Teaching English in Taiwan

Teaching English as a second language is still one of the most popular sources of income for expats living in Taiwan.

Knowing the English language is becoming a necessity for Taiwanese people, children are required to learn it as a second language at school, and for many companies with a view towards internationalisation it's considered highly beneficial for employees to have at least a basic English ability. This general increase in interest has led to an Anglophylic society, where restaurants and shops have English names more often than Mandarin ones.

For expats, this means that the opportunities to teach English are varied and abundant. There is no restriction on which kind of student one may encounter - even those who aren't required to learn English often seek out lessons in order to satisfy their own desire to communicate in the language.

Living in Taiwan is easy and enjoyable, which means that few people achieve their original goal of staying for only one year; many stay for at least three years and some never leave. This means that the job market is flooded and many people looking for jobs have a lot of experience. Although there are still many jobs available and it is almost unheard of for someone to not find a job at all, it may take a couple of weeks. New arrivals should make sure they have enough money to support themselves while job hunting.

A bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited university in an English speaking country is the basic requirement for employment in Taiwan. One will not be granted an Alien Residence Certificate (ARC) without this. 

Teaching English in buxibans

The majority of jobs are at after-school English learning centres or buxibans. This is where elementary school aged children go in the afternoon for an English-immersion programme. The classes will generally meet for two or three hours a day and the teacher will have the same class for the whole year. Most buxibans have a morning kindergarten operating in the same building, so many expat teachers will teach kindergarten in the morning and buxiban in the afternoon. The English fluency in these classes is generally quite good, as most of the children have been learning since age three. Class size averages about 12 and rarely goes beyond 18.

Other opportunities for teaching English

Local elementary and high schools also hire foreign English teachers. There are about 35 students per class and teachers will have many different classes, each of which they will see for a couple of periods each week.

There are jobs teaching adults in Taiwan but these are less abundant. Students tend to take their studies more seriously and the classes are much smaller, sometimes even one-on-one. For these jobs an expat may be based at an institution where the students will come to the teacher, or the teacher will go to the business and teach there. 

Colleges and universities also offer employment which generally pays better, but one must have a Masters degree to qualify.

Finding a job teaching English in Taiwan

It is easier to find a job from within Taiwan. Most reputable employers want to meet the candidate before they do any hiring. A teacher will be required to attend an interview and to complete a demo lesson. 

Once a teacher is hired the employer will process the necessary paperwork and arrange the work permit. The teacher will then be able to take the work permit along with their passport and rental agreement to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where they can apply for an ARC. This application process is smooth and well run and therefore shouldn't be an inconvenience.

Tealit.com is every foreigner’s link to jobs in Taipei. There is usually at least one new job advertised every day. The beginning-of-the-semester hiring frenzy will see many jobs added daily. It is also a useful site to find accommodation, along with 591.com.tw

Life in Taiwan is nothing if not convenient. Expats often find it very easy to adapt, and will get plenty of assistance from anyone who feels they may have something to offer. Official institutions are well run and the departments which cater to foreigners have clear English instructions and English-speaking employees. All-in-all, life in Taiwan is well-structured and therefore one's arrival and integration into the country should be problem-free.