Have you ever thought about leaving your familiar hum-drum behind? What about jumping head-first into a new career? We have all been told that getting a secure job is the goal to achieve, but what if that wasn’t enough for us?
Stepping into the unknown is always a risky business—granted—but what about the thrill and excitement of something new? That’s what makes life worth living! Right?
At this point, you might be wondering where to start. Fear not; let us help you with that. If you are looking for a new job that could offer career opportunities and give you excitement and fulfilment in equal measure, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad is exactly what you need. It’s a journey that’s all about exploration and making a positive impact.
TEFL is a global phenomenon drawing people in for all the right reasons. Picture this: around 2 billion people worldwide are using and learning English. The demand for English instruction is huge, and TEFL educators play a vital role in meeting this need.
In many places, such as Taiwan, the demand for English teachers is way higher than the number of qualified teachers. That means lots of opportunities for those with accredited TEFL certifications—even if you don’t have a college degree or previous teaching experience.
And it’s not just about the job; TEFL gives you the chance to travel, immerse yourself in different cultures, and have a unique language-learning experience.
Beyond the classroom, you get to make a real difference in the lives of your students. You contribute to their personal and professional growth, all while experiencing your own journey of personal development.
With so many beautiful countries to pick, how can you decide where to start your TEFL journey abroad? Yes, the task of choosing your new home away from home can be daunting, but it’s also one of the most exciting parts of the process.
To start you off, we have found that Taiwan is growing in popularity among newly qualified and experienced TEFL teachers alike. But besides the teaching opportunities, what makes Taiwan stand out is the friendly locals and the vibrant atmosphere, earning it the 27th spot in the World Happiness Report 2023 and the second happiest in East Asia.
This is a small country just off the coast of China, but despite its size, Taiwan has it all; from free Wi-Fi across the territory, a mix of affordable living, and a wide variety of activities to keep you entertained.
If food is your passion, you will fall in love with Taiwanese tasty and health-conscious cuisine. All in all, Taiwan has a combination of modern living and traditional culture that will leave you speechless.
Taiwan has planned for its younger population to reach bilingualism by 2030. This ambitious goal means that the demand for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is increasing rapidly.
The entry requirements are a bit stricter compared to some other places in Southeast Asia, but the pay is definitely worth it, averaging around $2,200 per month, depending on your qualifications and experience.
To get started, you’ll need a visa, and eligible countries include Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand. Most employers look for a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL qualification, and a clean criminal record.
Once you secure a teaching position, there’s a process—from health checks to getting your ‘alien resident certificate’—that takes about six weeks and costs around $300 USD.
Teaching Opportunities in Taiwan
Taiwan offers a range of teaching opportunities, depending on your qualifications and teaching experience:
Test-Prep Schools (Buxiban)
These post-school programmes aim to prepare students for university in English-speaking countries. Securing a position in these schools is relatively easy without a degree or prior teaching experience, and it would be a great starting point for a newly qualified TEFL teacher.
However, these posts come with an intensive workload—teaching large classes for 15-20 hours per week, as well as unpaid hours for homework marking and lesson planning.
Public schools provide higher salaries and generous benefits, including housing, return flights, and end-of-contract bonuses. However, you’ll be handling larger class sizes, committing to 15 teaching hours per week, and dedicating time to marking homework, planning lessons, and carrying out some admin work. There is some compensation (albeit limited) for work conducted outside the classroom.
Teaching positions in private schools are highly sought-after, with fierce competition. While salaries may be lower than those at public schools, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, offering smaller class sizes for a more manageable workload.
Admission to these highly selective institutions is limited to professionals with previous teaching experience who hold a university degree. In return, you enjoy significantly high salaries and lavish perks, including tax-free income.
Teaching roles in higher education are few and far between, making it the most competitive arena. A master’s degree is the minimum requirement, and a Ph.D. commands higher pay. The flip side is the expectation to teach evening, weekend, as well as daytime classes, depending on the courses you’re assigned.
What to expect from your new life in Taiwan
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) in Taiwan could very well exceed your expectations, from cultural immersion to memorable experiences. With colleagues from the UK, Canada, and the US, you can enjoy your free time doing typical Taiwanese activities, from dining at unique spots to exploring the scenic East Coast on a cycling adventure.
You’ll probably find that the teaching experience itself is truly enjoyable, with polite and respectful students who happily simplify your life by adopting English names. Don’t be surprised if they show their gratitude through gifts and invitations to social gatherings.
Behavioural issues are rare, and you would always be supported by a local teaching assistant. Depending on where you teach, the schedule can be from 8 am to 4 pm, with breaks during the hottest part of the day.
Sharing meals in the classroom with your students gives you a unique opportunity to experience the culture through the eyes of the locals, like witnessing your students doze off after eating. It’s heartwarming moments like this that make your TEFL experience abroad all the more worthwhile.
Are you ready for Taiwan?
Teaching English in Taiwan isn’t just a job; it’s a life-changing experience where you impact others and grow personally and professionally – among other benefits of teaching in Taiwan.
If you’re considering this major change, exploring countries that pique your interest is a great start. And who knows, Taiwan might just be the perfect place for your nomadic teaching adventure!