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On getting hired in Tainan
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ncaraway



Joined: 15 Feb 2010
Posts: 92
Location: Tainan, Taiwan

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: On getting hired in Tainan Reply with quote

This is mostly aimed at the newbies who look for job market updates but I welcome input/feedback from others. As mentioned in the subject, I live in Tainan (southern Taiwan) so my experiences are probably very different from those of people living in Taipei.

Relevant information about me:

* I'm a white American male in my late 40s.
* I have a degree in information systems management from a state university.
* I spent 25+ years in nonprofits as a technology manager.
* I am married to a Taiwanese woman and have my ARC (green card) through marriage.

TEFL Certificate
I had heard that age discrimination was the norm so I spent about $500 and earned a 120-hour certificate from a fairly reputable online provider. I figured this would be one more thing in my favor.

The certificate course provided a good refresher of the basics of grammar, which was helpful. Probably the most helpful content for me was about creating lesson plans. Because it was earned online I got zero classroom experience and thus no experience with classroom management. Such experience would have been enormously helpful during my first few months teaching.

Was it worth it, though? I would have to say yes, as you will see below.

Job Hunting
Most of the ads I've seen are looking for part-time teachers. That's OK for me because I am semi-retired and am working to keep from having to dip too far into my savings. I have advertised for private students as well.

Getting Hired
So far I've applied for jobs at 3 buxibans. At all three I was pretty much hired on the spot. Two of the schools asked me to do brief (5-15 minute) demos. Getting privates has been more iffy. I responded to one adult professional's ad and he said he was busy. Another parent of a high schooler called me and was initially interested but then canceled saying they might be moving to Taipei.

Hiring Factors
Without a doubt the fact that I'm an American essentially secured each job for me. The fact that I am white was probably also a factor but that's only speculation on my part. Despite being a white American, I don't think I would have been hired so easily had I not had a bachelor's degree. And having the TEFL certificate was indeed helpful. Each of the schools requested a photocopy of the certificate and one school displays it publicly next to my diploma and biography. The fact that I have an ARC was probably also a selling point because most smaller schools would rather not deal with the paperwork and red tape. Finally, the fact that I plan to be in Taiwan permanently also played a role.

Interviewing/Negotiations
For each interview I showed up in a dress shirt and tie. I don't think anyone expected a candidate to dress so formally and I believe it worked in my favor by showing that I am professional. I arrived on time or early with multiple copies of my resume and TEFL certificate. I also brought a TECRO-certified color photocopy of my college diploma.

For the second two schools I was asked no questions. My resume, appearance, and demo were sufficient. One factor behind this, I suspect, is that the bosses don't feel confident enough speaking English to ask questions.

At the first school the boss had a degree from an American university and her English is very good. We had a fairly lengthy conversation about my goals and experience. I assured her that I wasn't planning to return to IT work (which would pay more) and that I had no desire to open my own buxiban. The latter point was important because the school is in the process of recovering from a previous manager who left to start her own school and took many students with her. She was also happy to know that I didn't plan to return to the States for Christmas or other holidays.

My wife came to my latter two interviews and helped translate/negotiate. I don't think her presence played a role in getting me the jobs. I will say that she helped keep me from getting screwed when it came to negotiating some of the finer points of the contracts.

A few final points:
I had big fears that my age would work against me. That hasn't happened. An additional selling point is that I come across as being extremely patient (which I am). This is important in the buxibans that cater to young children. One interviewer told my wife that one of my predecessors was about my age. Apparently one day he had had enough of the kids not paying attention and threw the books down and walked out. The kids can be trying but I've never let them get to me that much.
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thatsforsure



Joined: 11 Sep 2012
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, what is it like living in Taiwan permanently? Do you guys have kids? Do young women hound you as they would on the mainland?
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ncaraway



Joined: 15 Feb 2010
Posts: 92
Location: Tainan, Taiwan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thatsforsure wrote:
So, what is it like living in Taiwan permanently? Do you guys have kids? Do young women hound you as they would on the mainland?


I don't have kids. I'm in the south, which is very different from Taipei: fewer westerners and considerably fewer western amenities (e.g., food, entertainment, etc). Fortunately, I'm pretty easygoing so that isn't a problem for me. When I go out I'm usually with my wife so I can't really speak to your question about being hounded by women. Smile

One other follow up point: It has become very clear through discussions my wife has had with my employers that a big selling point is that I have an ARC (i.e., green card) through marriage. Most of the schools do not have the time or resources to help people get a work ARC. Food for thought for those of you considering coming here to work.
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jm21



Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To the OP:

I was just browsing sort of at random and saw your post...was wodnering if I could ask a few questions?

My wife is Taiwanese and moved to the USA about two years ago to be with me. We are in the process of shedding my possessions and selling my house/business here...then move to Australia for a couple years....but then probably on to China or Taiwan for a while unless I land some amazing job in AUS.

If you didn't have retirement funds to draw on would it be doable? I'm thinking $1,500 with some sort of housing allowance would be about the minimum I would want to live on in Taiwan. I have a BA in English and a Juris Doctor. White American in early 30's.

It would be awesome to live in Kenting or some place like that....or up in the mountains a bit...can't imagine missing western food or amenities...

Is the wife handling things well? My wife seems to have some sort of fear of moving to Taiwan....like too many girls would chase me or she would be looked down on in some way for marrying a foreigner...or being married to a TEFL teacher is somehow disgraceful...I can't really seem to get a clear answer from her...she seems more OK with China than Taiwan for some reason.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jm21 wrote:
To the OP:

I was just browsing sort of at random and saw your post...was wodnering if I could ask a few questions?

My wife is Taiwanese and moved to the USA about two years ago to be with me. We are in the process of shedding my possessions and selling my house/business here...then move to Australia for a couple years....but then probably on to China or Taiwan for a while unless I land some amazing job in AUS.

If you didn't have retirement funds to draw on would it be doable? I'm thinking $1,500 with some sort of housing allowance would be about the minimum I would want to live on in Taiwan. I have a BA in English and a Juris Doctor. White American in early 30's.

It would be awesome to live in Kenting or some place like that....or up in the mountains a bit...can't imagine missing western food or amenities...

Is the wife handling things well? My wife seems to have some sort of fear of moving to Taiwan....like too many girls would chase me or she would be looked down on in some way for marrying a foreigner...or being married to a TEFL teacher is somehow disgraceful...I can't really seem to get a clear answer from her...she seems more OK with China than Taiwan for some reason.


If you can handle business contracts, you can get a legal job in China.
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ncaraway



Joined: 15 Feb 2010
Posts: 92
Location: Tainan, Taiwan

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

$1500US/month is prudent. Our actual average monthly expenses are about half that but there's always the unexpected (and red envelope gifts, depending on the quantity and age of your wife's family/friends). One difference for us, though, is that my wife already owned the condo where we live so we don't have to pay rent, just the monthly maintenance fee.

We planned this for 6-7 years before actually moving. Included in the planning was retirement planning. We put our savings into 3 pots: one for immediate needs (about one year's expenses), one for mid-term needs (4-5 years' expenses), and the rest into our retirement funds. I also calculated what our Social Security earnings would be (assuming there are no surprises, which isn't a given anymore). You are much younger than me but I would still suggest at least putting some thought into this before you make your jump.

Funny that your wife has some trepidation. Mine did too. Partly she worries that another woman will steal me away. To that I tell her: why would I move to a place where her family is my only support and then risk everything for a little carnal joy? Oh, well. I can say that her family was confused by our move (even though our primary motivation was moving so my wife could be close to her aging mother). With so many people idolizing the US and trying to get there, they wonder why someone would want to leave there for Taiwan. Some have hinted to my wife that maybe we left because we got into some sort of trouble. We didn't. Frankly, I was tired of the stress of living in the US. I am much more relaxed here.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more or to PM.

Best of luck to you, wherever you choose to go.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ncaraway wrote:
$1500US/month is prudent. Our actual average monthly expenses are about half that but there's always the unexpected (and red envelope gifts, depending on the quantity and age of your wife's family/friends). One difference for us, though, is that my wife already owned the condo where we live so we don't have to pay rent, just the monthly maintenance fee.

We planned this for 6-7 years before actually moving. Included in the planning was retirement planning. We put our savings into 3 pots: one for immediate needs (about one year's expenses), one for mid-term needs (4-5 years' expenses), and the rest into our retirement funds. I also calculated what our Social Security earnings would be (assuming there are no surprises, which isn't a given anymore). You are much younger than me but I would still suggest at least putting some thought into this before you make your jump.

Funny that your wife has some trepidation. Mine did too. Partly she worries that another woman will steal me away. To that I tell her: why would I move to a place where her family is my only support and then risk everything for a little carnal joy? Oh, well. I can say that her family was confused by our move (even though our primary motivation was moving so my wife could be close to her aging mother). With so many people idolizing the US and trying to get there, they wonder why someone would want to leave there for Taiwan. Some have hinted to my wife that maybe we left because we got into some sort of trouble. We didn't. Frankly, I was tired of the stress of living in the US. I am much more relaxed here.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more or to PM.

Best of luck to you, wherever you choose to go.



For a Taiwanese citizen, it is easy to understand, why would you come to Taiwan. A lot of people are earning 30,000-40,000NT a month with no hope of improving their lot.

While I understand that living in Taiwan can be relaxing for foreigners, I believe that most Taiwanese view it has a step in the wrong direction. Your wives may be afraid of losing face by moving back to Taiwan.
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jm21



Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think my wife would care if she was perceived as losing face or something, and I think she's OK with retiring in Taiwan, but something about me working as an EFL teacher in Taiwan she doesn't like.

I know one concern she has is that the US economy will continue to get worse and there will be more and more people looking to teach overseas. That will cause wages to drop and make it difficult to find work.

She lived in Australia before coming here and made more money in Taiwan than she could in AUS or in the USA. She just always had such horrible bosses in Taiwan that she doesn't want to work there again.

Retirement is a tough one but we've got some ideas. We'll be AUS citizens as well which will give us some more options.

I figure we would spend more living in a smaller city in Taiwan, compared to one of the many million+ cities in China, because I would really want to have a car in Taiwan. I would be afraid to drive in China and the public transport in smaller Taiwanese cities/towns seems pretty bad.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jm21 wrote:
I don't think my wife would care if she was perceived as losing face or something, and I think she's OK with retiring in Taiwan, but something about me working as an EFL teacher in Taiwan she doesn't like.

I know one concern she has is that the US economy will continue to get worse and there will be more and more people looking to teach overseas. That will cause wages to drop and make it difficult to find work.

She lived in Australia before coming here and made more money in Taiwan than she could in AUS or in the USA. She just always had such horrible bosses in Taiwan that she doesn't want to work there again.

Retirement is a tough one but we've got some ideas. We'll be AUS citizens as well which will give us some more options.

I figure we would spend more living in a smaller city in Taiwan, compared to one of the many million+ cities in China, because I would really want to have a car in Taiwan. I would be afraid to drive in China and the public transport in smaller Taiwanese cities/towns seems pretty bad.



It would seem that getting a job in your field in China or Australia would be the best bet.

However it may be difficult to get a job in law in Australia since your law degree wouldn't be of much use in Australia.
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jm21



Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JZer wrote:


It would seem that getting a job in your field in China or Australia would be the best bet.

However it may be difficult to get a job in law in Australia since your law degree wouldn't be of much use in Australia.


if you're admitted to a US bar you can get licensed in AUS with a few classes and practical training. Looks like it would take maybe a year or so to do everything with most of it online. But there are other problems....like having to work for a firm for a few years before being able to practice on your own...no access to student loans until you're a citizen (by which time my professional references would be too old)....

Anyways, pretty burnt out on law. Don't see myself working for a firm unless the pay was pretty amazing and hard to get references for that sort of job after being self-employed for ~5 years. Associate pay seems to be pretty low in AUS unless you work for a really big firm...seems to be just a little above minimum wage if you're an associate in a small firm or at a legal aid clinic. It's an undergrad degree there and no bar exam.

I do basically 100% family law with a family immigration case now and then. I was thinking I could do uncontested divorces and some family law consultations over the internet...helping people get their paperwork together, that sort of thing...maybe $100 per hour but hard to get much business. Was thinking if I had a low hour job at a University I could spend a couple hours a day working on a web-based consulting service. If you had housing and $500-1,000 per month at a uni job with low hours and another $500-1,000 per month from an internet business coming in I would think you could live pretty well. Right now, excluding housing and utilities, we really only spend about $1,200 per month or so with 2 cars and eating extremely well.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well in Taiwan, you are not going to get housing.

I saw a university in china offering 15,000-20,000 RMB a month for someone with an MBA degree.

Maybe you could find a job teaching American law at a university in China.

I would say that I job like that could pay 20,000RMB a month with housing. Then whatever you wife makes is just icing on the cake.

If you had a high LSAT or SAT score, you could teaching LSAT prep in China. It pays well.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have a good LSAT or SAT score you might apply to work for Kaplan in China.
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jm21



Joined: 26 Feb 2008
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barely studied for either the SAT or LSAT so I seriously doubt my scores are high enough....was 3rd in my class in 1L and thus was able to transfer to a decent law school because of that.

Will have to look into jobs teaching American law. For 15-20k rmb I would be heading over there a lot sooner....

Getting teacher qualifications seems to be a bit easier and a lot cheaper in AUS...have been looking into that too. International schools seem to pay decent.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would suggest spending a year teaching children before investing money in teacher's qualifications.

You may decide that you don't even like teaching children.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a job at the Beijing University of Technology that you might be interested in.
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