Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds documenting their travel musings at A Cruising Couple. They’re writing, photographing and drinking wine from their home base in Taiwan until August. After that who knows where they’ll be! Be sure to stay updated on all their adventures by connecting on facebook and twitter!
It’s easy to say you want to travel the world. But if you want to turn your weekend excursions into long term travel, there’s just no way around the cold hard truth: you’re going to need some cash. Even for the thriftiest of backpackers, either you have a bit of savings or you need to find a way to earn some dough. So how do you ensure a payday in a foreign country? One of the first options that comes to mind is teaching English abroad.
This isn’t the only way you can make your vagabonding ways sustainable, and I have definitely voiced my opinion that teaching is not for everyone. Does entertaining snotty-nosed children sound fun? Do you enjoy making a fool of yourself in the front of a classroom? Do you have a basic understanding of the English language, and don’t mind explaining why all the rules you are teaching have ‘crazy’ exceptions?
If you can answer yes to any of those questions, then maybe teaching English is the perfect way to make your travel dreams a reality. Now you just have to think of a destination. You can probably eliminate all those English-speaking countries, but that only narrows the selection slightly
Well, why not Taiwan?
5 Reasons Why Teaching English in Taiwan Might be Right for You
1. Entry-level requirements
The requirements for teaching English in Taiwan vary according to the job, but for the majority of cram schools all you need is a University degree in any subject. (A cram school is a language institute where students go to learn English after they have already attended school during the day.) The same goes for working with bilingual kindergartens. Of course, having completed a course that certifies you to teach English as a foreign language is a plus, and can lead to higher paying jobs, not to mention more confidence in the classroom. Happen to have a degree in education? Even better. Now you’re eligible to work in Taiwan’s public school system. Rest assured though, the majority of foreigners teaching English in Taiwan had no prior training upon arrival. One of our good friends and fellow co-teachers even got the job with his degree in Opera. I definitely rocked up with minimal experience and no idea what I was signing myself up for, learning what I needed along the way. Just remember to bring that diploma…
2. Not only can you make money, you can save it
English teachers get paid a lot in Taiwan, with hourly rates typically ranging from $20-$30 USD an hour. You might only be working 20 teaching hours a week, but you can do the math—it adds up. Especially when you keep in mind that living costs in Taiwan are extremely low. It costs $5 USD to fill up my scooter with gas for two weeks. If you’re eating local food, you can expect to pay $3-$5 USD for a meal. Rent varies greatly depending upon the city you live in (Taipei is outlandish), but $300 USD is about average for the island. And speaking from personal experience, I can definitely say my husband and I have saved way more money in Taiwan then we could have during the same time back home. Just don’t blow all your hard-earned money on drinking, and your bank account should be lookin’ good.
*Note: There is a foreigner’s tax of 18% in Taiwan. After 183 days, your rate will drop to 6% and you can file to get the 12% back. Best to think of it as a savings plan…
3. Taiwan is awesome!
Okay, so I know that’s my own opinion. But seriously, Taiwan is an amazing country that often gets overlooked by travelers flocking to its better-known neighbors in Southeast Asia. Which is unfortunate, because Taiwan has a lot to offer expats and tourists alike, all in a country the size of Maryland. (Sorry, my references draw from my American roots.) Think jaw-dropping scenery, outdoor adventures, exotic food, mystical temples, chaotic night markets, friendly people and Far Eastern culture combined with just the right amount of Western amenities. After living in Taiwan for nearly two years, I’m still discovering new places everyday that leave me in awe.
4. Gain skills that will help you in your future career
Before deciding that teaching English was the right decision for me, I was a bit worried. Not worried that I wouldn’t enjoy teaching; worried that two years in the classroom would leave me qualified in a trade I don’t see myself pursuing post-Taiwan. However, upon further reflection, I realize that teaching has trained me in a variety of skills that will boost my resume, regardless of the career I choose. For example, I now have confidence to stand in front of a group of adults twice my age—almost all of them with PhDs—and lecture about business principals in English speaking countries. That confidence can extend into any realm of public speaking. I now know what it’s like to converse in a mix of broken English and Chinese to explain what I need to Taiwanese co-teachers. Need someone with cross-cultural communication experience? I’m your gal. And don’t forget the fact that just going to another country shows cultural awareness, initiative, and self-reliance. Don’t worry too extensively that teaching English abroad will look bad to future employers; rather, embrace it, and gain the skills you want from it.
5. Taiwan is located in the heart of Asia
Everywhere you look in Taiwan, you’ll see the country’s tourism emblem: Taiwan, The heart of Asia. To a certain extent, it’s true. Taiwan has a great location that makes travel to the rest of Asia quick and easy. A hop, skip and a jump from China, Hong Kong and the Philippines, and only a couple hours from the rest of Southeast Asia, committing to a year in Taiwan doesn’t mean you can’t see other countries, too. And if you play your cards right, all the money you save from teaching English will make traveling around the rest of Asia more feasible.
If you want to travel but don’t have the finances to do it, teaching English in Taiwan might just be exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll have to commit to one place as your home base for a year, but hey, what’s one year? And if you’re like me, you might just end up making it two.
So did I do it? Convince you to come hang out in Taiwan? If you want more info, don’t hesitate to check out our blog, chock o’ block full of info about Taiwan. You can also connect with us on facebook and twitter to ask us all your questions! We’d love to help ?