What are your plans for next year? If you are considering coming to Taiwan with the Department of Education from your state, or any other agency, let me share with you some information that I found helpful.
Acquiring this teaching job is similar to any other teaching job, with a few exceptions. It begins with an application, and interview, just like other positions. The program here with the Ministry of Education is only open to licensed teachers. The purpose of the program is to provide native English speaking teachers for the Taiwanese students.
While you are waiting for notification of acceptance, there is a lot you can do. First, be sure to apply for your passport if you don’t have it. It does take time, so do it quickly to get the process started.
The MOE requires a complete physical before you will be granted your visa (which the Houston consulate does for you). So, when you are notified that you will be a part of this program, then you can work on the physical. Some of the tests, as well as immunizations, can be administered at a county health department for a fraction of the cost of going to a medical facility. My immunizations were $10 USD per shot – very affordable. So, check that out first.
One of the things you will be asked is if you have a preference of where you would like to teach. Take time to think about whether you would prefer being immersed in the culture of a little village, or if your preference is more of an urban setting. Most of the schools are outside of the large cities, so that students with less opportunity to hear English can benefit from this program. Internet searches can show you many beautiful places here on the island – and it does have some very beautiful places.
Your school in Taiwan will be assigned a person who is responsible to assist you in setting up your living here – housing, Alien Resident Card, health card, bank account, phone, and other miscellaneous items. Each time I have been here, my housing allowance ($5,000 New Taiwan dollars) covered all of my housing. I did have to pay for some utilities, but the cost was minimal. Before I came last August, I was in communication with my host about where I would like to live, and some other information about this area.
This island is set up for convenient travel. You can ride around the island on the train. In places where the train is not easily accessible, there are bus routes that you can take. The people here will be happy to assist you in getting you to wherever you want to go. Take advantage of that – they know the language, and the best way to do things here. When you are in a train station, the information desk usually has someone who can speak a little English, and can assist you in purchasing train tickets, or reading the schedules. They are happy to help in any way.
Both times I have been here, I have been so impressed with the Taiwanese people. They are so gracious and kind – always willing to go out of their way to help. They appreciate the fact that you have left your home to come over here to help their children become more proficient in English, and they are grateful.
I hope you can come. You will be forever changed – and in the process, you will be a part in changing lives here in Taiwan.
Here are some pages for you to visit:
http://arkansased.org/educators/taiwan.html - Arkansas Department of Education
http://fetit.eng.ntnu.edu.tw/ - Ministry of Education in Taiwan – Foreign English Teacher program
http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/ - Taiwan Tourism