Taiwan teaching jobs are considered lucrative and extremely easy to get, or so many people think. Perhaps ten to twenty years ago this was true. Back then the pay was high considering the cost of living in Taiwan and jobs were plentiful. You really didn’t need any kind of experience or qualifications to be hired as an English teacher. Overtime this has changed and it is no longer the case. ESL jobs in Taiwan today have become extremely competitive and in high demand. So what is it like teaching English in Taiwan and how far will your wage go? Read on to discover what life is like as an ESL teacher in Taiwan today.
The average pay for teaching jobs in Taiwan has not gone up over the last ten years. Most positions pay around 600NT per hour, which is approximately $ 18 – $ 19 USD per hour. This sounds good and considering that all you need is a Bachelor’s degree I guess it is. However, something that you shouldn’t neglect is that jobs are becoming increasingly scarce as more and more people move to Taiwan to teach and the English market in Taiwan becomes over-saturated with schools all trying to attract students from a limited supply. What this means for you as a teacher is that you can expect to look longer and harder for vacant positions than ever before. Also, be prepared to teach the absolute minimum hours per week. Gone are the days where you would be asked to do classes seven days a week, by no means would I recommend you teach seven days a week but there was enough demand in the past that you could easily work this much if you wanted.
So how far is your teaching wage going to get you in Taiwan? Average work hours are around 14 to 20 hours a week. Tax on foreigners is 18% for the first six months that you arrive so you will take home about $ 1,100 USD a month. Rent will cost you about $ 300 – $ 500 USD per month depending on which city you live in and the kind of life style you live. Food and other expenses will run another $ 300 – $ 500 a month, again depending on how you like to live. Having said all of this, most teachers in Taiwan report that they can save about $ 500 to $ 1,000 USD per month. I would say that $ 1,000 USD a month in savings now would be increasingly difficult to pull off, unless you had two or three jobs, and $ 500 would be a much safer estimate. Teaching English in Taiwan is no longer the gold mine that it was in the past.
So how can you make the most of Taiwan and being an ESL teacher if you are set on coming? First, don’t live beyond your means. Be prepared to live a quiet life where you are either at work, or hanging with friends at home or some similar place. This doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have fun, but I would strongly suggest avoiding many of the expat places as they typically are extremely expensive and frequenting them would make saving money near impossible.
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