Spotlight On: Taiwan

300px-siouguluan-river-hualien-ta.jpgWho wouldn’t want to live and work on the world’s seventh highest island, which also has a name meaning “beautiful island” in Portugese? You might not save as much as in Korea, but there are jobs to be found and a fascinating country awaiting you.

Teach English Abroad has an excellent introduction to working in different countries in Asia – you can compare and contrast Taiwan to others. I also cannot speak highly enough about the wealth of information specific to Taiwan at Michael Turton’s Teaching English in Taiwan page. He covers topics like “finding, renting housing”, “are they ripping me off?”, “getting along in the university system” and “can I work illegally” (no).

He points out that as the goal of the site is to present things to avoid, the site may provide a somewhat harsher picture of the country than many would be happy with…so bear that in mind his reassurance that most people have positive experiences. Also visit his Taiwan blog.

Taken fairly randomly from Michael Turton’s site, here are a few tips:

  • As in many countries, a Master’s Degree opens up doors to university jobs, which tend to be better.
  • A BA is required; a possible substitute is a two-year degree along with a TEFL certificate.
  • It is quite possible to find work in time if you come on a 14-day tourist visa; a longer visa is better – then you don’t have to worry about whether or not officials will overlook you overstaying that first visa while your employment paperwork is processed.

There is of course a Taiwan forum at the famous ESL Café, including a thread called know your rights in Taiwan. As well-done as all the informational sites referred to here are, keep in mind the importance of taking the initiative to educate yourself.

If you need some less serious and more recreational reading material, check out Bootsnall travel stories on “shrimping” (like fishing…but for big shimp) and tiny temples in Taiwan.