If not Taidong, then where?

Ok so you have all convinced me that I need to find a job somewhere more populated than Taidong to start out with and see if I can’t work my way over there after i’ve gotten my sea legs, as it were. What cities should I be considering where the job market is better, but are similar? I do not want to live in a city with McDonald’s, expat bars, and just development everywhere. I want somewhere the people are still in touch with their roots and I can see what beautiful countryside Taiwan has to offer.

That’s pretty clear, and such places certainly exist. Very few jobs there, though. You could always go through a recruiter and stipulate no cities. However, you’ll find that those guys will invariably offer you jobs in absolute shitholes that have real problems hiring among teachers who already live in Taiwan and know perfectly well how awful such places can be – I don’t know what your country is like, but here, its the cities that get the money and the urban renewal, while the smaller towns in many rural areas tend to be filthy, with non-existent infrastructure and horrendous pollution. THIS is the reason so many people prefer the cities – has very little to do with expat bars, MacDonalds and western food.

Ah, the teaching job in Xanadu dream … It happens. 1% of the time. And if you have to google it, you can’t get it unless you really luck out. People learn English in cities, for the large part, especially with expensive foreign teachers. That’s where the money to pay you is.

Yup. The people in those idyllic areas tend to be far too busy making a living to indulge themselves in a hobby as expensive as studying English as a second language.

There is work to be had teaching aboriginal kids in very remote villages, but those jobs are usually either done by volunteers or else the teachers are recruited out of school by the government and get basically food, board and a little spending money for a stint of two or three months.

You could, as an outside bet, contact the chain schools stipulating that you only want to work outside the cities. I knew one woman who got lucky and was sent down to a school near Kending (although it sounds like Kending isn’t what you’re looking for, either. It’s got a lot of what you want, therefore there are loads of tourists and McDonalds etc). They might send you to Hualian which is close to what you want. It would be a bit of a lottery, though, but then life should be an adventure.

Good luck.

I guess I wasn’t as clear as I could have been. I’ve come to realize i’m going to have to live in a city. I’m just trying to figure out, of all the places in Taiwan where employment isn’t at a “1% chance” as someone said, what cities are most likely to be a good compromise? Where even if I am faced with development and urban sprawl every day, I can quickly and easily get somewhere undeveloped and beautiful on the weekends? Preferably near to clean ocean?


Actually, as odd as it sounds, Taipei or Jilong. You basically want to hit the east coast. Taipei is much closer to the east coast than Taoyuan, Xinzhu, Taizhong, etc. Not sure about the south for beaches, but the northern half of cities on the west coast blow. The southern cities I’ve spent even a tiny bit of time in (Tainan, Jiayi, can’t comment on Gaoxiong) are nice, but again, they’re not where the money (and jobs) is at.


Yilan is only one step up from Taidong though. It suffers all the same problems due to size, lack of local wealth, and job opportunities.

That would be Taipei. No question. Kaohsiung to a lesser extent. South of Taipei on the west coast there are a fair few nasty-ish cities with work potential, but no clean ocean. East coast has plenty clean ocean (kind of) but very few work opportunities. Kaohsiung is only a couple of hours from the Hengchun peninsula, which has some nice seaside. The northeast coast has a reasonable choice of clean(ish) beaches and rocky shorelines within an hour of Taipei.
For what you seek, it has to be Taipei.

Taipei land of pollution, competition, and western amenities. If you really need to work go with a recruiter and let them stick you in a shit hole for a year(your chinese will be a lot better). The teaching market in Taipei is competitive, there are a lot of people with years of experience looking for jobs or secondary jobs in Taipei. There are also a lot of college grads coming here because they think they can find work. If you are fine with the 9am to 7pm schedule with lots of unpaid time then by all means come here. You will most likely get stuck in a job which you hate and will be all so willing to deal with the lao ban’s demands because you don’t know where else to go. Also you will be teaching kindergarten which can get you deported. Best of Luck to you.

I can’t say that I regret coming here in one sense since in the broadest terms, it’s still been an experience, and in the most specific sense, I’ve met some fantastic people here, most notably my wife. However, I do think we need to see it, “it” especially being work (at least in EFL), for what it is. It is more often than not a real slog that monopolises Monday to Friday, and quite possibly a good chunk of Saturday, affords few benefits other than the money (which is increasingly stagnating or actually decreasing), entails putting up with a lot of crap and affords far less meaningful interaction than teaching should in order to justify all of the other tradeoffs, and yes, kindergarten is illegal and could get you deported.

Man, sounds pretty grim!

Thanks to the assembled Forumosans, you are now perhaps in the process of becoming dis-illusioned (in a Buddhist view that would be considered progress). :wink: :slight_smile:

Strider, not sure whether anecdotal stuff is of any use to you, but i like telling stories, so here goes: in the first few years of my travels, whenever i ran out of options for income in a foreign place that i had gone to, i went back home, made and saved a bit of money, and went off again (in some cases again to where i had been before, and in other cases to another country). In the process i learned that going to some place a second time is great fun, because you know your way around and hit the ground running, and i also did all sorts of work and became sufficiently good at being self-employed, so that i can now stay in places that i like, even if there are no jobs (as the saying goes).

My advice (if you want any), would be simple: If you stay flexible and move around, you’ll likely find a suitable Taidong one day. :slight_smile:

You need to take Guy in Taiwan with a grain of salt, strider. From what he writes, he is very burned out – its a very common problem after a few years, especially among the English-teaching crowd here. Taiwan is neither as bad as people like him and me make out, nor is it as wonderful as some others would have you believe.
For me, I take the good, and look at what I DO have here, and life is pretty good, for the huge majority of the time. I hugely enjoy living here most of the time, but for sure its not for everybody.
He, on the other hand, seems to be focusing a bit more on the negative aspects and for him, they’re outweighing the good parts to the extent that he’s reached the stage of “fuck this for a game of soldiers! I’m off!”
Nothing wrong with that at all, but you need to think about that when you’re reading the various posts here.

sandman: Of course, I am extremely burnt out here, but nothing I wrote was untrue in the broadest terms.

Most people will need to work kindergarten and buxiban to do more than make ends meet. That split shift does end up monopolising Monday to Friday. It is also highly likely that at least Saturday morning will be required also.

Kindergarten will indeed get someone deported if they get caught.

In terms of benefits, holidays are unpaid (as are typhoons, national holidays, etc.) and hard to come by for most English teachers. There’s health insurance, but no pension plan and little room for promotion if any at all in most organisations because they’re too small. Likewise, there’s little potential for real professional development. At best, a year or two teaching English here can be chalked up to time out in other industries, at worst, it’s a career de-railment. Even within EFL, I doubt it makes much difference outside east and south-east Asia (and even then, perhaps it’s negligible). Indeed, I’ve heard from more than one person that EFL teaching experience in Taiwan is not regarded highly in the Middle East or Europe because it’s seen as slack, easy work that just about anyone can get.

By the accounts of those who have been here much longer than I have, wages have indeed stagnated and are now going backwards.

Putting up with a lot of crap and a lack of meaningful interaction and inane teaching are a lot more subjective calls, of course, but they’re also very common calls, not just from me.

Life outside of work is generally good. I complain about many things, but they’re actually not that bad. I shrug the traffic off most of the time now even. I like the food. No, I actually love the food a lot more than most foreigners I know. I wish there were more food from outside east and south-east Asia here, and that it were cheaper, but I’m fine with the food here. I like that there are more and more bike tracks here, even in Taoyuan. I like the healthcare system. I like how safe it is. I like how it’s pretty easy (and cheap) to get to the major cities by train. I like that at a superficial level at least, people are generally incredibly friendly and accommodating.

It’s just that it’s extremely easy for work to end up taking up a huge amount of one’s life and end up being a very, very draining experience. I think a lot of people think they’re going to come over here and pick up Chinese, as well as see a whole lot of Taiwan (not to mention south-east Asia), but work simply doesn’t allow that. Also, working in the evenings at a buxiban does prevent one from joining many sporting clubs and so on that people who work the day shift participate in.

Nothing GuyInTaiwan said is extreme. I agree with pretty much everything. You have to end up working kindy or just pulling hours into the night and or on weekends to really bank. Most jobs are around 20 - 25 hours a week and will net you somewhere in the 50kish a month, if you want more you have to up the hours. I see posts on other boards from people who have been in Taiwan for 15 years and they are looking for private/tutor work. There is nothing wrong with that, but it seems that work will just end up consuming my life if I want to make and save money for the long run in Taiwan. I have found it very easy to save money in Taiwan (even some very lucrative opportunities I wouldn’t have had in Australia) but at what cost. As I get older I am seriously starting to question the use of staying in Taiwan long term. No room for advancement, no job security (I know this is true for any job) in cram schools as you can be asked simply not to resign after a year because they can get someone off the next boat who will work for less and won’t ask any questions since that are FOB and opportunities outside of cram schools in universities are difficult to come by. Yes, I am having my mid-mid-life crisis :slight_smile: I love Taiwan, I love the food, I met my wife here but I just don’t like what I see for the long term here. I know there are many people who love Taiwan, each to our own. Everyone is different and what works for someone may not work for you.


It’s just that it’s extremely easy for work to end up taking up a huge amount of one’s life and end up being a very, very draining experience.[/quote]

I think that applies to pretty much every field in every country, doesn’t it?

I’m not sure that 20-25 hours a week teaching really counts as being time consuming. I know that I work more hours (for less money) now than I ever did when I was teaching.

40 hours of teaching I think is much more physically draining than 40 hours in other jobs, not all I know. I would love to hear your feedback and other people’s feedback on this. My workmates agreed that they feel more exhausted doing 30 hours a week than they did with their desk jobs back home. Anyone else can comment?


It’s just that it’s extremely easy for work to end up taking up a huge amount of one’s life and end up being a very, very draining experience.[/quote]

I think that applies to pretty much every field in every country, doesn’t it?

I’m not sure that 20-25 hours a week teaching really counts as being time consuming. I know that I work more hours (for less money) now than I ever did when I was teaching.[/quote]