If you’re only going to be here a year I would recommend Mainland China. In China they gave me a free apartment and airfare reimbursement. You won’t get either here. Oh, and by the way, if you are only here for one year and come in the summer… You’ll pay 18% taxes all the way through… and it won’t get refunded if you leave the following summer! All this will take a huge bite out of that higher hourly wage. It’s been 7 years since I’ve worked in China but I’m sure the taxes are more reasonable there.
You’ll be lucky to break even, especially working for Hess since their hourly pay is the lowest… If you do work for Hess, you will also be doing a LOT of UNPAID hours! I know this because this is exactly what I am dealing with now! One other thing about Hess, they will place you where they want and it is not negotiable. Also, they are in the habit of not telling you where you will be placed until you get here! [/quote]
That’s a bit different from the people I’ve talked to who work at Hess. I’m sure you are being truthful, but your experience is your experience and others have been different. I don’t know a thing about Hess beyond what I’ve heard from people who work there currently. The thing about working “A LOT OF UNPAID HOURS”; would you mind explaining that further? As in, how many hours specifically that you work beyond teaching hours each day you go in and are they at the school or at home? If they are at the school, is that mandated or could you do the work at home? What specifically are you referring to? Grading assignments, lesson planning, meetings or office work? Would someone else mind chiming in about unpaid working hours if that is the case? What about not knowing where you will be placed until after you arrive? Anyone else had that happen? I just want more information and not just one anecdotal description before I cancel my plans to apply there.
Even with the higher tax rate (assuming I arrive after July 1st), I find it hard to believe that you would barely break even in a year unless you go out drinking your face off 4-5 nights a week and rent a baller apartment by yourself. I guess everyone has their own spending habits though. I’ve learned to be as frugal as I’ve ever been in my life living in Honduras and I’m sure that will help me adjust albeit in a much larger and more expensive city.[/quote]
If you take a contract with Hess and get any Young Scholar’s classes, prepare to do everything the above poster mentioned plus make up classes (unpaid), test and quiz grading, essay corrections, progress reports every three weeks, formal progress reports every six weeks which include calculated homework averages (on a calculator) and last but not least… a performance play, written and directed by you. All unpaid. Oh, also! You will have to stay after work and do telephone tests twice a semester. That is no exaggeration.
I’m not going to sit here and make an inventory of all the tasks I do in a day, but I will say that I work about 24 hours a week. Ten of those hours are in Young Scholars’ classes and basically I am doing 40-45 hours a week of total work. Increase that to 50 near the end of the semester when everyone is stressing over performances.
If you just get Kindy, you will still have to do the performance but the paperwork should be significantly less. If you get that, you will likely be doing split shifts. Working mornings and nights.
One other thing about Hess; you will likely be working six days a week. I lucked out and am only working five a week, but six is the NORM, as they will tell you in training.
As far as location goes, I came here last summer and they had me fill out one of three places I wanted to work in. I said Taoyuan, Taizhong and some other place. I forgot the third. They put me in Taoyuan COUNTY, about 30 minutes from Taoyuan city. I work 1 hour from Taoyuan City. If they tell you what they told me, that you will have to “be flexible,” this is your fair warning.
As far as breaking even, just be sure to budget and also factor in the flight arrangements, which will not be reimbursed. Budget so that you can save some money even working minimum hours. I’ve been working here for nine months and I’ve saved enough to have 5 months in living expenses plus enough to buy a real TESOL course, but most of my coworkers complain of being broke. Maybe you’re more like me.
If you intend to save some money in your first year, you can do it, but you have to be disciplined. People who treat this as an “off year” wind up living hand to mouth where I work. If you want your own place, I would budget about NT25,000 per month. I spend 20,000 per month but I don’t live in Taipei. My after tax income is about 50,000 so I save 30,000 NT per month.
Oh, one other thing! You WILL be living on lean times during Chinese New Year, an unpaid six-week holiday. Prepare for that. Kindy and Young Scholars are both closed for that time and only Language School classes are in operation. Most of us were only working 12-14 hours per weeks and there is one whole week of no class, which is unpaid. Basically, half a paycheck for 2 months. Lean times.