BGL‘s Teacher Erin is in her first year of teaching kindergarten at Tsai Hsing School in Taipei, Taiwan. Erin and her travel companion, Alex, are the creators of a successful YouTube Channel that catalogues their adventures in Taiwan.
Recently, they produced the following video: a guide to teaching in Taiwan:
And, they wrote the following blog post for those who prefer the written word.
As always, check out our available job listings here!
Switching jobs in your home town can be stressful, regardless of your chosen career path. But packing up your life and moving to another country isn’t exactly the same as quitting your job at McDonald’s so you can work at Burger King.
You’re on the internet, so you’ve seen the blogs, YouTube videos, Snapchats and posts from all those smiley too-young-to-be-rich people swimming in exotic beaches and riding camels – and suddenly, hauling your entire existence to (what might as well be) a different universe seems a little more attractive.
WELCOME TO TEACHING ABROAD!
The video that accompanies this blog is specific to Taiwan – and although I am a firm believer that Taiwan is a perfect place to begin your journey – the principles in the video can really be applied to anywhere.
No matter where you’re looking to go, you’re going to need to gather all the documents that prove you’re a teacher, then you’ll most likely have to get them notarized and maybe even translated and authenticated.
Aside from that, you’re basically going to do what everyone has to do until they die: follow your gut. Just remember to ask all the right questions and keep your head straight.
Sure, moving to Italy sounds romantic but did you ask about the housing allowance? Cuz it’s not the cheapest place in the world.
Of course everyone wants to live and teach on an atoll like Vanuatu, but did you ask about the utilities? Because you’ll probably not have internet and you’ll probably have daily power outages.
I’m not saying anything should deter you from going to the places you dream of going, I think you should go. Just ask all the questions first and don’t get too hung up on romantic ideas of surfing in the sunset or eating baguettes on cobblestone streets before you get the real facts.
SO… WHY TAIWAN?
Simple: it’s a balance of all things.
It’s a yin yang of modern and ancient.
It’s accessible – and by that I mean there’s wifi all over the island and unlimited internet is super cheap. So you can literally live stream from ancient temples or from the jungle…
The people are insanely friendly and accommodating. We’re Canadians, but the Taiwanese people make us look like jerks.
The food is killer and on the days you just want to have a burger and fries and pretend you’re at home, no problem.
If you get hurt, they have top-notch health care, and you’ll get it for free when you get your Alien Residency Card. (Are you listening, America??)
They have a major international airport that has direct flights to almost anywhere in the world.
Speaking of flights, it’s SO CHEAP to visit other countries.
We went to Okinawa for the weekend…
That’s right people, for the WEEKEND!
If your parents are fraught with fear about you moving to a foreign country to teach for awhile, tell them to chill. There’s almost no crime here. I once left a GoPro on a UBike (Taiwan’s bike share program…where you never see the same bike twice) for an entire day, and nobody touched it. Nobody would touch it because opportunistic crime like that is simply not present in their cultural mores.
I’m fairly confident that if I left my wallet on a park bench that it’d be there the next day…
Ok, its super hot in the summer, less hot (and sometimes chilly) in the winter and when it rains… its next level.
There are earthquakes, which become kind of fun after you get over the initial anxiety of realizing that we are but puny little ants on this massive earth.
Yes, there are typhoons, but listen, this isn’t Taiwan’s first rodeo ok, they’ve always had typhoons. So don’t you think they’re kind of prepared for that by now?
Basically, the weather is either tropical and awesome, or it’s at least more interesting than yours.
WHAT ABOUT THE TEACHING?
Well, again, most of this is explained in the video…
But if you’re used to teaching in the USA or Canada, you’re in for a real treat.
The kids are more obedient than a class full of young jedis.
Lunch is provided…just before teacher nap time.
There’s Taiwanese teachers in the classroom at all times and they are likely to help you out if you need it.
BGL makes sure that there is a system in place to make sure you actually have somewhere to live, whether it be housing allowance or an actual apartment.
The expat community is amazing so you won’t feel lonely, and the other English teachers are generally willing to help you out.
You’ll punch out at 4pm almost every night, so that’s plenty of time to go downtown and explore all the great dinner spots or catch a flight to the Philippines for the weekend.
The only real risk is that you’ll actually never go home once you get here.
And that’s it in a nutshell! Feel free to leave a comment here to ask your questions, and don’t forget to watch our travel videos to get a better idea.
Authors: Alex Vaan and Erin Bibby