China is more fun? Really? Personally, I find it dull here - Taiwan is a much more cheerful and colourful place by contrast, in my humble opinion. If it wasn’t for the fact that I greatly prefer Taiwan to here as a place to be, I would not even consider leaving, given the much lower cost of living.[/quote]
Two questions and a point.
Where in China are you?
I lived there for a year and talking to other foreigners about things like price, people trying to cheat you, finding not shallow girls, etc. you need to pick up a map of WW2 that has the Japanese occupation of China and make sure you don’t live in any of those cities. The Japanese map tends to coincide well with which cities have been glutted with foreign companies and tourists. In the coastal cities you tend to be either a pest or prey as far as the locals are concerned. Inland, they’re still happy to see you and there isn’t enough foreigners for the organized scams of Beijing or Shanghai to pop up. (people will still overcharge you but it’s an opportunistic thing and they will actually go away when you say no one time.) Go west, my son. I lived in Chengdu where I was one of ~4000 foreigners in a city of 11 million. Just as good for access to good stuff but not over saturated with foreigners and thus those who prey on them as Beijing, Shenzhen. or Guangzhou Similarly, it made the job market much better. (I was studying abroad but my brother came and found an ESL job with no experience and makes more than I do on the mainland than I do in Taiwan.
Do you enjoy being a foreigner?
If you go to Taiwan that disappears for good or ill. You’re still foreign of course and kids and people will be pretty happy to see you. But you’re not special beyond that. People won’t go out of the way to buy you drinks in clubs. You won’t get a seat of honor just for being white anymore. (There’s still racism in favor of white skin but nothing near the perks that people foist upon foreigners in China.) You’re going to have to pay covers at clubs. You will miss it.
And the point. You’re getting a job. However interesting Taiwan seems, it’s going to be a lot less interesting once you’re working 23 hours a week +15 hours of prep. School in China is essentially a paid vacation with some Chinese classes. That’s going to stop whether you’re in China in Taiwan, but Taiwan will make you work harder for less money. A bottle of beer costs 4 times more here than it does in China. Yang rou chuan (sheep on a stick) goes 1 to 2 RMB per skewer in China, here its 20 to 30 NTD (5 to 7.5 RMB) . You can have a damn nice apartment in China for pennies. In Taiwan, most beginning ESL teachers can only afford studio apartments. (If you don’t mind living a year in a hotel room it’s great.)
I don’t mean to be negative I do like it here, but China is easier, bigger, cheaper, and a thousand other comparative adjectives that make it a more fun place to live than Taiwan. You’ll see people on this forum complain about how the ESL market in Taiwan used to be a really awesome deal, but it collapsed in the last ten years. China is still in the golden age of massive demand but no supply. It’s place where a foreigner can live like a king doing very little work if they’re willing to leave Beijing. Taiwan ESL is a real job where you have to watch your cash and budget.
The only reason I’m not in China right now is the lack of medical insurance there and I have compelling reasons for never ever being uninsured. If I was perfectly healthy, China would be the place to be.[/quote]
“Where in China are you?”
Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Province. It’s exactly the sort of place you are describing (and promoting): small enough to be cheap and affordable to live in; small enough that you still feel and are perceived as being a novelty. Obscure enough that almost anyone could find an English-teaching job.
“Do you enjoy being a foreigner?”
I’ll admit as much as the next guy that it’s nice sometimes to enjoy special treatment. But to be honest, as a very private (and at times painfully shy) person, I find constantly being the centre of attention - even when the attention is neutral, or positive - to be aggrevating.
In absolute terms (from what I’ve seen on Dave’s, Tealit and elsewhere) pay in Taiwan remains higher than the mainland (although there are a very small number of English teachers in Mainland China pulling in 20,000RMB~ ). Realistically, as someone with a BSc in hand who hasn’t worked a full-time job in his life, I am unlikely to be one of those people.
Your point about teachers in Taiwan having it rougher on the job is something more likely to concern me, since I am entirely new to this business. Perhaps working at a relatively low-stress job here would be easier.
The other side to all of this is that I want to take the TOP-Huayu exam in November, so that I can apply to study in Taiwan next year.
Naturally, it would be very difficult for me to do this if I work here in Mainland China (hmmm, maybe I could get a job in Xiamen and scoot back and over on the ferry ).