Opportunities for non-native English speakers

Hi there!

I’m a fellow with some grasp of the English language, looking to teach in Taiwan. Yes, this isn’t as good as if I were to be from the states or the UK, but should be just fine if the market demand is there.

So, what are the options for someone like myself? I should add that I have a BSc in Computer-Science and of pinkish/white/transparent-when-the-sun-is-strong-enough complexion. A URL would be great as well.

Thanks in advance,

Depends on whether you want a job or legal status here.

Jobs are plentiful. Just knock on the door of almost any kindergarten, and you’ll have little problem, especially with your oh-so-acceptable complexion. :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve even been on interviews to kinders with non-native-speaking friends of reasonably light complexion and the non-nativeness was not even an issue.

It’s possible you might have more luck in a smaller place – law of supply and demand, etc. However, since to my understanding ALL kinder work is illegal, I guess you’re pretty much on a level playing field with anyone else.

To get a work visa, however, you are required by law to hold a passport from an “English-speaking country”. In a similar vein, I was once offered a job teaching Spanish, but could not accept it (that is, could not qualify for a work permit for that job) as I could not produce a passport from a “Spanish-speaking country”.

How disappointing :frowning: Is there no work around?
I definitely would not want to work illegally.

Thanks for the prompt reply ironlady…


You don’t say which country you are from.

You can always tell a prospective employer you grew up in the States, or your mom was from the States, etc. I’ve known people from Iceland here who tell students they “grew up in Boston”.

I would also recommend this strategy for people from South Africa or Namibia or other English-speaking nations who want to work at places which insist on “North American accents.” If you feel guilty for telling stories, take heart in the fact most agents and English school owners are filthy, lying bastards. (With the exception of Kaiwan Lee – incredible, after reading your posts, I can’t believe there’s actually a buxiban owner whose head and heart seem to be in the right place). In fact, if you look at the “Being Gay in the Classroom” thread, lots of teachers have to tell stories, ranging from their sexuality to why they don’t have children.

Ironlady – your story is more proof of how fcuked up the system is here. Millions of people speak Spanish in the US (I assume you are from there) and can hold their own against any “Spanish-speaking” nation.

-Most foreigners end up teaching English.
-Some foreigners get some marketing jobs, which can pay quite well -at least if you can speak a few languages.
-You could also have a look at 104.com.tw
1111.com.tw if you speak some Chinese.
There are plenty of job-sites.
-Many foreigners are also legal translators.

I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg? Do unto others…


Sorry for the belated reply.


I’m an Israeli with a European Passport. Does that change anything?

The replies here, and on other sites are so confusing. Some say hat “If the school wants to hire you, then you will get a working Visa. Regardless of your passport.” Others claim that you HAVE to own a Passport by the USA, Aus etc.


Do they “end up” doing it legally? How long you reckon it takes to find something?

Thanks again for any help.

I think if you’ve got a European passport and you play the game right and they really want to hire you, your chances of getting a work permit are pretty high. But, with your science background, wouldn’t you rather work at one of Taiwan’s many hi-tech firms?

No. Wrong. Your chances are zero. You NEED a passport form the US, Canada, NZ, Aus, SA or the UK to get a work permitt o teach English. Anyone who says anything else doesn’t know what they’re talking about.


Wow, these two replies sure cleared things up. :?

There are many writing jobs for high-tech companies. They will hire you and give you a work permit if you are a foreigner and use some big words in your resume and autobiography.

Well, you know, Sir Donald and I are always here to help.

Jokes aside, Sir Donald is very correct. However, my point was that things are a little, um, flexible in Taiwan. Certainly there are German and French teachers here who got their permits to teach French or German, but are doing some English teaching on the side. I’ve also heard, only heard mind you, of Canadian and South African teachers with phony diplomas, which of course is a very naughty thing, and I would never recommend.

If you find that there’s not that big of a market for Hebrew teachers (the law, I believe, says you can only teach what your country’s official language is–which is ludricous, of course, since the US doesn’t have an official language, but don’t get me started), or whatever your native language is, you can always try one of the hi-tech companies and take privates on the side.

Not only is it naughty, it’s incredibly stupid. When your employer applies for your work permit, she has to verify your degree and provide proof of this to the MOE. Fake degrees could get you in a lot of trouble. Yes, you could get a work permit for another job and teach English on the side, but it would be difficult and still illegal.