My partner and I are living and teaching English in Taiwan, in a city called Kaohsiung. There were a number of reasons that influenced our choice. The school we’re currently at, KNS Institute, is in the city and they guarantee us great working hours. The school is thriving and hiring more teachers when a lot of other smaller schools are cutting back on teaching hours. There are many job opportunities in Taiwan so you can live comfortably and save money. The climate is quite tropical and you are close to the ocean and the tropical beaches of Kenting.
Taylor and her partner Tim, are both graduates of OnTESOL’s 140-hour TESOL Certificate Course with Teaching English to Young Learners specialist. They are both teaching English in Taiwan with KNS Institute.
Teaching and Traveling as a Partnership
My partner was a big motivator for me to become an ESL teacher. It was something that he had wanted to pursue for quite some time so I decided to look into it more. As I spoke with more current or past ESL teachers about their experiences, they had nothing but positive things to say and highly recommended it.
Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned working overseas so far are not to do with the job, but more so with myself. It can be very stressful at times, especially at the start. I’ve had to find healthy ways to deal with the stress so it didn’t consume me. We’ve really had to be there for each other but we’re fortunate enough to have each other.
Life in Taiwan
The benefits depend on where you teach ESL. In Taiwan, the major benefit is the quality of life. With the pay you receive you can live a very comfortable lifestyle while still saving money. I can see how it can be such a rewarding job when you are able to watch your students improve and progress throughout the year.
The standard of living is extremely high for ESL teachers. We are paid significantly more than the Chinese staff at our school and work less hours. You can afford to live in an apartment that you could never afford in North America.
I would absolutely recommend Taiwan to anyone who’s considering it! It’s such a diverse, beautiful and friendly country. You can also find some comforts of home when you get homesick because it will likely happen. For the Canadian teachers, here are a few different Canadian owned restaurants here!
A New Way of Working and Living
The main challenges of working here so far are adjusting to the workload and the start up costs. While some Buxibans (after-school English language centre) don’t require much from the ESL teacher, the school we are working at has a very high standard and asks a lot of its teachers, more so than we were initially prepared for. The start up costs have also been quite significant. When you find an apartment you are required to pay 3 months rent up front. In addition, there’s the cost of applying for your visa so all of that is something you need to be prepared for.
How A TESOL Course Sets You Up For Success
The OnTESOL course helped me feel more confident and ready to become an ESL teacher. It gave me an idea of what to expect coming into this position. Without it, I think I would have felt completely lost and out of my element when starting my new job.
The Biggest Concern Before Teaching English Abroad
I think the biggest concern I had was not being able to get a job and running out of money. We came here without any jobs lined up so that was a bit daunting, but we soon realized there are an abundance of jobs once you start looking. A blog written by a previous OnTESOL graduate helped us take the plunge to move to Taiwan and find a TESOL job on our own.
The Responsibilities Of Teaching English Abroad
I’ve learned that teaching English abroad is a lot harder than you expect it to be. It’s definitely not a working holiday, it’s a job. You have to constantly think of different ways to explain concepts to your students in a way that they will understand. This is important because what makes sense to you doesn’t necessarily make sense to them. You also put in many hours outside of your paid working hours. Marking homework, preparing lessons, developing homework and tests and writing progress reports.
Advice For Future Teachers
To someone planning to work abroad, I would say:
If you want a working holiday where you play games and sing songs all day you can find it. However, if you want to save money, get decent hours, and be a really good ESL teacher, it’s probably going to be more work than you expect.
The start-up costs are high so make sure you have a decent amount of money before coming over. Some schools will give you an interest free loan to help you out which is what we both had to take.
It’s an amazing and rewarding experience and it’ll teach you so much about yourself. Living in a different country is definitely different than simply travelling to another country. Experiencing another culture and way of life is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. Your students will leave a lasting impression on you as well. There will be obstacles but you will only grow as a person by overcoming them and you will be so proud of yourself when you do!