Not a native but with an Aussie passport. How hard will it be to find a job?

Hi there,

I am planning to move to Taipei in the coming month.
I am French/Australian. Over the past 12 months I have been visiting Taiwan 3 times and really liked it.
My future girlfriend (who’s currently studying to become a teacher) told me that I’d be “a fraud” if I ever end up teaching English with my strong French accent and occasional grammar and spelling mistakes.
I have read on the forum and elsewhere that the most important thing to teach English legally in Taiwan is the citizenship.
I have been living in English speaking countries for 10 years (Australia and Ireland), I have the French equivalent to an Associate degree (not a bachelor degree) and 12 years working experience as a web developer (no teaching experience).

I was wondering if first of all I’d have a chance to secure a teaching job. I’d also like to know if any of you have a similar profile or met people teaching legally with profiles like mine.

My other option is to start a business, but that’s something I’d only consider after spending a fair bit of time in Taipei. I don’t want to get bogged down with a business if after a few months I start to miss sunny Australia or decide to go back to Europe.
I have fair bit of money saved up, so I wont be in a rush to accept any job at any cost …

I am just looking for some honest feedback based on the current situation in Taiwan and particularly Taipei.



Your third option is to find a job in web developing.

Your problem in teaching is that A: most people have good enough English to distinguish a non-native accent. I heard a story a few days ago about a parent who asked a New Zealand teacher to trade classes with someone else because his son “wasn’t learning an American accent;” the situation could be worse with a French accent.

B: Many schools require bachelor degrees, even though the law does not. That will make things harder.

C: Your experience is in web developing, which means you’re eligible to do this in Taiwan. That seems the path of least resistance.

Students dont ‘learn’ their teachers’ accents anyway. You’d be fine. However, Taiwanese people are prejudiced about this and were often at student services complaining that they had a non-native speaking teacher at the uni I worked at in the UK. It’s illogical and dumb but they’re paying, at the end of the day.

Although the passport is the important thing, not your English ability, I wonder if you’d come unstuck because your French university wouldn’t be on ‘the list’ of universities for English teacher qualifications?

Thanks for the 2 honest replies.

I have many reasons to not think web development would be a good idea in Taiwan or anywhere in Asia.

  1. Unless working for a foreign company, knowledge of Chinese would I believe be mandatory (especially written).
  2. Any kind of programming work is getting more and more outsourced to developing countries (Philippines, India etc…). As a result pay in western countries has stagnated and sometimes gone down.
  3. I’ve read that pay in this sector will be really low in Taiwan (compared for example to teaching jobs) and the working condition can be miserable compared to doing the same job in a western country.

That said, this may have its advantage. I might try to start a business on the web if I see an opportunity (like a successful concept in the west that hasn’t been yet replicated for the local market) and take advantage of a cheaper workforce.

On the second post, I had no idea that the place where the education was acquired had to be on a list. Is there such a thing or is it an assumption on how visa are granted or declined?

At the end of the day, my plan is to move to Taipei for a few months. If I don’t succeed on a professional level at least I would have tried. And it wouldn’t be a waste of time, I would have learned some Mandarin and a new culture.

You also need basic EFL teaching certification if you have an associates degree.

Not sure. They have a list of places primarily for checking whether your degree is from a legit school or an online diploma mill. What I mean is, this list may also be from the ‘passport countries’ for English teaching. Just a thought.

[quote=“Christophe”]Thanks for the 2 honest replies.

I have many reasons to not think web development would be a good idea in Taiwan or anywhere in Asia.

  1. Unless working for a foreign company, knowledge of Chinese would I believe be mandatory (especially written).
    -----------------> I think there are people on the forum having done that without Chinese in a local company. Well, I am one. However I finally sold myself as a double package with my wife in unison, as this makes us a hardware (she)+software(me) geek fluent in Mandarin, Taiwanese, German and pretty much in English. When I worked alone in local companies I was easily side-lined by a local guy who somehow managed to take credit for the stuff I did or had better social connections to the boss.

-----------------> Yeah, I am hearing this for a long time now. Outsourcing to India or China, no local programmers needed. If it were true there would not be source code running in my compiler right now but some guy in China would do it.

------------------> Where I work is a large hardware maker. They can pay 80.000 NT per month for a good programmer, but good programmers often want 80.000+, foreigners rather 100.000+ so we never hire one and I am doing most of the work by myself. So if 80.000 is low then you are right. If not, then you are wrong.
You would have long hours, 10 per day in normal, and the occasional Sat and even sometimes a Sun as well if needed.

Oh PS, as a French-Australian, this may be important to you: Employers are not required to give you any vacation days during your first year. Your second year, you get 7 days, but they tend to complain if you try to take them all off in a row.