The excitement of starting a new career, the butterflies in your stomach when facing the unknown, the rewarding feeling of helping someone achieve their goals: these are only some of the feelings that you can experience when you teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) abroad.
Why is TEFL so popular? People teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) for a variety of reasons. Let’s explore some of them:
Global Demand for English: Approximately 2 billion people worldwide are using and learning English. The demand for English language instruction is high globally, as people seek to enhance their professional and educational opportunities. English teachers play a crucial role in meeting this demand.
High Demand for English Teachers: In many countries, the demand for English language instructors far exceeds the supply of qualified teachers, especially native speakers. This creates numerous opportunities for those with accredited TEFL certifications to secure employment in various countries, even without a college degree or prior teaching experience.
Travel and Cultural Experience: TEFL provides individuals with the opportunity to travel the world and immerse themselves in different cultures. Teaching abroad allows for a unique and special way to experience life in foreign countries.
Opportunity to Make a Difference: Teaching English abroad allows individuals to have a positive impact on the lives of their students. By helping others achieve their language learning goals, teachers contribute to personal and professional development, opening up opportunities for students.
Personal Growth: Living and working in a foreign country as an English teacher can be a challenging and rewarding experience. It offers personal growth opportunities, pushing individuals out of their comfort zones and fostering adaptability and resilience.
Career Development: Teaching English abroad is not only an adventure but also a valuable career development opportunity. It allows individuals to gain work experience, develop teaching skills, and acquire transferable skills that can be beneficial in various professional contexts.
Language Learning: Living in a foreign country provides an immersive experience that can significantly enhance language acquisition.
While you might already know all the advantages of pursuing a career in TEFL, you might be feeling a little confused regarding your teaching destination, and rightly so. Choosing where to start your new life is a very important step, and there are many aspects you should take into consideration, such as salary range, quality of life, age restrictions, qualifications and other requirements.
A country that has been increasingly gaining popularity among TEFL professionals is Taiwan. But what is so attractive about Taiwan?
Taiwan, located just off the coast of China, gracefully balances ancient traditions and modern infrastructure. Despite its small size, Taiwan caters to diverse interests, providing amenities such as free Wi-Fi nationwide. The combination of elevated yet affordable living standards, a tempting yet health-conscious cuisine, and a myriad of activities and sights make Taiwan an ideal setting for a prolonged teaching experience abroad. What further distinguishes this island is the amicable locals and its hospitable ambience, ranking 27th in the World Happiness Report 2023.
Teaching in Taiwan
Taiwan has set an ambitious goal of achieving bilingualism by 2030, leading to an increased demand for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). The prerequisites for relocating and working in Taiwan are stricter compared to other Southeast Asian countries, but the compensation is notably higher, averaging around $2,200 per month, depending on qualifications and experience.
To teach English in Taiwan, a visa is essential. Eligible countries for application include Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand. Most employers in this field typically require a bachelor’s degree (sometimes a master’s) and a TEFL qualification, along with a clean criminal record.
Once securing a teaching position, you must undergo a health check and provide the results to your employer. Only then can you transition from a ‘visa-on-arrival’ to a ‘visitor visa.’ Subsequently, you can apply for a work permit, with guidance from your employer. Lastly, an ‘alien resident certificate’ (ARC), validated by your employer, is necessary. Upon obtaining an ARC, you receive health and dental insurance, and you can open a bank account.
This entire process may take up to six weeks and cost approximately $300 USD.
Teaching opportunities in Taiwan
With so much interest in TEFL teachers, there are plenty of opportunities in different language education sectors:
- Test-Prep Schools (Buxiban)
These after-school programs prepare students for university entry and offer valuable initial experience in the TEFL career. It’s quite easy to find a job in these schools without a degree or teaching experience, but the workload is intensive: teaching 15-20 hours a week with large classes, as well as unpaid hours for homework marking and lesson planning.
- Public High Schools
Public schools offer higher salaries and generous benefits, including housing, return flights, and end-of-contract bonuses. However, you would be dealing with larger class sizes, teaching 15 hours a week with additional time spent at school, although there is some (limited) compensation for work outside the classroom.
- Private Schools
Teaching positions in private schools are highly sought-after and the competition is high. Although the salaries are lower, the benefits are greater: smaller class sizes, allowing for a more manageable workload.
- International Schools
In these highly selective institutions, your application would be considered only if you have previous teaching experience and a university degree. In return, you would be repaid with exceptionally high salaries and generous perks, including tax-free income.
- University Positions
Just like in most countries, teaching positions available in higher education are few and far between, making this the most competitive environment of all. The minimum requirement is a master’s degree, with higher pay for a PhD. On the downside, you can be expected to teach during evenings, weekends, and daytime, depending on the courses you teach.
Let’s go to Taiwan
Teaching English abroad is a life-changing experience that can make a positive impact on many people’s lives–including your own. As ever, with major changes come important decisions: choosing the right destination for you is one of them. Researching countries that spark your interest is always a good starting point, and don’t forget to find out if Taiwan can be the right place for you.