My partner and I are teaching English 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, completed the 120-hour Advanced TESOL Certificate Course and the 20-hour Teaching English to Young Learners specialist. They are both teaching English in Taiwan with KNS Institute.
Teaching Abroad as a Couple
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 other 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 teaching 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. For example, I’ve had to find healthy ways to deal with culture shock. We’ve really had to be there for each other but we’re fortunate enough to have each other.
Life in Taiwan
ESL teachers in Taiwan enjoy a great quality of life. With the pay you receive you can live a very comfortable lifestyle while still saving money. The standard of living is extremely high for ESL teachers. We are paid significantly more than the Chinese staff at our school and work fewer 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!
Getting Our First Teaching Job
The biggest concern I had when we arrived in Taiwan was not being able to get a TESOL 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 is 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. There are many benefits of finding a job on your own, such as getting to know the school to ensure they are reputable and avoiding a recruiter who will take a cut from your salary.
The main challenge of job hunting in person is the start-up costs, which have been quite significant. When you find an apartment in Taiwan, you are required to pay 3 months to rent upfront. In addition, there’s the cost of applying for your visa so all of that is something you need to be prepared for. Also, a reputable employer comes with more responsibilities.
While some Buxibans (after-school English language center) don’t require much from their ESL teachers, KNS Institute has a very high standard and asks a lot of its teachers. Luckily, the OnTESOL course helped me feel more confident and ready for the ESL classroom. 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 I started my teaching job.
Find ESL Teaching Jobs in Taiwan on the OnTESOL Job Board
Do I Recommend Teaching English Abroad?
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 become a great ESL teacher, it’s probably going to be more work than you expect.
Teaching English abroad is an amazing and rewarding experience and it will teach you so much about yourself. Living in a different country is definitely different than simply traveling 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!