(I posted this in the wrong board – perhaps “Living in Taiwan” would be a better place.)
Teaching English in Taiwan puts us in a place where we can save money while having enough time to prepare ourselves to do something better. This opportunity is rare in the United States, the only other country in which I have substantial experience, and makes up for the ambiguity that surrounds Asian ESL education in professional spheres back home. The following is a revision of my plans regarding my time in Taiwan and how these plans will connect to my transition to the United States. I would appreciate constructive comments, especially from those who have done something similar to what I plan to do.
I am 25 years old and have taught English in Taiwan for a year. I graduated from the University of Washington with honors. Although working as an ESL instructor is not considered transferable work experience in the United States, I have, over several years, some of which were in the U.S., acquired a great deal of Mandarin. This alone is not a great asset, but when combined with my educational background and plans for the future, it becomes an invaluable skill.
I intend to teach English in Taiwan for two more years. I have three general goals I would like to complete during this time.
Pass the advanced-level Chinese proficiency test (TOP - 高等華語文能力測驗 ).
+ I have had great success thus far in my Chinese studies, and I have already begun
preparing for this test. Due to my passion for language learning, passing this test
should not be a problem after two more years.
Save $10,000 U.S.
+ Self explanatory – just don’t spend. This last year I spent a lot and took a trip home
bringing my savings down to 2500 U.S. However, these next two years will be cheaper.
Prepare for the GRE.
+ I have a lot to do in this regard, but it is all manageable.
Brush up on some math.
+ This will be the hardest goal to complete, but with time, focus and all the tools the
internet has made available, I don’t see how I can’t succeed.
At the completion of these goals and two years time, I intend to apply to graduate programs in the United States. During graduate school I hope to take some statistics courses. I plan to leave graduate school with a publication under my belt, a thesis and degree, and a certificate related to statistics. I expect it will take three years to earn a M.A. I should have my M.A. at the age of thirty – a bit older than I would like. Ideally, from that point, I can pursue further education (PhD) and a career in academia. (Many graduate programs in linguistics are PhD programs.) I should have my PhD around the age of 34 to 35.
I have considered doing a graduate program in Taiwan. (The scholarship and Mandarin exposure it will bring are tempting; I can get these things in the U.S. as well, though) There are a few characteristics working against Taiwanese programs; (1) the universities are not rated well relative to my alma mater and other U.S. schools; (2) there seems to be less flexibility in Taiwanese graduate programs; (3) a big part of graduate school is working with professors – I’m not sure if these opportunities are available here.
I plan to do more research regarding Taiwanese universities; perhaps I will come to a different final conclusion.
At the moment of writing my focus is on studying (and thus on time management).
Hope to hear some comments!