23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

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23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby richard_g3 » 17 Apr 2012, 06:10

Hi, I plan to move to Taiwan in September for at least 1 year to study Mandarin (I'll be applying for PhD's starting in September 2013 or later and leave when and if I get a place). I recently got rejected for a scholarship so I'd like to find a part time teaching job while I'm there though just so I can have a decent amount of money and be able to spend the full year in Taiwan. I'm a university graduate, BSc Maths (will also have an MSc by September) and have some experience teaching 2 Chinese students individually in Beijing totalling around 150 hours and also volunteered as a Cub and Beaver Scout leader for 3 years (3.5 hours a week) so have experience dealing with children between 6 and 10. I have no formal qualifications in teaching. I have no piercings or tattoos or anything appearancewise that I think would count against me (except quite long hair but I don't mind getting it cut just before I head out to Taiwan, and I'm guessing being white and clearly a Westerner is an advantage, I know it definitely is in China). My questions are:
1. Would Kaohsiung be an OK city to look for work? My friend studied here a few years back and it looks a really interesting place and a nice campus. I have to apply for a Chinese Learning Center by the end of May so I just want to make sure I'd not be at a big disadvantage living there. I also don't want to live in Taibei due to it being so much more expensive, but I hear the rest of the island is quite cheap (for an English person).
2. Would it count against me not being American? My friend seems to think they favour Americans, and the English spoken by the Taiwanese is very Americanised.
3. What kind of pay could I expect? I've seen jobs being advertised for between 700-950, is this fairly standard?
4. Would it be possible to teach maths? I'm capable of teaching anyone below university level but I'm guessing lack of teaching qualifications would rule that out.
5. What would be the best way to find employment? Would it be likely I could secure a job before I went to Taiwan, or would I need to be in Taiwan to find employment? (I've emailed about 10 jobs so far and had no response a week later). And would it be best to search through agents or just dropping into language schools and enquiring about the situation? Any reccommendations on where to apply would be great as well.
6. What are living costs (not including accommodation and language class fees) like outside of Taibei? I like Chinese food, don't have any particularly expensive habits (except playing guitar which is very pricey). (I know this is a hard question and varies from person to person, but I'm naturally a cheapskate, I'm from Manchester... I'd probably just be eating rice, noodles, jiaozi, eggs and meat and I don't really go eat out or go on nights out that often.)

Any help would be much appreciated. Sorry for the excessive use of brackets.

Thank you.

Richard.

Edit: I forgot to mention I spent 5 months studying in Beijing and worked there proofreading English documents as well as studying Mandarin in England in evening classes for a year. So I can speak basic Chinese (around 2,000 words and am OK in practical situations) which I'm guessing should also be an advantage.
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby tomthorne » 17 Apr 2012, 11:15

1. According to reports on foumosa it's not supposed to be too hot for work down there at the moment.
2. Not really. Being North American is an advantage, but it doesn't really matter. The school owners tell the parents that their South African teachers are American and they don't seem to have a clue.
3. 550-750 would be a more realistic range. Getting enough block hours can be more important.
4. Unlikely. You might be able to find a parent who wants her kids taught maths in English as a private class.
5. I don't think a definitive answer to this has ever been reached on forumosa :) . It's just a matter of hard work, applying as much as you can before you get here, and then hitting the streets. I always recommend securing a job before you get here if possible, but others disagree.
6. Don't know down south.

Limited Chinese ability will make no difference to your employment chances. Advanced can help a bit. It's probably best not to let them know you can speak a bit of the lingo. A haircut wouldn't do any harm.
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby tommy525 » 17 Apr 2012, 13:12

I think that if you want to make it in Taiwan you will. The first few months will be tough while you get your Taiwan legs. You may have a few stumbles, but once again, its looking good. Kaohsiung is a great town. I really enjoy it there. Its got far better weather and is much like Taipei. You can always visit Taipei.

The thing with Taiwan is that because its quite different from , say , England, it is going to demand quite a bit of you. If you are going to make it, it will become clear in a few months.

The "danger" if you will is that you WILL adapt and WILL make a life for yourself in Taiwan and then ten years have gone down the river. So it will want commitment from you. Possibly for much of your life. Its going to either be "get in , get out , get on with your life" and treasure the experience (hopefully) or be prepared for the long run. The question is not whether you will make it in Taiwan. You will. But will you be man enough to go distance?

Especially if you meet a TW lassie that you want to keep (and there will be many, but thats another story). Then what? :eek: :D Shes not likely to want to leave the rock, so you have to learn to live on it !
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby the bear » 17 Apr 2012, 13:24

tommy525 wrote:
Especially if you meet a TW lassie that you want to keep (and there will be many, but thats another story). Then what? :eek: :D Shes not likely to want to leave the rock, so you have to learn to live on it !


Tell that to all my many friends who have married here and relocated back to the UK. I think a lot of girls here welcome the opportunity to live in the UK.
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby tommy525 » 17 Apr 2012, 13:28

the bear wrote:
tommy525 wrote:
Especially if you meet a TW lassie that you want to keep (and there will be many, but thats another story). Then what? :eek: :D Shes not likely to want to leave the rock, so you have to learn to live on it !


Tell that to all my many friends who have married here and relocated back to the UK. I think a lot of girls here welcome the opportunity to live in the UK.


REally? well good to hear. Thats not what iv been hearing, but what the heck do I know eh?
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby cranky laowai » 17 Apr 2012, 13:43

richard_g3 wrote:I plan to move to Taiwan in September for at least 1 year to study Mandarin (I'll be applying for PhD's starting in September 2013 or later and leave when and if I get a place).... I'd like to find a part time teaching job while I'm there though just so I can have a decent amount of money and be able to spend the full year in Taiwan.

A couple things to keep in mind:
  • Studying while on a work-related visa: no problem.
  • Working while on a study-related visa: deportation if caught. (Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. But the general idea is correct.)
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby Deuce Dropper » 17 Apr 2012, 13:48

Just come. I have been in Taiwan over a decade and even though I do not teach, a lot of my friends do and I have noticed that the people with a average to good head on their shoulders (you don't even need a great one, though if you do have one Taiwan is your oyster) do just fine here, and it is only the dolts or the ones 'who just don't seem to get it' that struggle and complain.

Arrive on the island, make friends, get involved in sports or whatever other activity you like and start to build up friendships, the social life here is fucking fabulous and there are a shitload of good people in the foreign community. Get out of your apartment, do shit and meet people, it will be 1000X more beneficial than any language class, buxiban session or online post ever will. The people I have met here in the foreign community are genuine, and willing to help in anyway they can. Yeah, you will come across a few people who are scammers or on the take, but is that any different from home?
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby richard_g3 » 17 Apr 2012, 16:13

Thanks for all the help. I'll be much better suited to adapt than most English people due to spending around 8 months in China and the fact I love different cultures. Am not really after a TW girl, nothing wrong with them but don't think it's my thing. I want to take classes mainly to improve my reading and writing and learn the traditional characters rather than the simplified ones I learnt in Beijing. The classes are only 15 hours a week so I'd have plenty of time to socialise afterwards and from what my friend says it's very easy to make friends Taiwanese friends. Didn't really learn much in class in Beijing speaking wise, learnt 90% of my Chinese outside of it but without the classes I wouldn't be able to read and write at all.

Are there any towns where it's easier to find work at the moment? Getting the scholarship would have made things so much easier, I just know if I get there I'll end up in a class with someone getting the scholarship who is lazy and undeserving but that's just the way things go.

Am not really looking to make it in Taiwan, just to be able to sustain myself for a year. But I'll have to watch out and make sure I don't get too attached to the place, I found it hard to leave Beijing after only 5 months there. The biggest danger is if I get rejected for PhD's and end up just staying in Taiwan and teaching English, nothing wrong with teaching English but it seems to me that most language schools are just about making a profit and I'd not find that so rewarding in the long term.

I'd much prefer to teach maths, but I think the chances of me finding a TW person who wants to learn maths in English is pretty low, it just seems silly for me to teach English when I'd be much better at maths.
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby tomthorne » 17 Apr 2012, 16:21

richard_g3 wrote:
Are there any towns where it's easier to find work at the moment?


The rule of thumb is the worse the location, the better the teaching opportunities. You'll have no trouble finding work in Hsinchu or Taoyuan.
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Re: 23 year old White English guy planning to move to Taiwan.

Postby superking » 17 Apr 2012, 16:24

tommy525 wrote:
the bear wrote:
tommy525 wrote:
Especially if you meet a TW lassie that you want to keep (and there will be many, but thats another story). Then what? :eek: :D Shes not likely to want to leave the rock, so you have to learn to live on it !


Tell that to all my many friends who have married here and relocated back to the UK. I think a lot of girls here welcome the opportunity to live in the UK.


REally? well good to hear. Thats not what iv been hearing, but what the heck do I know eh?



Some do, some don't. Sample bias. It is really case by case with many variables including (but not exhaustive) age of spouse, nature of spousal personality and desires, level of English of spouse, relationship situation between spouse and family, money, employment options of husband in Taiwan and in home country, friendship ties, child rearing concerns, political situation in home country of husband, desire/pressure from husband to re-locate etc.
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