When we decide to start collecting money for a service we provide there are a few things we have to consider..That is, what will be the service we will provide?
Seeing im not as young and nimble as I was, prostitution is out of the question. And as much as we both love diving it just doesn't make you rich. It is a job you do for the love, not for the pay cheque....bakers, too many of them already, (and we can't make bread)... flight attendant? i'm not too sure how the other passengers would like to see 2 flight attendants in full dreads with a baby strapped to one of them running up and down the plane screaming were all going to die!!! every time the plane hit turbulence...
Hmm.. So in all reality it comes down to two options -
1) go home. (Um.. No thank you!),
or 2) The most common of jobs for a traveller... the all mighty ENGLISH TEACHER!!!!
We have done this English Teaching caper before (Robyn for more than 10 years!), so before we jump willy nilly into the first job we find, we (or rather, Robyn) will spend countless hours researching and looking for countries that offer the highest pay, with the best working conditions and lowest cost of living, not to mention a country that interests us. All of these factors play a very important roll in finding employment for us.
As great as it would be to get a job as an english teacher in say thailand, sure the food is great ,you can get a cheap room and the beers are always cold and cheap but the pay is dismal, and you will end up blowing almost all of it on going out and being social. Some jobs will barely even cover your basic living expenses, especially if you are in a big city like Bangkok or a party area like Phuket.
Having already worked in mainland China, and preferring to keep ourselves in Asia, we narrowed our options down to Korea, Japan and Taiwan... (we thought about Mongolia but it's just too cold in the winter).
Then one by one we ruled them out, Korea I couldn't get a job legally as I don't have a University degree.. OUT
Japan, pay is good but cost of living is a bit too high for our liking, and having spent soo long in Japan, Robyn wanted to try somewhere new.. OUT
So that left Taiwan!
What we have learnt from living in Taiwan is that you have an incredible opportunity to make a large amount of money while living very comfortably here.. If you choose too..
We know plenty of people who whinge and complain that they are always broke or that Taiwan is too expensive... but like any country in the world, it just depends on how you live, which relates to how much you spend.
Generally speaking, the monthly wage for fulltime work is roughly the same whether you are in the centre of Taipei or the middle of a mountain village. (between 50000 and 65000nt a month)
Naturally, your living expenses won't be the same!
If you rent a single room in a shared apartment in Taipei you could be looking at spending around 15,000 nt a month, however you can rent a 3 bedroom apartment or even a cabin for less than 8,000 nt if you are out in the countryside, or even just in a smaller city/town.
For food, you could easily spend 350 nt a meal at a nice restaurant, or you could spend as little as 50 nt at a stall in a market.
Here, we both work around 25 hours a week and mostly cook our own meals, (although we do eat out once or twice a week), we go on weekend adventures with our scooter and live pretty much the same lifestyle we would back in Australia. We have a fully furnished, 2 storey, 3 bedroom apartment on the 10th floor with great views and yet we can still save more money than if we worked 40 hours a week in Oz and lived in a sharehouse. This is why we choose to work in other countries instead of our own.
In Taiwan working in a kindergarten as a foreigner is illegal. You cannot get a work permit with a kindergarten and you are not meant to work in them, let alone set foot in one. However... it is not uncommon for a new teacher to find that they will work a few hours in a kindergarten in the morning and a few hours in a bushiban in the afternoon. Yes it is a no no, but sometimes it is just the way it goes, and it is not very common to get caught. In most cases the school will have a contact in the government.. blah blah blah..
As for work permits, once in Taiwan your school will help you apply for an ARC (alien resident card) and you will need to get a medical done. The medical is one of those seriously confusing processes that vaguely makes sense.. You will have to give blood, get x-rays, get your eyes checked...you know the simple things. Once you hold your ARC you are then eligible for medical coverage under the NHI (national health insurance) which means all of your doctors appointments will cost you a mere 150nt including medicine!. You can also then apply for your drivers licence etc.
SCAMS do exist. Not all schools will screw you over, but a percentage of them will. Unfortunately, more often than not it is the teachers that end up screwing the schools over with poor behaviour, tardiness, turning up to work drunk or hungover and even abusing children and staff members verbally. And because of this some schools have become very wary of teachers. We are aware of a few schools that will give new teachers a lower training wage for the first 3 months, and then hold back a months pay along with a bond so if you do decide teaching is not for you and you decide to leave in the middle of the night the school will be able to keep your money. This is entirely illegal and they cannot withhold any money, but it is sad that some schools feel they have to resort to these tactics.
ADVICE ON TEACHING OVERSEAS
Our advice for anyone who wants to work as a teacher in another country.
Please do treat it like you would a job back in your own country. If you wouldn't turn up late for work, drunk or hung over in your own country then don't think it is ok to do so just because you are in another country. And ALWAYS treat people you work with, with respect....if there is a language problem remember you are the one who has the problem, how would you feel if you were in your own country and some one came up to you in your workplace jibbering in another language, and then yelling at you because you couldn't understand them. Think about it. you would not be happy.
Pretty much it all comes down to respect!
Out side of this, Enjoy! you might be working to save money but it doesn't mean you cant get out and explore! After all that's why you are here in the first place isn't it?!!