Should I find a job before arriving in Taiwan? Do schools offer loans to cover initial live expenses?


#1

So I’ll be coming to Taiwan with little savings. Would it be a good idea for me to look for a job at a big chain school before landing in country, or should I live like a pauper and look for work when I land? How long did it take you to find a job, and how cheaply can you live in Taiwan. I imagine hostel and food bills add up pretty quickly. I read some where that schools will grant new teachers small loans to secure an apartment, but that seems hard for me to believe. Have you ever heard of school doing that for new teachers?

Finally. Where are the jobs. I hear the cost of living is much cheaper in other cities, than Taipei, but is their work in the other cities?

Thanks for all your help!


#2

The key is how much dinero will you be bringing with you?
Bring at least 3 months worth and go to a city that is not Taipei if you want your money to go further than that. Taichung, Kaohsiung, Tainan are the next in line.

If you are asking where the jobs are, it implies you have not done too much upfront research, or maybe you have. What has been the extent of your research of finding a teaching job here?


#3

HESS offer new teachers a 30k loan as part of their contract. Other chains often provide loans, but not contractually.


#4

I haven’t done much research past the basics. I’m trying to figure out what life is like in each city before studying the job market too much.


#5

You also have to revise your idea of what a month’s expenses looks like. You don’t get off the plane and walk into your own 3-bedroom apartment. Rent a room with a shared bathroom in a student area and eat cheaply in the food stalls in the same student area, and don’t go out drinking and you can last for quite awhile.

I would avoid taking a loan from a school even if it were offered, just out the principle of not being beholden to the school. Owing them anything = control. Living in their housing also = control. Might be okay for a week or so if they have rooms for newly arrived teachers but get out and get independent as soon as possible.


#6

When do you arrive to Taiwan? I might be able to help you out until you find a permanent job. I have a small school you could work at in exchange for housing and advice.


#7

Thanks for the offer Pinoco. But I don’t have a concrete date just yet. I’ll keep you mind when I do head to Taiwan.


#8

Thanks for tips Ironlady. To be honest living in shared housing, and eating at food stalls with students sounds amazing right now. My tastes are pretty mild, so I should be able to make it.


#9

You could certainly find a teaching job after landing in Taiwan, but why go through the hassle and uncertainty when it’s so easy to find a teaching job online from your home country? TEFL websites, like Dave’s ESL Cafe and TEFL.com, are full of adverts. Facebook group pages, like Working in Taiwan also often advertise English teaching jobs. Back when I taught English, I found my job on Tealit.com.

I taught at Shane English School, one of the big franchises in Taiwan. I’d say they’re good for first-time teachers, because they provide training and their head office is in England, so they’re generally quite reliable. They also offer the start-up loan that you mentioned (or they did when I worked there, I don’t know about now). I took advantage of that and I didn’t have any problems with it. They just deducted the loan from my monthly pay.

Yes, the cost of living outside of Taipei City is considerably cheaper than in the city, and there are plenty of jobs to be had all over the country and they are generally less competitive than they are in Taipei. However, to be honest with you, the English teacher salary is pretty good by Taiwanese standards anyway, so unless you intend on saving up a lot of money and bringing back home or you want to rent an entire apartment without sharing with anyone, you won’t really need to worry so much about living costs. You could also live a little further out and commute into the city and save a ton of money that way. In many Taiwanese people’s minds, 30 minutes is considered a long time to commute. You can get a room in a really nice apartment 30 mins away from the city centre on an English teacher’s salary, especially if it’s on the bus route instead of the metro (that’s what I did when I taught).


#10

First: Are you a certified teacher?
If yes, you’ll find a job very easily.
If not, you’re going to be looking for Private schools, also called Buxibans (Bush-E-Ban)
Second: Are you coming alone?
If yes, your costs will be pretty low for your first chunk of time.
If no, plan on spending a decent amount of money.
Third: You need to bring a decent amount of money with you regardless.
Plan on bringing at least $2,000-$3,000 USD with you ($50,000-$80,000 NTD). This is the amount the Ministry of Education recommended, and was just enough to get my wife and I through August-September. It will cover your food, transportation, phone, housing, and the little knick-knacks you need along the way.
Fourth: Make connections asap.
Forumosa is a good start, but you should also look at TeaLit, another site with lots of connection opportunities. You should also look to find foreigners where you settle down to help you get set in the beginning.
Fifth: Find an area and make a plan.
There are success stories of people walking off the plane and making it, but it’s become harder and harder over the years. My wife and I came here in 2017 and we’re just now becoming comfortable. Had a plan, had a job, had help, still had to deal with many extenuating circumstances that we could not plan for.
Finally: I would recommend Taichung and Caotun.
We live in a burb south of Taichung and Caotun and love it here. There are jobs, Good housing, lots to eat, and a very close community of foreigners that help each other out A LOT. Made friends with Taiwanese that helped get us housing and work. Made friends with foreigners that helped us with money, jobs and advice.

Remember, you’re going to have to work, and until you’ve proven yourself, it’s going to be hard to get a job that pays really well. I started here as a public school teacher, with pay that my veteran Taiwan friends laugh at, and my wife started here with no job. Next year, I’m looking at a pay increase of almost 40% and my wife does paid tutoring. We had no vehicle, now we have a bicycle and a motorcycle (150cc). We had no room of our own, now we have a fully furnished bedroom of our own with two roommates, and are going to get our own place next year.
Make connections, make friends, work hard, and don’t forget to plan. Here in Taiwan, we’re building our dream. Just remember to be persistent!