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Taiwan Advice

 
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anne



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2003 8:37 pm    Post subject: Taiwan Advice Reply with quote

Hi All-
Thanks for your patience for people like me asking for the basics. I've done my homework on teaching in Taiwan, but some questions remain. My husband and i are looking to teach in Taiwan, enjoy and experience, make some cash and pay for our onward travel. We would both be taking leaves for one year from our jobs, but don't want to teach the WHOLE time.

a) We want to arrange as much ahead of time as possible. Are recruiters really as evil as some say or has anyone had good experiences?
b) If we decided to leave before a year was up, what consequences should we expect?
c) Can we realistically expect to save enough to live and travel if we don't live really extravagantly while in Taiwan?
d) I am a high school teacher and would like to avoid working in a kindergarten. I much prefer teaching teens. Is this possible or is usually young kids?

thanks in advance to anyone who can answer these!
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TaoyuanSteve



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 1028
Location: Taoyuan

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2003 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi. I'll try to provide advice in the order of your questions. I hope I'm helpful.

The recruiter I dealt with was evil incarnate. I'm a bit biased, but I don't recommend using recruiters. Try contacting schools directly via the web.

If you want to leave early from your teaching job, you usually forfeit some money. Schools often withold some salary as a deposit to be returned at the end of your contract. As well, schools that reimburse airfare do so at the end of the contract. Finally, there are sometimes bonus clauses that are paid upon successful completion of a contract. As I said you forfeit this money if you don't complete a contract. You also have to check into procedures concerning resigning from a position. I think if you just walk, you will have trouble obtaining future work permits.

Can you save enough to travel? I think so. Salaries here are still pretty good. I haven't done alot of travel yet, but most of my colleagues have or do travel quite a bit.

It is possible to avoid teaching really young kids. Yes. Just choose a buxiban (cram school) as opposed to a kindergarten company. Then request mainly older students. I work at a cram school. The youngest classes I teach are around 10 years old, with average being around 13 and the oldest being highschool seniors. Hope that helped. Very Happy
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eslintaiwan2002



Joined: 22 Feb 2003
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 1:01 am    Post subject: Try a private school Reply with quote

If you want to avoid teaching small children try going to a private school. The pay is pretty good, so are the benefits, and being that you are a teacher from your home country you should be able to find a job at one.

If you go to a bushiban and are a teacher from your home country you might be frustrated. Remember that they are for profit businesses and that comes first before everything else.

As for recruiters be very careful. I have not heard of any of my friends who has had a positive experience dealing with a recruiter. Just bring yourself over here and hunt on your own. Bring enough money to get yourself started so that you do not think that you have to bite at the first job you are offered.

You should be able to save money in Taiwan unless you eat western food all the time and drink away a lot of your money at the pubs. You should be able to save enough money to do some traveling. Of course, this all depends on your standards of living. If you need to have a luxury apartment you will not save as much as someone who is happy with a room in a shared flat.

If you leave before the year contract is up you may also enter into some visa problems if you want to return and work again. If a school wants to take a deposit from your salary I simply would not work for them. I have not had to leave a deposit of any of my salary at any school that I have worked at.

Good luck.
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taiwan boy



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 99
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2003 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above replies have both mentioned the taking of deposits by employers. Please note that this is illegal in Taiwan. If you are employed in Taiwan and your employer withholds your salary as part of a work deposit contact the Foreign Affairs Police or Ministry of Labor Affairs. This in the theory of course. It is worthwhile noting the law is not always applied evenly and efficiently in Taiwan.

It is possible to leave your job before your one year contract is finished, however your ARC will be cancelled and you will be unable to work in Taiwan again for one year.
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itchy



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 28
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It is possible to leave your job before your one year contract is finished, however your ARC will be cancelled and you will be unable to work in Taiwan again for one year." -You're all wrong here. If you leave with your employer's permission, you need to wait two weeks to re-register with a new employer. If you leave without your employer's permission, this employer can use legal means to prevent you from working in Taiwan again, if they see fit to do this (ie, if you pull a midnight runner and leave them stuck with classes they don't have a teacher for and angry parents). This is one way that Taiwan kind of sucks compared to Japan, where you own your own visa and can quit and leave at will with or without permission. However my experience with Taiwan was that when people asked to leave early, the employer would let them. Taiwan is not like Korea where you basically can't leave a contract because the employer will not give permission. I personally left after 9 months of a year contract, by agreement with my employer. They paid me over $5000 Canadian for my last month's paycheque which included the 20% tax that they had been withholding for the first six months, and some other deposits I'd given them for stuff I can't remember now. They even drove me to the bus station. I found the Taiwanese to be very easy people to get along with.
"The recruiter I dealt with was evil incarnate. I'm a bit biased, but I don't recommend using recruiters. Try contacting schools directly via the web." - again I have to disagree. The placement agents do really good work searching out the good schools in the hard to find places. Most people just go to Taipei and get ripped off with hourly wages and no guaranteed class load or monthly salary. My guy got me a job in a place called "Fengyuang" which I'd never heard of before (it's near Taichung). 63,500NT a month, plus free meals and a housing bonus. That is what you want. And the agents can get it for you. But not in Taipei.
Saving and travelling: I met a couple there teaching at the same school. Between the two of them they were earning $74,000CDN a year, with a 6% tax rate. They were working 30 hours a week each. Yeah, they had some money (hahaha). They've been there two and a half years now (came at the same time I did). Last time I talked to them, they'd saved up enough to buy a house, and were coming back to Canada to get married (not to put a down payment on a house, oh no, to BUY the whole house, for cash). If you want to travel, you can travel.
Ages of the students: If you work at an afternoon cram school (Bushiban) you can teach kids from say age 8 to age 15. I did this. I had 43 students in all. I worked from 2:00pm to 8:30 pm Monday to Friday with a 1/2 hour eating break.
I have the following advice to give regarding salary: Don't accept hourly wages. Look for a monthly amount of no less than 55,000NT for 30 hours a week. Look for a housing bonus of around 3000NT. Look for a free meal a day (dinner). Look for a perfect attendence bonus of 3000NT around. In total you should get no less than 60,000NT gross per month each.
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Aristotle



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1388
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 4:44 am    Post subject: Come First then Find Work Reply with quote

I would recommend you come to Taiwan with at least 1 thousand US$. That should be enough to set yourselves up and give you time to find a good job.
As you have never been here before, it may take a while for you to "get into the groove".
My best advice it to get a multiple entry, tourist, visa, in the US or Canada. Then come to Taiwan and have a look around. Talk to people working at any one particular school, specifically the native speakers.
Take your time and you shouldn't have any trouble. As far the ARC and work permit go,the law requires you to have one, but few people here obey the law, especially the police and government officials.
Good Luck
A.
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itchy



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 28
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That guy Aristotle's advice is good, provided you do more than just come to Taipei and walk around doing demos. The jobs in Taipei are low paying and have crappy hours, because there are too many foreigners there. You want to head down the west coast towards Kaoshiung and just stop in in all the little towns on the way. You'll find something for sure. The towns are full of kids. Regarding breaking the law, I really wouldn't suggest this. A lot of foreigners go over there, get euphoria (the "high" that comes before culture shock), and break every law known to man and Chinese. You can go to jail in Taiwan for working without a visa, and for being in the country illegally. Usually, they don't put white North Americans in jail, they just send them out of the country and don't let them back in. But you never know.
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TaoyuanSteve



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 1028
Location: Taoyuan

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2003 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... Not sure I'd recommend small towns right now. There seems to be too much "stuff" going on in them right now. For a working holiday maker I'd recommend Taipei. You won't be as isolated for one. Taipei also has alot of the "must see" places. A good example is the palace museum. Its collection of ancient chinese artifacts is so large it would take years to see it all. Anyone just arriving here or just staying for a short time will probably enjoy Taipei. As for salaries, they're comparable to other places. The downside is the rents, which are expensive.
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itchy



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 28
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2003 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it now possible to get a fixed monthly salary in Taipei? When I was over in 2001 it was only possible to get hourly wages, and then you had to work to get students so you could get more hours. I took the small town route to get a fixed monthly salary.
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TaoyuanSteve



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 1028
Location: Taoyuan

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really depends on the company and type of school when it comes to salary vs hourly pay. Kindergartens generally pay a salary more often than language centers that, more often than not, pay teachers hourly. This true in Taipei and, likely, in other places. I guess that is one positive about Kindergarten teaching; they are more often salaried positions. This is good for one's sense of financial stability. I still have a preference for language center teaching, though. I prefer the hours and age groups. I can make up for any monetary short-comings (if there are any) with private classes.
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