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Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

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Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

Postby Evlesoa » 13 Apr 2012, 09:33

Hello everyone,

I'm in a weird situation and I could really use some help. First of all, I'm European (I hold a passport from Latvia). I don't officially have American citizenship certificate, but I do have an American passport because my mom became a citizen at the age 17 (my age, not hers); this legally makes me capable of obtaining a passport through her, while skipping the extras. Secondly, I do not have a degree because I'm doing this on an extremely short notice and unable to finish school (I'm like 10 credits away from obtaining an Associate's. I JUST turned 21 this year). HOWEVER, I have a TESOL certification (obtained from SIT Graduate Institute), my grammar knowledge is of high degree, and I have quite a bit of working experience (as well as reference letters from school). Right now, I am working at a tutoring center.

Now, I have a few question, but before that...

The tickets have been bought for June 11th. I have literally two months. I do NOT have a return flight ticket. I do have about $4000 saved up in cash (hopefully it will be a bit more by then), and plan to attend a Mandarin learning center. NEXT, my plan is to attend a university to major into something different (fresh start, since I do not want to continue Computer Engineering). While I do that, I am hoping to find something I can do to survive. If I don't, the obvious choice is to disappear from the face of the earth in some super-rural area in North-Eastern China (completely serious here, as I do not want to return to U.S. by any means).

Now that I have said everything that there is to it, here's what I'm wondering about.

1. Do I need a return flight ticket? As I said, I have contacted the Mandarin Learning Center and they said to send them some documents and stuff but I'm not sure about this due to time constraints--I wanted to go there in person and apply.

2. I have a bunch of ear piercings. The number may scare you, because it's 6 on each ear. I assure, it's nothing freaky. They are all in line and look neat. I can't take them out for about 6 months because they are cartilage and [if I took them out] would cause bacteria to be trapped under skin causing some major infection; basically, the jewelry acts as a duct for bodily fluids to leave. I want to add a couple eyebrow piercings as well, but I do not know if I can do that now... Can I do that? I am EUROPEAN after all, and piercings are ok (even now, I work with kids which are K-12 and they are OK with it). There is no discrimination there or here in New York City like there is in Taiwan--I hope that Taiwanese would understand this considering I am white, and the fact that I do not know the country's culture like they do. But still, I'm wondering if it's OK to add a couple eyebrow piercings or stay with what I have on my ears. It's style, and fashion, so I hope I'm not negatively judged (there's no logic behind why piercings make me a bad teacher / tutor, or a bad person, considering my English is far more advanced than some of those so-called "interpreters" they hire).

3. Job wise. How do I go about it? I know it's going to be tough, but what can I do with the information given here?

With this being said, I greatly, greatly appreciate any help from anyone. It would be a tremendous help.
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Re: Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

Postby TaFCoML » 13 Apr 2012, 11:31

To my knowledge, to work as an English teacher (legally) you need: a passport from an English speaking country (US, UK, RSA, Aus, etc) and a uni degree. I've heard of non-English speaking country people getting work, but they've had uni degrees and the work has been under the table sort of stuff. You don't need a return flight, but a booking reference or something like that would help (apparently you can ask a travel agent to get you one that you can cancel - I'm sure someone else will have more info about this). And the piercings would unfortunately in most situations be judged in a negative light methinks - especially if you're wanting to be a teacher.

I'd recommend finishing that degree, getting the US passport, and waiting till the piercings are removable. Best not to risk such an expensive move when you'd be in a much better position (I assume) in a few months. Best of luck :)
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Re: Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

Postby Evlesoa » 13 Apr 2012, 12:05

What about cram schools? Does that have to be legal? I have a passport, yes, but not a uni degree... at least, not yet. I have to get away from here no matter what--it doesn't matter what country at this point, because I am in a seriously bad spot; my mom lives in shelter, and my room mate (who charges no rent fee because we've been friends for a decade now) is moving to a different state. This means I can't live with either of them... Uhm, I do plan to go back to school, but hopefully it will be in Taiwan. What am I going to do... finishing a degree means I will be here for many years because I can't work and go to school at the same time (literally, my travel times are around 4 hours each day). I might end up going back to Europe if this isn't going to work out... :(

Edit - I noticed a lot of people's TESOL is like 60 to 80 hours... my TESOL course was like 160 hours. Does that make any difference?

By the way, thanks for the insight you've given me.
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Re: Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

Postby bigduke6 » 13 Apr 2012, 12:18

The same applies to cram schools. You need a degree or an associate degree and TEFL to get a legal job.
Secondly, the job market is not great at the moment. You will be competing with plenty who can work legally.
Thirdly, your piercings will ensure you will not get a job.

Be very aware of this before you waste the money you have coming here.

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Re: Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

Postby Feiren » 13 Apr 2012, 12:31

Hello

Do you have at least a high school degree? You will need that to go to the MTC.

I'm not sure about needing return flight ticket. Just apply to the Taiwan rep office where you live and get your visa. I think it's unlikely that you will be turned away for not having a return ticket if you are a US citizen arriving from the US to study. If you are, you can just fly to Hong Kong and get a return ticket there and you should be fine (although tired). The situation on this is always changing, so please don't rely on this.

In the past, it has been possible to work part time (up to 20 hours a week I think) legally after studying at a university-affiliated Mandarin Training Center for a year. I think this is still the case. Don't expect to get to much info from the MTC about this since they are afraid of people coming here and working illegally. But if you have US$4,000, you can probably afford to come and study for about six months without working. That should give you enough time to learn the ropes and survive for the next six months. This would also be a good idea because you can get a good start on learning Chinese, which is very important to do when you FIRST come because many people never learn because they always plan to start later.

To save money, I would advise you to NOT study in Taipei. It is the New York of Taiwan and much more expensive than other places and there is more competition from other foreigners. Here is a list of Mandarin Training Centers:

Instead, go live and study in a cheap, nicer place. I personally would choose Hualian (Tzuchi U) or National Cheng Kung University in Tainan because these are cheaper nicer places to live (esp. Hualian).

The easiest place to find work in Taiwan is Taoyuan Co, so you might consider Chung Yuan Christian University in Zhongli. Taoyuan is a lawless industrial hell hole. They won't care about your piercings there.

In general. I don't think the piercings will be much of an issue in Taiwan although it might be harder to find work teaching kids. Taiwan has a way of working out for most people. Go for it!
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Re: Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

Postby Evlesoa » 13 Apr 2012, 12:40

Hmm, well... seems I am screwed, haha. But Feiren has interesting information. I sent you a PM.
Evlesoa
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Re: Going to Taiwan early June, need some major advice!

Postby Pingdong » 16 Apr 2012, 03:55

study Chinese full time and get a student visa. what you do with the rest of your day is your bizniss.
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