$26,000
    iii) Round-trip Air Ticket
    iv) National Health Insurance
    v) One month free housing (August, 2020)

I stand corrected. No idea why anyone would take that.

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Btw, they say

Individuals with the following conditions cannot be placed in Taiwanese classrooms:
-HIV/AIDS infection, AIDS

Iirc and this info is up-to-date, this requirement is illegal in Taiwan. Is it ok in US?

This needs its own thread methinks.

Funny, I obviously have no idea how to use flags, apparently. :wink:

Yes that’s about right. I think there is around 140 ETAs around Taiwan this year. They have opened up a new location the past two years (Changhua and Yunlin) so the number of accepted applicants is on an increasing trajectory.

Why would people do these Jobs on such low pay in bumfuckville for a year ? Yeah, let’s go to Yunlin for a year and what…?

Fulbright ETAs don’t come to Taiwan with dependents (not allowed) so $40,000 (50,000 in Taipei) is pretty reasonable to us. Flights, luggage fees, and travel fees for conferences and training are covered. So we only have to pay for rent and daily living expenses. I found that most ETAs save money. We live in 3 bedroom apartments that we share. Most of us are in rural areas (my rent was 5,500 a month) and we still have plenty of money to travel on breaks. I don’t think it’s bad for a recent graduate. Of course, if it’s your salary for a family or a job you plan to have for years, it’s not great. It’s also more than most local teachers.

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