For the past few weeks I’ve been debating the pros and cons of moving to Taipei earlier than planned. To be clear, I love Taiwan and my ultimate goal is and has always been to save up for ICLP (I’m currently finishing up my application) and move to become a full-time student in the fall. I’m currently living in Shanghai, but thanks to issues over the visa requirements for non-teaching industries, I just had my work permit application for my editing job rejected. I’m now out a decently paid job where I felt I was actually able to put my skills to use.
Having done the whole teaching kids thing, I refuse to go back to it. But now, it seems like I’m faced with the choice of staying in China for the next six months teaching teens and adults (not ideal but the job market and pay are decent here) or moving to Taipei earlier than expected and trying to live on my savings for a month or two and look for work, preferably in writing/editing or teaching older learners. I’m fairly certain I’d be happier in Taiwan if I could find a decent job, and I already have a circle of friends there. I love the freedom, friendliness, and creativity the city exudes. I find it much harder to connect with people here in China. What’s more, as an American, I’m able to stay in Taiwan visa-free for 90 days (my current Chinese visa expires in late March). While not strictly legal, it seems like freelancing or writing in Taiwan would be less complicated. On the other hand, if that didn’t work out, I might have to get my diploma, TEFL certification, etc. sent back to the US to be authenticated by TECRO.
Basically, China seems like a safer option, economically speaking, but the visa situation is frustrating, and overall I’m ready to leave for a host of personal and political reasons. I could probably survive for a month or two in Taipei on what I have, but there may be issues tracking down work, and ESL jobs even with adults and teens may get complicated when it comes to getting docs authenticated, mailed, and so on.
Anyone have any good advice? Factors to consider? Should I grit my teeth, find something in Shanghai, and try to save up for my program in Taipei? Take a risk and go to Taipei to job hunt? Or something else entirely?