If you sign on abroad, you’ll likely be doing so through an agent who is paid by the school to which you will be sent. Tells you upon which side the bread is buttered, doesn’t it?
Our agent lied to us when we came here, and told us anything we wanted to hear. She made us pay for a night’s stay in a crappy (but expensive) hotel and even made us pay for our own dinner, which she had previously told us would be complimentary. (We were to stay at her place). Then she wasn’t there when we signed our documents, having beat a hasty retreat so that the school could have us to themselves. Upon our having signed the documents, she “instantly” appeared and congratulated us upon our “good choice”. Our employers took us to our new home which the agent had told us was “in the mountains” (though, to her credit, you can SOMETIMES see the mountains on clean days after typhoons/ torrential rains, despite the extreme flatness surrounding us for at least two hours of driving on each side) and we began teaching the day after our arrival. Of course, had I known then what I do now, that would never have happened, but most people are jetlagged, tired, disoriented and inexperienced upon their first arrival in Taiwan.
Thankfully, in our case everything worked out well and our bosses were, for the most part, honest, but I’m sure that many others have stories of extreme disappointment. Remember, the agent is not working for you, even if you are paying him/her. S/he is working for the schools, who have laws, experience and blacklists on their sides.
Get in touch with people through Segue or one of the many other “taiwan foreigner” sites mentioned on this board and you should get an acceptable teaching job upon your arrival. Just remember to get reimbursement for your flight upon signing on and to bring enough cash to get you through that “awkward period” when you’re getting settled in.
Good luck, newbies!