What's it like for an ABC in ROC who can't speak Mandarin?

I’ve thought about working my way through Asia by teaching English during my retirement years. I have several friends from Taiwan but they think the idea is pretty strange.

Does anyone have any idea what it would be like for me to live in Taiwan for a year? I don’t speak Mandarin nor do I read Chinese.

Also, I wouldn’t really need the money from teaching but I probably won’t be independently wealthy either. I was concerned about the cost of housing. What does it cost in US dollars to rent a decent apartment in one of the major cities? I heard food is relatively inexpensive, thought.

This is my first post but hope somene finds it interesting.


ABC :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m a CBC…but i can speak relatively fluently in Chinese. (But I cannot read or write!). Well…basically, people would look at you when you ask questions (or ask what it says) and wonder WHY THE HECK you do not understand/cannot READ THE SIGN…when I say I do not understand (or cannot read) they are REALLY confused…I get many LOOKS (ARE YOU STUPID?)…but I’m used to it by now! :cry:

You would be able to survive more than happily. YOu wouldn’t need to worry more about not speaking/reading any Chinese then any other typical foreigner coming here! Many others have done it…and are doing it…so not to worry! :wink:

Housing is relatively cheap (compared to the States!). In Taipei, housing could be as cheap as a few thousand (NT) to 10,000NT (or more) (depends on your style of living, WHERE you live and whether you want roommates or not).

Good luck!

Hey ABC,

What a marvelous way to spend your retirement (since that aligned my plan precisely)! I envy you. OK, all jealousy aside, I think you’d have a great time traveling Asia regardless you are ABC or CBC. :laughing:

Sure you will have no problem finding a teaching post in Taiwan (although a few places might reject you by the color of your skin, hair, and eyes); however, you might have issues of finding a teaching-English post in Japan. According to my Japanese friend, either you are a western-looking dude or a non-western-looking dude but speaks Japanese, there is no market for Asian-looking dude with no fluent Japanese to teach English in Japan. On the other side of coin, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and China, you’d do fine.

Have fun out there,

I agree with crunchnumber. It’s truly a great way to spend your retirement, and could be one of the best times of your life. Go for it and enjoy yourself to the fullest!

As sypanda mentioned, you shouldn’t have any problems with being an ABC here. The biggest misunderstanding is that most Taiwanese are going to ASSUME that you’re a local. Sure, knowing a little Chinese will help you out, but doesn’t mean you will have less chance getting work or anything of that sort. The main qualification to teach here (sad as it is) is that you’re a native English speaker. You’ve got that covered, shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, I have a couple friends who are ABCs and they’re teaching. One speaks fluent Manadarin and Taiwanese, the other very little of both.

Have a great time, the future looks bright for you! :wink:

Thanks for the information everyone. I’m actually Cantonese looking. My parents are from the Taishan area in southern China.

I’m actually still a little disbelieving that it’s easy to get a teaching position in Taiwan. The Chinese I meet over here from Taiwan all speak English so well that I have this impression that everyone speaks English well – or is it the ones who don’t speak well don’t speak to me. :slight_smile:

Isn’t English a requirement in Taiwanese schools?

It’s too bad what crunch said about Japan, but I’m hopeful, I don’t need much more than a place to stay for an extended period of time. (How long are the teaching contracts for anyway?) What I’m mostly looking for is the routine of working, a safe place to sleep at night and people to converse with.

Oh, by the way folks, I don’t plan on retiring for at least another 10 or 15 years from now, anyway, but it’s never too early to plan…or dream.

Jesse, you’re right in that English IS taught in school here, although most of the population do not speak English well. Kids are taught English starting at a very young age, though most lack conversational practice and rarely apply what they’ve learned.

Honestly, jobs are everywhere. There are more jobs available than teachers to fill them.

I’m Chinese looking but I didn’t have trouble finding an English-teaching job in a cram school (juku) in Japan in 1994-1995. At that time it paid 5,000 yen per hour at 80yen=$1 so the pay was pretty good too at US$60/hour.

Students were junior high school kids.

BAH, wow, thanks for the note; you gave me some hope! I’ve always wanted to go to Japan for a year or two and teaching English there is one way (probably the only way I know of) to make some money to pay for food. OR maybe it’s my Chinese-looking my friend thinks that Japanese won’t appreciate?!?! :unamused:

As for the Taiwanese study 6-year English but speak no English, it’s probably the same deal with Americans speak zip Spanish after taking three-year Spanish in High School.

Did we expect too much from the Taiwanese? :?:

To Olddude, I’m an ABC but from australia, my back ground is cantonese, which is pretty useless here. I neither speak nor read Chinese but everyone is friendly and helpful in Taiwan from my experience. In regards to work, I agree will all the other replies, you’ll have no trouble finding work. I have decided not to work because I have no ARC. But work is readily available even for ABC, I’ve been asked but declined until I get my ARC. So you needn’t worry about finding work. However if you are new to Taiwan it may be helpful to read the other threads in regards to teaching and working in Taiwan, so that you will find work in a good happy working environment. Because you don’t want to place your self in a unhappy situation in your retirement. Apart from this you’ll find Taiwan great, the people here are very welcoming to everyone. So best wishes upon coming to Taiwan.

Thanks everyone,

I found the thread on teaching in the Unregistered Forum.

Hehe, it’s a little scary. Although the posts here may not be truly representative of all schools, a common theme seems be unreasonable head teachers or owners out to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of his employees/teachers. It’s fine with me and I suppose it’s not any different than any business, but it’s good to know beforehand.

Crunchmember, maybe it’s you. Your English level is really quite good for a non-native speaker, but nowhere near good enough to teach. Almost every post of yours is riddled with errors and broken English. Please consider another profession for the sake of your students/victims. :cry: