Further information on Taiwan

Further information on Taiwan

Banking

Banking hours are generally from 08:00-17:00, Monday through Friday, except on public and bank holidays. Credit cards are somewhat more acceptable but mainly restricted to the larger cities, such as Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. Please notify your bank before you depart your home country. Foreign cards will be accepted at ATMs, but there are fees associated with this process.

Cost of living

Taiwan offers a great opportunity for teachers to earn and save money; it is an affordable and comfortable place to live and work. Renting an apartment is also very cheap. Apartment rental in Taiwan will cost you between 8,000 and 12,000 New Taiwan Dollars ($NT) per month. Budget for approximately 1000 – 2,000 $NT per month for wifi, electricity and water, although this can vary greatly depending on how much you use air-con. For more information on what to budget for in Taiwan, see our suggested budget.

Food

A proper Taiwanese meal may consist of a soup, tofu, a meat or fish dish with condiments, and vegetables. Beef noodle soup is one of the more popular dishes. There must be a harmony of tastes and textures within individual dishes and the entire meal. Some meals in Taiwan may be spicy, please be aware of this when ordering food.

Eating out
Some apartments in Taiwan may have cooking facilities; although be aware that you may have to pay extra for apartments that include a larger kitchen. A meal such as rice with chicken or pork should cost between 90 and 150 $NT per meal at a food stall or local restaurant. Eating at local restaurants will save you money and will give you a chance to really experience the food culture of Taiwan. There are several restaurants where you will be able to find Western food, but be aware that it will be very expensive when compared to the local cuisine. KFC, McDonalds, and other Western food chains can be found all over the larger cities of Taiwan if you are struggling with the Taiwanese food.

Housing and internet

There is a diverse range of accommodation in Taiwan. The city center consists mainly of condos and Serviced Apartments, but there are also some houses and townhouses available. Please refer to our accommodation samples page to view images of what you can expect. The terms of lease are monthly. Do not hesitate to negotiate especially if you are signing a long-term lease. A deposit is required usually between 1 – 3 months’ rent. You may forfeit the deposit if you leave prior to the lease expiry date. It is recommended to buy a map or location guide which list apartments and condominiums in Taiwan when apartment/condominium hunting. Some apartments include readily available maintenance and repair-services, 24 hours security and facilities such as a gym, pool, garden or children’s play area.

Internet
High speed (broadband) internet is available almost everywhere, including fairly populous places in the outer provinces. 7-11 convenience stores throughout Taiwan offer free wifi. Many hotels, pubs, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi hotspots.

Medical facilities

Medical facilities have a good reputation and are well known to cater to foreign patients. Kuang Tien General Hospital is the most popular among residents in the Taipei area. Generally you can find all you need for minor ailments or illnesses at a pharmacy, no prescription is required. Dental work is also very inexpensive for foreigners.

Shopping

Again, a wide range of makes, both local and imported goods are available with prices often relative to quality and/or brand name. Prices vary widely with where you buy!

Local Goods $NT $ US
Work trousers 400 $ 13
Work shirt 200 $ 6
Skirts 300 + $ 10
T-Shirts 100 + $ 3
Underwear (male) 100 + $ 3
Underwear (female) 100 + $ 3
Jeans 400 + $ 13
Shoes 500 + $ 16
Beach Wear 200 + $ 6
Suits 4000 + $ 130
Local Goods $NT $ US
Soap 50 $ 2
Shampoo 150 $ 5
Toothpaste 30 $ 1
Toothbrushes 50 $ 2
Toilet Paper 20 $ 0.60
Deodorant 90 $ 3
Shaving Cream 100 $ 3
Cosmetics 250 + $ 11


Conversions updated on 30/09/2016 using Oanda

Taiwan culture

Taiwan culture is vastly different from Western culture, and so, before traveling to this small island you should find out about the essential 'do and don't s'. Here are just a few, but important rules.

  • Do Smile - People in Taiwan are friendly and hospitable. It is common to smile to say hello or thank you, to make a request, to apologize, to smooth over bad feeling or to show embarrassment.
  • Do show respect for their culture - Taiwanese people show great respect for their independence from China and they expect visitors to do so too. You should never insult or joke about Taiwan being a part of China.
  • Do show respect for their main religion (Buddhism) for the Buddha, and for monks - Shorts or tank tops should not be worn in any temples, and shoes should be removed before entering. It is considered very improper for women to touch a monk.
  • Do shake hands when meeting others - Taiwanese generally shake hands when meeting anyone new. They do not normally bow like many other Asian countries.
  • Do not wear shoes indoors -This is quite hard for a westerner to follow as, without realizing it, we will walk into a place with our shoes on. It is common to purchase 'house shoes' that are worn only indoors.
  • Do not stand your chopsticks up in your rice bowl - Instead place them flat on your dish. Chopsticks are the most commonly used utensil. When eating soup is it also accepted that you will bring the bowl to your mouth and slurp the broth.

Transportation

Taiwan has a well-developed transportation system. Its main components are described briefly below, but anyone going to Taiwan would be well advised to take a good guidebook along. To get around in urban areas, most people ride the subway or metro, buses, taxis, or motor scooters.

Buses and Taxis
In Taiwan, traveling by bus is one of the most common methods of getting around because of an intricate system of one-way streets and bus lanes. This mode of transportation may be the most difficult for foreigners due to the lack of English speaking drivers or English names of the destinations. Some foreigners book long trips on the air conditioned buses where they can buy tickets at bus station.

Metered taxis are available in major cities. Metered taxis fares start at around 90 $NT (US $3); however, during rush hour the fare increases based on the amount of time the taxi stands still. Taxis are more usually the most expensive form of travel; you can get a taxi by waving them down as they drive by, but it is better to keep the name and phone number of your local taxi driver. Call your driver when needed and always ask them to use the meter when you travel.

Air Travel
By far the easiest and fastest way to get from city to city is by air. Domestic flights in Taiwan are fairly inexpensive and usually offer specials or promotions to fly to neighboring countries. Check out these airlines below:

www.flyvair.com
www.evaair.com

Trains
Traveling by train in Taiwan is an experience you should not miss. There are limits on where the train can take you, but if you can get close to your destination, you will appreciate the comfort, safety, and scenery viewing opportunities that trains offer. When traveling long distances, most budget travelers will purchase train tickets as they are generally clean, safe, and convenient. To travel to another city by train, you should reserve a ticket ahead of time at the train station especially during holidays. One of the best resources for train travel information can be found on this website:

www.seat61.com

What to pack

Consider where you are going when determining what to pack in terms of clothing.

  • For those with big or wide feet, shoes in big or wide sizes
  • Plug adapters - if you are bringing in any electrical equipment
  • As a teacher, you are expected to follow dress code of Taiwanese schools. Dress smart when teaching
  • Your original degree / diploma and other documents for paid teaching positions
  • Clothing appropriate for all seasons as Taiwan experiences a range of climates from hot and humid summers to cold winters

Frequently asked questions

School questions:

What are the working hours? And days per week?
6-8 hours per day Monday to Saturday. Only about 5-7 actual “in class” hours, depending on the school.

Are there sports after school activities that you have to attend or teach?
Not always, some schools may offer such opportunities, and if you have skills in a certain area, you may discuss that with your supervisor. There may be concerts, after extra activities, sport, or culture days that you may be required to attend.

What are the age groups you will be teaching?
Anything from primary school to high school and college, between the ages of 7 and 21.

Does the school provide lunch?
No, but you may be given a break time to eat during your work hours.

What if you are unhappy in a job? Can you get a new one?
We are only responsible for placing you in one school you accept after your interview and their offer, but if a teacher dislikes the position and they have a good reason, then we can move them. This will take a bit of time and it is required to give at least one month notice before resigning from the first school.

What is the dress code for teaching?
Work trousers and button and collar shirts for men and full length dresses or work trousers and collar blouses for women. You may be permitted to wear jeans and a school shirt, but this varies depending on your placement.

Must the teacher take a resume with them to Taiwan?
Yes.

Can couples be placed together?
This can be done but not necessarily at the same school, perhaps only at schools within the same town.This may take a little longer than individual placements.

What is the level of English and behavior of students?
Depending on the school location, big city – great English level. Small city – not so great. Asian children are also very well-mannered and respectful, although classroom management skills are imperative and this is something we focus on during the TESOL Course.

What curriculum do they follow at the schools?
There is no set national curriculum, each school has their own and they will inform you what is required of you in terms of annual or quarterly topics that need to be covered.

Do your colleagues at public and private schools speak English?
Yes some of them do, but often not all of them.

Will you work with any special needs children?
No

What are the expected deductions from your pay check? Does is differ from school to school?
Yes it may differ. Some schools deduct tax starting at 18% until you have worked 183 days in the school year and then it will be reduced to 5%. It is best to ask your financial office at the school about this concern.

What are the chances of getting a salary increase?
If you do a great job and get along with your employers and colleagues, show commitment and apply for an extended work permit you may receive a salary increase. This depends on the school and area you are placed in.

What are the chances of teaching English in neighboring countries?
Very good, Global Teaching Adventures can arrange this for you.

What is the big difference between language schools, private schools, and government schools?
You may find different starting times, class sizes, and salary. Most language schools will work alongside the curriculum of the public school system and you may be asked to help the students with their classwork or projects from their other schools.

What happens if you lose your job? Can you get a new one?
If you are fired, Global Teaching Adventures will no longer help with placement.

Are you expected to work during school holidays?
Not normally, this will depend on the school.

Visa questions:

Can one renew working contract and visa without leaving the country?
Yes you can. You can speak to your school about the details.

How long is the work permit (ARC) valid for?
One year, but you must remain employed with that school or company during that time. Once you are no longer employed, your ARC will no longer be valid.

What type of visa will we be working on?
You will enter Taiwan with a tourist visa and the school will apply for your ARC once you have begun working. You will be required to go through a health check at the local hospital. Most schools provide assistance in this area but some do not.

General questions:

What is an average living expense per day in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Local food and a drink will cost about 500 $NT per day for three full meals. Western food will cost about 800 $NT per day.

What are the basic travel expenses per day?
Traveling in non-major cities via train or bus will be the most inexpensive way to travel, while purchasing a motor scooter may be the most economical choice overall. Some schools may require you to travel to various cities and this cost will be reimbursed at the end of each month.

Transportation from accommodation to work – will this be provided?
This will not be provided, but public transport in Taiwan is very good and it is common for foreigners to rent a motor scooter, at your own cost, while working in Taiwan.

How safe is it in Taiwan?
Extremely safe. Walking home late at night is generally safe and crime is relatively low.

Will we receive any Mandarin language training?
No, there will be no language training required. You can find schools or universities where they offer inexpensive Mandarin classes.

What is the possibility of getting a second job to make more money?
Very possible, you can often find opportunities for one on one tutoring or extra English classes.

How difficult is the TESOL course? Can one fail?
Yes, one can fail, but if we see that a client is not doing well, we will suggest that they upgrade to our 'with tutor package'.

Can you drink tap water?
No.

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