The newbie thread


[quote=“Joyie”] should I look to teach on mainland China instead? I want to teach abroad so that I can learn Mandarin.


I’m no expert, but several people have told me that it’s easier to pick up Mandarin in China than Taiwan because you are forced to use it more. The teaching market there is also supposed to be much stronger at the moment. If you choose Taiwan try the areas surrounding Taipei. As a rule of thumb, the crappier the place the easier it is to find employment.


Hi there,

I’m doing some research on Taiwan. I’m hoping to move there in the summer. But in the meantime I want to find out as much as I can from this site to begin with.
I have a BA and CELTA (120 hours), I’ll have about 5 years experience (Thailand, Vietnam + Korea). I have read about Korea being a better place to earn money and that may be true. But this time I wish to work in a more accommodating environment. I’m currently living in Korea and working in a PS system and although the money is excellent for what i am doing it is the lifestyle here that is the downside.
I’d like to experience another country that is more accommodating to foreigners than Korea is and also with a less conservative nature. I live in a small town here and it is quite backward culturally.
With regards to work, it seems that 500-600NT seems to be normal right? I have some experience teaching and was hoping for a better salary than that. Or is it a case of just going with a large chain-school and then networking for a better school after some time there?
I’d like to live outside Taipei if possible. Very big cities are not for me. but being 1 or 2 hours away would be perfect.
I’d just like some starting points relevant to my situation. Others that have posted here (that i have read) are newbies with no experience or are very young and have different requirements than mine.
Basically, where and how much am i likely to make a month based on working 20-25 hours a week?
Where are some good places to work besides Taipei also…

Any advice would be appreciated…

Thanks folks,



I think you should at least give Taipei a try when you arrive. It is not a big city, but rather a bunch of neighborhoods that are largely self-contained (ie, you can get everything you need). If you live near the mountains or rivers it is more like living in a small town than any small town in taiwan (which are, with a few exceptions, traffic snarled, dirty, potentially xenophobic and generally chaotic with worse air pollution than Taipei). Where I live in Bitan (technically New Taipei City), end of the Xindian MRT line, I am 50m from riverside parks, bike paths that go on for hours, and a forest area across a suspension bridge. It’s very self-contained and very pleasant and locals are completely accustomed to foreigners.

Taichung can be good as well and has excellent weather and lower cost of living. Tainan is also pleasant but not much work from what I hear. Same with Kaohsiung.


Thank Mucha man and clickety_clack for the solid advice.
Is the main recruitment site for Taiwan?


[quote=“Joyie”]Hello everyone!

I’ve just recently become interested in going to Taiwan to teach English and I was wondering if anyone could offer me some advice on where I should first start.

I’m 22 years old with a BSc in Social Anthropology and an RP English accent. I don’t have a TEFL Cert, since I’ve been told by a couple of people that they’re a bit of a waste of money. I’ve had no prior experience with teaching, but I’ve generally always been very good with children and I’m constantly told that I’m one of those ‘mother-hen’ types. I’m not currently in Taiwan, since I was hoping to get all the official paperwork sorted out before I go there.

I’ve read a couple of the threads around the forum and it seems like quite a few people are going to Taiwan first before going out to look for a job - is this something I should do? I’ve seen a couple of posts saying that jobs are hard to come by now. Are my chances of finding a teaching job relatively slim? If so, should I look to teach on mainland China instead? I want to teach abroad so that I can learn Mandarin.

Any advice offered would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Get the TEFL certificate, no matter the quality. I am here in Taiwan and every place i have enquired at (apart from Dewey :smiley: ) has asked for either:

TEFL qualified or have at least a year of teaching experience.

People on this forum in my opinion should not be giving out advice telling newbies that they do not need a TEFL certificate. It might be worthless as an aid to actual teaching but unfortunately a lot of places require it or teaching experience and weirdly enough a new teacher doesnt have lots of teaching experience (thats what makes them new lol)



Get the TEFL certificate, no matter the quality. I am here in Taiwan and every place I have enquired at (apart from Dewey :smiley: ) has asked for either:

TEFL qualified or have at least a year of teaching experience.

People on this forum in my opinion should not be giving out advice telling newbies that they do not need a TEFL certificate. It might be worthless as an aid to actual teaching but unfortunately a lot of places require it or teaching experience and weirdly enough a new teacher doesnt have lots of teaching experience (thats what makes them new lol)[/quote]

Bear in mind that advice changes over time. It could well be that the over-supply of teachers is allowing schools to be more demanding at this point in time (and, almost certainly, even more so in the future). However, the fact remains that a bachelor’s and a passport from a seemingly unavailable list of countries are the minimum requirements right now.

A lot of us chaps on the flob have been here a while and may well have lost touch with reality - in many ways. Gin can do that to a man. Also, IME what happens to one person in Taiwan will rarely, if ever, be repeated in the same way with another. IMO it’s one of the wonderful frustrations about living here. It does mean, though, that any floby advice needs to be viewed with some caution.

Anyway, a trawl through the old threads will show that I have always supported getting a CELTA or equivalent. If anyone is daft enough to choose TEFL as a career, that is :laughing:


I already have 3 years experience teaching English elsewhere, plus a CELTA, what should I be aiming for in Taiwan? I’ve looked at all the big chain schools… none of them sounded great.

One (I think hess?) was offering 6-day week contracts - hell no.
And the other (shanes) required a split weekend, eg sunday and Wednesday off.

I’m not fussy about pay, but I’ve never taught at the weekend, and don’t want to start now.

I’m speaking to another agency, Dewey, but I have no idea what schools they are actually recruiting for.


Why not go round to the schools directly? You have bags of experience and a CELTA. Should be writing your own ticket!
There are a lot of schools in Taiwan, and with your credentials you have a great chance to get a decent paying job.

For instance, at the moment Dewey are the only ones who seem to actively respond with job possibilities for me (me being a newb and unqualified etc fair enough). Check some threads on here to get an idea about Dewey :slight_smile:

There is another job position they told me about (another in Fengyuan) which is 31 hours a week mainly 1.30 - 8pm every day and Saturday 600 NTD per hour. Hours are roughly 125 per month but teaching hours 90 per month and they only pay for the teaching hours. This is normal in the business as i understand it.


Hi there,

I know this thread is already very long but I am adding to it anyways :slight_smile: I am looking for a teaching job in Kaohsiung. I have a certificate in TESOL and I have already worked in a Kindergarten as an English teacher. However my only problem is that I am a Filipina. Is there any chance to get a work visa? Even only short term for 6 month maybe?

I am looking forward to your answers.

Thank you :slight_smile:


You have to have a passport from a small list of “english speaking” countries. Such as Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa.


No that is not true Tommy, it has been discussed on Forumosa recently.

However the chances of getting hired legally is difficult without being from one of those countries.


Yep, an extensive discussion here: … 5&t=116014


So I have been reading quite a lot of the threads here as well as elsewhere and looked at the offers made by the major chains, those posted on Tealit and Dave’s ESL Cafe, and also glanced at the offers posted through some major recruiters. I understand that there are pitfalls with all of these options. A recruiter will almost definitely screw you somehow (although perhaps screw you isn’t quite fair since they provide a service and need some form of compensation), a major chain will probably pay somewhat less than elsewhere and may not be a great place to work for most people, and I haven’t seen anything posted on Tealit or Dave’s ESL Cafe that would be much better than the chains.

The main thing I want is a decent workplace environment where I can have reasonable pay and enough hours to make a good wage (~55-60k before taxes). I see lots of people recommending going to Taiwan and just checking out individual schools on foot which seems reasonable but I have seen other threads which say that it can be difficult to find openings and that people have been looking for a long time before finding jobs. I also worry that it seems many of the jobs people have reported getting this way don’t provide many hours which is what I see as a major perk of the chains. Am I right in saying that? Also while the jobs that had what seemed to be the best offers from my perspective were largely on Dewey but I know they have a terrible reputation and I fear they will somehow screw me over. Given all of this (seemingly contradictory) information I am not sure which course of action is best? Any insights?

As far as my qualifications go they are nothing special. I am graduating this May with a B.Sc. in Biology from Stony Brook University (public school in the US) and I am a white male born and raised in the United States. Also I just want to say I’m sorry for making one of these “help me, help me” sort of posts but I really don’t think that all of the questions I raised were answered in my searches of this board.

What would the best option be for someone who just got their bachelors in the US be if they wanted to start out working as an English teacher in Taiwan and their primary concern was finding a stable job which could give them a decent enough number of hours to make at least $55k before taxes.


Doing research like you have been is probably the best thing you could be doing. I think as long as you show you’ve made an attempt to find the answers yourself, people will respect that and generally try to help if they can.

The answers are there; the problem is that there are so many to wade through. Everyone has their own experiences and opinions, so as you’ve probably figured out there are no cut-and-dry answers for most of the questions raised about working in Taiwan. Generally you need to get as much input as possible, and then try to make informed decisions, as well as you are able.

Finding all three—a decent workplace environment, reasonable pay, and enough hours—is the holy grail. As a new teacher here, you may have to be willing to settle for only 2 out of the 3, at least until you get more teaching experience and come to know Taiwan and the buxiban style.

If you have your heart set on Taiwan (which I feel is an important factor), my advice—based on my own experience here since 2008—is to come to Taiwan to get a feel for it. That doesn’t mean stepping off the plane without a clue. Before your arrival, email your resume to the schools that seem like possibilities, informing them when you’ll actually be in Taiwan. Then, after you arrive, follow up with those places in person, while scoping out the nearby schools in the area.

Bring enough cash to support yourself for at least 2~3 months. Be willing to work outside of Taipei if need be. Find a school that will sponsor your ARC (meaning don’t just grab any illegal job).

Again, these are my personal opinions, based on what happened in my case five years ago, so add them into whatever other information you’ve read. If you have any specific questions you want to ask me personally, feel free to PM me. I don’t mind.


I’ll be moving to Taichung in April to teach English and I plan to find a job when I arrive. I understand that most full time jobs become available in August but that it’s important to be there to apply in the months leading up to August to secure a good position. In the mean time I’ll be looking for part-time work but I’ve seen some recommendations in the forums to avoid part-time work. Is there anything potentially harmful in working part-time on and leaving a part-time position once a full-time one becomes available? Do part-time positions have term contracts that could get in the way?


If working part-time means that you’ll be working less than 14 hours/week, then you would be ineligible for an ARC and thus working illegally, running the risk of fines and deportation.

As far as I know, foreigners that legally teach part-time already have an ARC (and their part-time school is added to it), or they have an open work permit through an APRC (Alien Permanent Resident Certificate) or marriage JFRV (Joining Family Resident Visa).

I don’t know if part-time positions have term contracts; hopefully someone who does know can chime in.


Thanks, I suppose when I look I’ll have to consider part-time as a supplement only to a job with more hours.


Some places seem to presume that you already have an ARC when they offer you the job so always ask beforehand. They won’t take you on if you don’t have an ARC (well some buxibans anyway can’t speak for all of them).


Make sure your school will pay for your ARC. I’m having to get a Visitor Visa (I was told I wouldn’t have to) and it’s costing me 5600 NT. From there, I have to get an ARC which is an additional 3000 NT. Gotta love hidden fees.


Hello all, I have a question I’ve not seen addressed in the other threads I’ve read.

Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve seen that you can go from a tourist visa to a a resident visa and ARC if you find a job that sponsors you. However, most people won’t hire you sight unseen. That’s where I’m at right now. When talking to my local Taiwanese consulate, I get the distinct impression I cannot relocate there for work. So, essentially I have to tell them something that will allow me to enter the country, and then once I’m there I can get a job? Is that how it works? I guess what I’m wondering is if that’s what everyone else did?

I am a Chinese major graduating this month and wanting to relocate there to work and further my study. I am thinking I will tell them that I am interested in seeing Taiwan and possibly attending grad school there (still a possibility), and that I would like to see Taipei and Kaohsiung first before making my decision.

Am I missing something? 1) tell them I want to visit Taiwan for whatever reason, 2) arrive in Taiwan on a tourist visa. 3) Find a job, get ARC and resident visa sponsored. And then I’m good to go?

A bonus question, I need a criminal background check before I get a resident visa right? That’s something the consulate recommended I get before attempting to get a resident visa.

Thank you in advance for your replies, I’ve gotten a lot of information from this site and appreciate how open and helpful everyone is.