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HESS as a newb + 101 questions

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HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby danehidden » 23 Nov 2008, 01:11

I have searched the boards over a few times looking for this info so please forgive me if this is a thorough repost of someone else's post but this is the info I have found an the remaining questions that I have.

I am about two and a half months from boarding a plane headed for Taipei. I have been researching this for about three months now and from what I can see HESS offers the best deal for an absolute newb. According to what I have read they will provide round trip air fare, an ARC, TEFL Cert, a week of training, and assistance getting situated. From what I have read in recent informative/job posts they start pay at 600-750 NT/hr and you can work from twenty to thirty hours a week. I have little trouble with math and according to my math if I worked twenty five hours a week at 600/hr I would earn 60k/mo. Less taxes for the first 6 mos. I would earn 48000/mo. I am not sure how much that really is. From what I have seen I can get a room for 5,500 to 10,000 mo. I could eat decently for about 5,000 mo. I am not really much of a drinker so that really wouldn't eat much of my income. I am considering getting a Scooter when I get over there, how does the insurance and tag work? Are there any hidden taxes or fees that I should be aware of? I don't mind being poor I just hate, with a prejudice, being flat broke. I mean as long as I can keep the money I have saved up and not have to dip into it every month and I am able to save a little while not eating card board and living under a bridge I know I can handle that.

On the topic of taxes, how do they work over there? are they deducted automatically? how do you file a return?
Also I have about two dozen websites that I pay for hosting on. I would like to keep my account here in the US and use it to pay recurring expenses such as the web host, and student loans. Does anyone know what the best way to transfer money into a US account is? I was thinking PayPal. Tie a Taiwan Bank account to a PP account and use the PP account to send my US PP account money that will go into US checking account viola I have avoided exchange an wire and bank fees(maybe). Anyone have experience with that and know the best way to go about it?

If you have personal experience with going to teach in Taiwan through HESS, your personal story would be the most helpful to me.

Not to offend anyone but I have no interest in becoming a lifelong teacher. I am a BS CS student. I just really want to see the world a half dozen decades before I'm retired. The way I see this is as a means to reach that goal. I figure I'll teach in Taiwan for three to five years and in the middle of those years I'll take mini-vacations to Japan, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, and maybe Dubai over in the UAE.

I would really appreciate any constructive comments or especially anyone with direct experience with HESS.

Thank you all.
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby craya » 23 Nov 2008, 01:34

danehidden wrote:I have searched the boards over a few times looking for this info so please forgive me if this is a thorough repost of someone else's post but this is the info I have found an the remaining questions that I have.

I am about two and a half months from boarding a plane headed for Taipei. I have been researching this for about three months now and from what I can see HESS offers the best deal for an absolute newb. According to what I have read they will provide round trip air fare, an ARC, TEFL Cert, a week of training, and assistance getting situated. From what I have read in recent informative/job posts they start pay at 600-750 NT/hr and you can work from twenty to thirty hours a week. I have little trouble with math and according to my math if I worked twenty five hours a week at 600/hr I would earn 60k/mo. Less taxes for the first 6 mos. I would earn 48000/mo. I am not sure how much that really is. From what I have seen I can get a room for 5,500 to 10,000 mo. I could eat decently for about 5,000 mo. I am not really much of a drinker so that really wouldn't eat much of my income. I am considering getting a Scooter when I get over there, how does the insurance and tag work? Are there any hidden taxes or fees that I should be aware of? I don't mind being poor I just hate, with a prejudice, being flat broke. I mean as long as I can keep the money I have saved up and not have to dip into it every month and I am able to save a little while not eating card board and living under a bridge I know I can handle that.

On the topic of taxes, how do they work over there? are they deducted automatically? how do you file a return?
Also I have about two dozen websites that I pay for hosting on. I would like to keep my account here in the US and use it to pay recurring expenses such as the web host, and student loans. Does anyone know what the best way to transfer money into a US account is? I was thinking PayPal. Tie a Taiwan Bank account to a PP account and use the PP account to send my US PP account money that will go into US checking account viola I have avoided exchange an wire and bank fees(maybe). Anyone have experience with that and know the best way to go about it?

If you have personal experience with going to teach in Taiwan through HESS, your personal story would be the most helpful to me.

Not to offend anyone but I have no interest in becoming a lifelong teacher. I am a BS CS student. I just really want to see the world a half dozen decades before I'm retired. The way I see this is as a means to reach that goal. I figure I'll teach in Taiwan for three to five years and in the middle of those years I'll take mini-vacations to Japan, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, and maybe Dubai over in the UAE.

I would really appreciate any constructive comments or especially anyone with direct experience with HESS.

Thank you all.



What? They start at 650-700 an hour now? I got an interview in March just for S&G and the woman was telling me you'll start at $570 an hour; thats even with 2 years experience, and I'm also in the MA teaching program at a university in Taiwan.
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby danehidden » 23 Nov 2008, 05:14

craya wrote:What? They start at 650-700 an hour now? I got an interview in March just for S&G and the woman was telling me you'll start at $570 an hour; thats even with 2 years experience, and I'm also in the MA teaching program at a university in Taiwan.


Maybe they are trying to jerk you around or maybe the ads are not totally realistic. But the ads on tealit and else where such as my university job board say the starting pay is between 600 and 750 per hour. However, This also may depend on location, their website says between 560 and 750 per hour.

Craya being that you've spent a couple of years there would you like to tell me about the taxation and how that all works?

I'm not sure that I care where I'm located. I know that the island is small so I could get around by scooter and tour the whole place.
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby housecat » 23 Nov 2008, 05:25

craya wrote: and I'm also in the MA teaching program at a university in Taiwan.


What? There's an MA teaching program at a university in Taiwan?!!
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby petrarch1603 » 23 Nov 2008, 06:26

It seems like it really pays to arrive before July 1st. If you make 60k a month, the difference between arriving before July 1st and after it comes out to over $1500 USD.
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby CraigTPE » 23 Nov 2008, 06:47

danehidden wrote:
craya wrote:What? They start at 650-700 an hour now? I got an interview in March just for S&G and the woman was telling me you'll start at $570 an hour; thats even with 2 years experience, and I'm also in the MA teaching program at a university in Taiwan.


Maybe they are trying to jerk you around or maybe the ads are not totally realistic. But the ads on tealit and else where such as my university job board say the starting pay is between 600 and 750 per hour. However, This also may depend on location, their website says between 560 and 750 per hour.

Craya being that you've spent a couple of years there would you like to tell me about the taxation and how that all works?

I'm not sure that I care where I'm located. I know that the island is small so I could get around by scooter and tour the whole place.

I don't believe they pay that high, either. They are reputed to be one of the lower paying establishments in the industry, although they do provide training and a set curriculum, which makes it easy for new teachers. When you see a pay range, you can be sure you will start at the bottom. There is a lot of downward pressure on wages recently. First is the endless supply of fresh faces arriving every day willing to work for entry level pay. Second, the economy here is tanking too. The demand for ESL teachers is going down. The language school I'm contracted through already sent an e-mail to teachers telling them to expect fewer hours next term. A friend I know who runs a small cram school said he's already had a student pulled whose family's business went bankrupt. This all may be anecdotal, but take it from people on the front line, it's not likely they're really paying 650-750, particularly not for new teachers.

Taiwan isn't THAT small that you can circumnavigate it very easily by scooter. Also, if they place you in a small town, be ready to work on your Chinese.

As for taxes, by law they have to take out 20% for the first 6 months. That's because for people who stay here less than 6 months, that's the tax rate. It's insurance for the government in case you bail. If you stay longer than 6 months, the withholding rate drops to 6%. When you file your taxes, assuming you stayed longer than 6 months, you will get back the difference for the first 6 months.

The idea of using Paypal to transfer money is interesting. I'm not sure that you can have 2 different bank accounts in two different countries linked to the same account. I've been on hold with them for a while to find out. I couldn't find anything on their web site.

EDIT: I spoke to Paypal and it doesn't seem that it would be economical except for very small transfers, perhaps, because Paypal is a percentage and wire transfers are generally a flat fee.

You can't have a Taiwan bank and a US bank linked to the same PayPal account. You could open a Paypal account in Taiwan and send money to a US account or address, but there are naturally lots of fees: The usual 2.9% Paypal transfer fee, a 1% transborder fee and a 2.5% currency conversion fee.
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby barfomcgee » 23 Nov 2008, 09:50

CraigTPE wrote:EDIT: I spoke to Paypal and it doesn't seem that it would be economical except for very small transfers, perhaps, because Paypal is a percentage and wire transfers are generally a flat fee.

You can't have a Taiwan bank and a US bank linked to the same PayPal account. You could open a Paypal account in Taiwan and send money to a US account or address, but there are naturally lots of fees: The usual 2.9% Paypal transfer fee, a 1% transborder fee and a 2.5% currency conversion fee.

I used Paypal to transfer money back to the US when I lived in Thailand. I had two Paypal accounts; one with my US bank account, another with my Thai bank account. The exchange rate was pretty reasonable but I did have to pay a 4% transfer fee. So you're right that it's only practical for amounts under $200 -- I was using it to pay monthly credit card bills back in the US. Bank transfers always ended up costing $40 or more -- $10 fee at the sending bank, $10 taken out along the way, and $20 from my receiving bank.

I tried setting up an account to do the same thing in Taiwan, but for some reason I couldn't get my Taiwanese account to work with Paypal. Instead, I simply sent my FirstBank ATM card to my sister in the US; she withdraws money for me every month and deposits it into my US account.
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby craya » 23 Nov 2008, 12:58

housecat wrote:
craya wrote: and I'm also in the MA teaching program at a university in Taiwan.


What? There's an MA teaching program at a university in Taiwan?!!

Maybe I wasn't clear, but there are a few universities that have MA programs for TESL/TEFL/TESOL.

Tunghai University (Taichung) is the one I'm enrolled at, although on a year long break. National Kaohsiung Uni, Providence Uni (in Taichung), National Pingdong Uni of Education are others that I know about; although I've been told Tunghai's is much better. There is also the "elite" one at Shi-Da. I'm not sure about NCCU though.

There are also a few PhD programs too; Shi-Da and NCCU are the only two I know about.
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby danehidden » 23 Nov 2008, 16:25

Interesting . I thought about the ATM card thing too. how does that work out? $2.50US out of network fee for the US side of the transaction, what does your bank charge for using an out of network ATM? how does the money exchange? Do you think I could write myself a check from my Taiwan account and mail it to my US branch with a deposit slip? I found that Citi has branches in TW and the US so I wonder if anyone has experience with them and having accounts? maybe there would be no or minimal fees if the ATM card was used at a Citi branch in the US?

The ESOL work I have done is on a voluntary basis and I have taught native spanish speakers for 300 hours. It's a community out reach center here in south Floriduh. We use Rosetta stone and have a complete book set donated to us from the local school system. It's adequate but I have had to work out my own lesson plans and I am still not great at it. Does anyone know how HESS does overall with that stuff? Is it totally structured or is there still a ton left up to the FT? I wouldn't mind studying their material so that I know what I am expected to cover.

On another note. My Mom has an International business bachelors degree from a State university and speaks German, Italian, and English fluently. She was born in Germany but has been a naturalized citizen for about 20 years now. She worked at Wamu as a mortgage underwriter. They laid all the mortgage people off and offered her a job but she didn't want to sell her house and move so she's been pretty hard up for work. What do you think the likely hood of her being able to find work teaching a business english class is?

as far as the scooter thing. I've had a motorcycle as my only form of transportation before and it was a GSXR 600, not the most comfortable ride in the world but it was mine for a little over two years Rain and wind and hail and all. That bike took many many many 600+ mile rides with me on it. Being that the country is only about 245 miles long and 90 miles at its widest I think I could tool around in my free time. I'd go for a 250cc or better or maybe another Motorcycle.

How does the automobile insurance/Tag stuff work? I see ads where people say that the insurance is paid for another 6 months or so. What does that mean?

EDIT: Oh yeah and I fully intend to learn as much Chinese as I can. I used Rosetta stone over the summer and learned how to say boy girl woman man dog cat horse airplane car etc.. I wasn't very in to it as my regular school stuff was pretty taxing as it is at the moment. But I will begin with it again in December and as long as everything goes well I'll be on a plane in February
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Re: HESS as a newb + 101 questions

Postby CraigTPE » 23 Nov 2008, 17:35

Not in order that you brought them up, but here are some comments to your last post.

In the US, I too was a motorcycle rider; a 750cc Kawasaki crotch rocket. Taiwan, however, isn't the US. First, you won't likely be getting anything over a 250cc scooter because they are heavily regulated and taxed by the government. They are righteously expensive and the registration fees are high. What's commonly ridden here are 125 and 150cc scooters. Additionally, scooters are not allowed on highways, and only recently did the government decide to let bikes over 500cc on a select few highways, which relegates you to narrow, mountainous roads. (Taiwan is not like S Florida, which is flatter than piss on a platter, as my dad used to say.) Mountainous roads may be scenic, but not conducive for getting anywhere quickly.

You will have a hard time registering a vehicle in your name until you get an ARC and a local driver's license. Most people have friends do it for them. Although an international drivers license says it's valid for a year, Taiwan accepts them for only 1 month. That being said, I've been stopped a couple times and no one has cared
Don't plan on using checks here, either. Doesn't happen. People pay cash or credit cards for everything and pay their bills at local convenience stores. In my 3+ years here, there was one temporary part time job that payed my by check. When I presented it for deposit at the bank, it pretty much took the bank president to authorize it. You will likely get paid cash, or direct deposit as long as you get an account at the same bank where your school banks.

It doesn't matter if Citi has banks in Taiwan and in the US. They are still separate corporate entities and you could not access your US account here as if you were at just another branch. International banking doesn't work that way. The only benefit might be slightly lower wire transfer fees.

Using one bank's ATM card at another bank is really cheap here, but I'm not sure how it would work if you used a Taiwan bank's card in the US. You would need to ask your bank. I used my Taiwan ATM in Japan once, but I can't remember what the fee's were.

The most plentiful ESL teaching gigs are teaching elementary age kids. It's not impossible to find a job teaching business English to adults, but those jobs are rare. If your mom doesn't want to sell her house and move within the US, what makes you think she'd want to move to Taiwan??

As for specifics on working for Hess, there are several threads on the topic. Do a search and you will find all the info you could possibly want.
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