Life Direction

As we come to the end of another year, I figure it’s well past time for me to figure out my direction into the next and upcoming years. I thought I’d share my current “spot” in life, and if you have any suggestions for me, or would like to share how you discovered your direction, or perhaps you’re in the same boat as me and haven’t figured things out yet, please feel free to comment.

I hail from the Great White North, the land of hockey sticks and Celine Dion. Moved to Taiwan not long after finishing university, kind of as a gap year until I figured out what I wanted to do back home. I taught English for my first year, then decided to take a break and put my efforts into learning Mandarin, where I studied the language full-time for two years. After gaining pretty good fluency, I went back into the English teaching field as I didn’t know what I could really do for a living in Taiwan, and wasn’t quite ready to move back to Canada.

There were one or two things I thought of pursuing outside of teaching English, but up to this point (approx. year 15 in Taiwan) I’m still pretty much doing what I did when I first arrived, and feeling like it’s really time to make some changes before it’s too late. I really can’t see myself as a cram school teacher for too many more years. Just feeling more and more stuck by the month.

I’m single, no kids, and so have the freedom to go where I want. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot for savings at the moment, so can’t take a break away from my full-time teaching. I can see myself wanting to be in Taiwan for several more years, just not crazy about being in the education sector for much longer. I’ve got quite good Chinese speaking and writing fluency, and would love to be using it in my work. Oh, I also have permanent residency, so it possibly opens up a few more possibilities.

Anyways, I’m just kinda spitting this out there, not sure if some of you can identify with it or not. I wish I had accumulated other useful skills that could help me find different kinds of work, but I honestly don’t have very much besides my years as an English teacher. Moving back to Canada is scary with not having a lot of savings and no clear plan or direction in place.


I don’t have specific advice for you other than to say you’ve done well to get your APRC and to be thoughtful enough to consider your next step(s). I take it you are not hugely in debt or connected to loan schemes from gangsters? If so, that’s also a plus. :grin:

At this point in your life, yes you would do well to consider how to:

  1. upgrade your skill set; and/or
  2. start saving some coin.

I hope you can find a path forward, not one that necessarily makes you happy (that’s a separate issue) but one that can lead you to one or both of the above goals.



have you tried asking ChatGPT?

not being cheeky, being serious here.

Rob a bank looks relatively easy in Taipei, buy some apartments rent to other English teachers.
Open your own School employ the teachers that rent your apartments.
Easy peasy


Stop wishing and start doing. Chop chop. Time is running out.

Look for pathways, not obstacles. And crack on with it.
That’s my best advice.


Have you tried contacting a recruiter? They can help you figure out what kinds of jobs you might be suitable for.


Good advice from @superking
Seriously open your own Cram school.
Knock up a business plan.
When I’ve got my head on I’ll post a link on where in Taiwan to get advice and a loan.
They love fluent Chinese speaking foreigners.


With a precipitously declining number of students in Taiwan, do forumosans think this is a good plan?

It may well be. But the demographic trends staring us in the face suggest that such schools will be chasing after fewer and fewer students.



What did you study?

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The thing is, that’s on a macroeconomic level on the entire country. On a macroeconomic level in growing communities, it’s a great idea. It’s not like Taiwan is just simply losing people equally between locales. When doing any business, it’s good to get a sense of the market at a microeconomic level and get an understanding.

Schools don’t cover an entire country. They serve communities. Communities are their own markets. Even then, there are still new students that exist.


If you have a base of students, it still is, if not the cash cow it once was. All those other schools are doing it for a reason, after all. The low birth rates are baked in already (assuming we’re talking about children, and I guess really for other age groups at this point too.)


I also wonder about this. How old are you? Get a Master’s in something and find a related job.

Teaching English is a lot cruisier gig than working for many local companies, but if you have an area that you want to get into that’s always something to consider, especially as you have fluent Chinese.

You need to describe more around your interests and hobbies. Your educational background.

The Masters advice is good since its possible to do cheap or even free masters here BUT you really would need to connect it with a strong work direction. Usually decent prospects in coding, search engine optimisation, technical writing, digital marketing, that kind of stuff, which doesn’t anchor you in Taiwan completely.

Open your own small but specialized cram school could also work.


With regards to the cram school advice, the guys I know who succeeded at that started with private tutoring at home. Just starting one from scratch is challenging.

EDIT: If you’re not crazy about staying in the education sector definitely don’t do it.


Thanks for the suggestions, and yeah I’m debt free and all that, not getting chased down by anyone that I know of…
And yes, saving money is definitely important for me now. At the moment I’ve accepted I’ll be in the English teaching field for at least another year or two, I suppose upgrading my skills or trying to specialize in one area of English education could bring me higher pay and perhaps more satisfaction. Just yeah, finding work to do outside of English teaching while getting reasonable pay is pretty tough here in Taiwan, fluency in the language is definitely not enough.

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I’ve never actually heard of it. Just did a little bit of research, guess it doesn’t hurt to try. Thanks for the suggestion :slight_smile:

Haha yeah, that was a long-running dialogue I had with a friend a year or two ago, we’d often discuss our plans for robbing a bank, how we’d escape, also study up on how to escape from prisons :laughing:. Unfortunately these talks have yet to be put into action, perhaps best to stay that way haha.


I majored in Kinesiology, originally planned to become a high school teacher back home. Didn’t finish the education degree though, felt I didn’t have enough passion to work in the field for the next 20-some years. But here I am, teaching in Taiwan for over 10 years now. Perhaps I have to accept my fate :wink:

Well. You could go back into kinesiology, maybe work with sports here. They love that kinda thing. Though that is certainly one I have less experience with and probably unable to be as helpful as I’d like.

You could study and get a new major. Go for a masters maybe.


Your life is what you make of it.

I’m a marketing manager. I came to Taiwan right after graduating. I studied Chinese, had my highs and lows. Part time taught. I majored in Economics.


I studied Kinesiology, and am in my early 40’s now. I have the degree, but any knowledge from those university classes I think has pretty much been lost, having been over 20 years and never finding work in a related field. I’ve given some thought to perhaps getting certification as a personal trainer, but I think the pay that I could possibly make, as well as my aversion to having to strongly market myself, shies me away from jumping into the industry.