2 Taiwan is a land of contrasts, boasting both rugged mountains and pristine coastline as well as several of Asia’s most cosmopolitan metropolises. A country rich in culture, Taiwan’s atmosphere and energy are unparalleled. The teaching opportunities Teach Travel Asia represents in Taiwan are among the best. Whether you’re an experienced TESL professional or fresh out of university with nothing more than a degree and a backpack, we have something for everyone.
What you need to Qualify - Minimum of a Bachelors Degree or diploma from an accredited university in the U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Great Britain or Ireland - Must be a citizen of one of the above mentioned countries - Must be a native English speaker - Must be in good physical and mental health - Must be between 21 and 40 - No experience necessary - You do not need to know any Taiwanese - Teaching certificate and experience preferred but not required - Any degree welcomed but preference given to education and English majors. - Positions are for one-year contracts, available on an ongoing basis.
City Profiles Teaching Jobs in Taipei Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a vibrant blend of traditional culture and cosmopolitan life. Taipei is the political, economic, educational and recreational center of the country and is perfect for those who love big city life. There’s always something going on - concerts, festivals, night markets, and lots of opportunities to meet people and get involved. The approximate population of Taipei is 2,625,757. Taipei is not usually a major tourist destination and is usually visited by business travellers. There are however, a number of attractions to visit while in Taipei. The Taipei 101 for example is the new financial center in Taipei and as its names suggests, is 101 floors tall. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is also a great place to see while in Taipei.
Teaching Jobs in Taichung Located in central Taiwan, Taichung is Taiwan’s third largest city, with a population of just over one million people. The area surrounding Taichung ranges from ocean shores to rugged mountain peaks. While life in Taichung may move at a slower pace than hectic Taipei, there is no lack of modern conveniences. Taichung is an educational and cultural center for Taiwan and is home to numerous universities and colleges, and is a great place to study Chinese. Mountain resorts are within easy access of Taichung, where the cost of living is lower and there is less pollution than Taipei or Kaohsiung. Teaching Jobs in Kaohsiung If you are looking for a more laid back lifestyle, like venturing into nature, and thrive in the heat, this southern city will appeal to you. Kaohsiung is located in southern Taiwan and with a population around 1.5 million, is the second largest city in Taiwan. The streets of Kaohsiung are wide and less congested than Taipei. There are beaches, national parks and mountains all close enough for day trips. The climate is tropical, as it is located on the Tropic of Cancer. The Love River is one of the main attractions is downtown Kaohsiung, flowing from northeast to southwest. It has existed for more than 100 years and is considered the spine of the city.
Banking in Taiwan To open a back account you are required to provide your passport and ARC card. All banks have some English speaking staff. Most banks are closed on Saturdays, but are open later on weekdays. Sending Money Home From Taiwan You can wire transfer money home from most banks. The wire transfer fees change from bank to bank as do the exchange rates but if you shop around and try to negotiate you will do well. ATM - Cash Machines ATMs are very common and most have an English option and support most major western banking card systems. You can pay all your bills and transfer money through ATMs. Many international banks (HSBC, Citi Bank, RBC etc.) have branches in Taipei and in other major cities. Taiwan is a cashed based society and you are able to withdraw up to NT$20,000 per transaction until either you or the machine is out of money. Credit Cards All major credit cards are accepted in Taiwan. It is possible to apply for a credit card in Taiwan, but they are not always given away easy.
3 Bringing Kids with you to Teach in Taiwan
- Entertainment - NT$2,500
Great news! If you’re a licensed certified teacher the Ministry of Education wants you to teach in a public school in Taiwan AND they are happy to fly your spouse or a dependent to join you! Housing is also set up so that you and your family can be comfortable. At present this is the only opportunity we have were benefits are extended to family members.
- Total Monthly Expenses - NT$22,450
If you are bringing kids with you to Taiwan there are several important considerations: - Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung are really the only major centers set up to host foreign kids. This is not suggesting that you need everything Western to be happy but rather that education, English speaking doctors, play groups, sports teams and other Western friends will be easier to find and meet in one of those metropolitan centers. - Where is your child going to be educated? Montessori is a great option for young ones.
Cost of Food in Taiwan Western and Asian food is available at fast food establishments, restaurants and grocery stores throughout Taiwan. One can spend NT$200 per day here and eat well. Most teachers spend a bit more, however, but with the exception of a weekend splurge at TGI Friday’s or Pizza Hut, they seldom spend more than NT$250-NT$300 per day on food. - Coffee shops - NT$220 - Western restaurants - NT$400-1,000 - Cheap Chinese - NT$60-70 - Moderate Chinese - NT$100-150 - Fine Chinese - NT$500-1,200 - Fast food - NT$130
- Cheap Western - NT$130-180
- Government exams back home?
- Moderate Western - NT$250-500
- Keeping up with education back home? - Adjusting to language and cultural differences in Taiwan? - Friends and family back home?
Cost of Living in Taiwan Taiwan offers a great opportunity for teachers to earn and save money. Although things are cheap, you aren’t sacrificing quality or living in squalor. Taiwan is a cheap, affordable, comfortable place to live. This is especially true of the southern half of Taiwan where housing costs are less than half of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city to the north. In most cases there are three rooms in an apartment. You are able to rent entire apartments or in some cases you can rent a bedroom of an apartment. In cases where you rent a bedroom, the rates for single rooms depend on whether there is a bathroom inside your room or whether you share the bathroom with the other roommates. The rates for apartments, like any country, are also contingent on the area and the age of the apartment, condo or house (this is especially true in Taipei). Sample Monthly Budget for Taiwan - Rent - NT$10,000 - Utilities - NT$1,750 - Food - NT$7,500 - Transportation - NT$700
As a note, it is much easier to find Western goods in Taipei but all major cities have some Western goods. Food, like everything else, is more expensive in Taipei. Remember though that transportation in Taiwan makes it very easy to get up here for a shop for those must have Western goods. Cost of Utilities in Taiwan Utilities run about NT$1500 per month. During the winter it is much cheaper than this. Teachers who run their air conditioning all day long will, of course, pay more than that. So will teachers who exceed the norm on longdistance phone calls. Long distance rates in Taiwan are reasonable, however. Calls to America, for instance, only cost NT$6 per minute. You may get even better rates if you place your call during non-peak hours (11 p.m.-7 a.m. Taiwan time), or if you use a private long-distance company. - Gas: NT$600 - Electricity: NT$500-1,000 (with air-conditioner) - Water: NT$250 - Telephone: NT$500 Cost of Medical and Dental Insurance in Taiwan Compared to Western countries (e.g., America, Canada, South Africa) that have privatized health and dental care, Taiwan is a bargain. With a national health insurance card, a visit to a doctor may be as little as NT$150. National health insurance, however, does not cover 100% of all kinds of medical care. It only pays a portion of
4 hospital stays, surgeries and some types of prescription medicine.
- Gas for a scooter - NT$18 (per liter)
from early China and the Hakka immigrants (such as can be seen in Bangiao at the Lin Family Garden), architectural features used in Chinese temples can also be found across Taiwan. Some of the most famous temples in Taiwan that are not only of historical but also of artistic value, are the Longshan (Dragon Mountain) Temple and the Matzu Temple (Queen of Heaven Temple) in Lukang, and the Chaotian Temple in Peikang.
- Second-hand scooter - NT$7,000-15,000
Folk Custom Culture and Art in Taiwan
- Bicycle - NT$ 500-1,000
Some of Taiwan’s most important annual holidays and festivals include:
Cost of Transportation in Taiwan - Bus - NT$15 - MRT - NT$20-80
- Taxi - NT$85 (minimum fare) NT$5 (per additional km) Cost of Entertainment in Taiwan
- the Chinese New Year - the Lantern Festival
- Movie - NT$250
- the Dragon Boat Festival
- Alcohol - NT$32 (for Taiwanese beer)
- Chinese Valentine’s Day
- Concert - NT$200-2,000
- the Hungry Ghosts Festival
- Pub - NT$200-350 (entry fee) - Pub Drinks - NT$150+ - Tea house - NT$60-150 Culture in Taiwan Culture in Taiwan is amazing. From the celebrated aborgines tribes to the esteemed Chinese heritage and the valued treasures that the original migrants brought with them, Taiwan has amazing culture and history.
Local Taiwanese folk events are great cultural showcases: - the Dajia Matzu Pilgrimage - the Goddess Matzu Making Rounds of Inspection in Beigang - the City God Welcoming in Taipei - the Burning of the Plague God Boat in Dongkang
While gradually developing a new culture indigenous to Taiwan, the people of Taiwan have held on to their respective customs and traditions; as a result, you will be able to sample indigenous, Taiwanese, and Chinese cultures and even find traces left by the Dutch and the Japanese when traveling in Taiwan.
Traditional Chinese opera is very popular in Taiwan but the Taiwanese have also developed its own Taiwanese opera and famous puppet theater. Taiwanese opera combines local opera and music into one performing art, while the puppet theater has undergone great modernization in recent years and many special effects are added to performances today, making it extremely popular among Taiwan’s younger generation. Taiwan’s movies and performing groups are also gradually gaining ground on the international stage, once again demonstrating the traditional and creative value of Chinese and Taiwanese culture.
The Chinese Culture in Taiwan
The Aboriginal Culture in Taiwan
Taiwan forms the center of Chinese art and culture, which is not only obvious from the exhaustive collection of cultural relics from past dynasties exhibited in the famous National Palace Museum, but can also be perfectly illustrated by the traditional architecture and folk art found in Taiwan.
There are many celebrations of aboriginal culture in Taiwan. Taiwan’s original resident nationality belongs to Malaya-Polynesian ancestry. Most aboriginal cultures live in the mountainous areas of Taiwan.
Temples and Buildings in Taiwan
Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Kavalan, Paiwan, Pinuyumayan or Punuyumayan, Rukai, Saisiyat, Thao, Truku, Tsou, and Yami
People from many different places and backgrounds have all played a role in Taiwan’s development. The Dutch colonized Taiwan, so did the Portugeuse, the Spanish, the Japanese and most recently, the Chinese.
Taiwan’s traditional architecture is an aggregation of folk art. Decorations are refined and while they form an important part of the architecture, ranging from colored paintings to calligraphic illustrations, wooden and stone carvings, clay sculptures and ceramics, they tell the story of Taiwan’s rich culture. Next to traditional Chinese architecture brought to Taiwan by the southern Fujianese
There are a total of 12 aborigine tribes in Taiwan:
Each tribe has its’ own respective language, manners, customs and tribal structure, seemingly the only common thread amongst them aside from geographical representation is that fact that each is now facing assimilation and cultural preservation issues.
5 The mysterious customs and traditions of the aborigines, Taiwan’s indigenous people, such as the Harvest Festival (Smatto), the Worship of Hunting (Mabuasu), spiritual rituals, totemism, and snake worship, give an extra dimension to Taiwan’s culture.
institutions as there are in the public ones. Ninety percent of private kindergartens are independently operated, whereas most public kindergartens are affiliated with public elementary schools. Taiwan’s kindergartens admit children aged from four to below six years of age to receive one or two years of education.
Colonial Influence in Taiwan Remnants of colonial periods can still be found in many parts of Taiwan. Fort San Domingo in Danshui, for example, used to be home to the Portuguese and the Dutch successively, while bustling places such as Taipei’s Dihua Street, Taoyuan’s Daxi area, and Tainan’s Xinhua area have still been able to preserve the outstanding baroque architecture left by the Japanese. Some historically significant structures built during the Japanese occupation include the Presidential Office Building, the Executive Yuan, and the old National Taiwan University Hospital Building in Taipei.
Education System in Taiwan Students in Taiwan excel in maths and sciences and traditionally have prescribed to wrote memorization techniques in learning. English has not been a priority in public education until recently and the Ministry of Education in Taiwan is working to create an effective English program in public schools around the nation. Like many other countries, Taiwan’s educational system begins with one to two years of preschool education, and then students attend elementary, junior high (middle school) and high school programs. - Elementary - grade 1 -6 - Junior High School - grade 7-9 - High School - grade 10-12 English does not become a compulsory subject until grade 3 in Taiwan. After finishing compulsory education, students take national exams in order to receive senior secondary education, which includes three years of senior high school, three years of vocational high school, or five years of junior college. To be accepted to post-secondary education, students have to take the Joint College Entrance Examination or other national exams. These tests are highly competitive. After graduation, if students choose to continue their education, they can take the exams required to enter graduate school. Pre-school Education in Taiwan At present, most kindergartens in Taiwan are run by private operators. In fact, there are two times as many private kindergartens as public ones. There are also 3.4 times as many preschool students in these private
Senior Secondary Education in Taiwan Compulsory Education in Taiwan Junior and Senior High School in Taiwan is amazingly stressful for students and teachers. There is incredible pressure to perform well here to score well on tests and get the opportunity to study in some of the “better” universities or colleges in Taiwan. It is not uncommon for students to attend private schools or cram schools in the mornings, evenings and on weekends to get extra preparation and study to outperform classmates. In many cases the need to attend these classes is not simply to outperform but rather to “keep up” with their classmates. Parents who do not provide extra schooling for their children are potentially robbing them of the opportunity to “level the playing field” so their child can perform with the same background knowledge that his or her classmates have. Influenced by Chinese tradition, people in Taiwan have placed a high priority on education; thus, competition for higher education is extremely fierce. Taiwan’s education system has entered a new phase for these students. In the past the single most important aspect of a student’s life was his or her test scores. The Ministry of Education claims to recognize the need for inspiration, individuality and creativity and is now emphasizing participation, cooperation, attendance, quizzes and assignments, as well as tests in final consideration of grades for students and entrance to university. Although this acknowledgment has been made, after the ninth grade, entrance to the next level of education is determined by examination only, though some experimentation is being carried out in Taipei to allow for entrance according to complete academic records instead. Junior Secondary Education in Taiwan There are two types of junior colleges, differing in admission requirements. One type is the five-year junior college for junior high graduates, and the other type is the two-year junior college for senior vocational graduates. In Taiwan, there are 61 junior colleges, of which 10 are public and 51 are private. They offer two-year programs entered after high school, and five-year programs entered after ninth grade. In the past, there were also at least ten junior colleges that offered three-year junior college programs, but they have now been completely phased out. Junior colleges usually specialize in one area, such as business, technology, languages, medicine, nursing, journalism, or home economics.
6 Very often the English transcripts of these institutions do not identify themselves as junior colleges, but simply as “colleges” or “institutes” (many people in Taiwan are under the impression that the word college means junior college which can lead to a great deal of confusion, whether discussing U.S. or Taiwan institutions). But the transcripts will show that no bachelor’s degree was awarded. In Taiwan, graduates of junior colleges are eligible to transfer to local four-year colleges if successful in passing the transfer examination given by the target school/department. As in the U.S., the level at which they may enter is dependent on their previous coursework, examination results, etc., and is decided by the department they are entering. They are also allowed to enter graduate programs, in spite of not having a bachelor’s degree, if they can pass the entrance examination and have had two to three years of work experience. For this reason, perhaps, it is not uncommon for graduates of junior colleges in Taiwan to seek admittance to graduate programs in the U.S., though they are not often successful in obtaining it. However, a few U.S. schools regularly admit graduates of Taiwan junior colleges directly to graduate programs. This practice is usually confined to graduates of well-known junior technical colleges who have outstanding records and high GRE scores and are planning to study computer science or engineering. Usually they also take a “bridge” program to make up deficiencies in undergraduate course work. Junior college graduates who transfer to American universities at the undergraduate level are naturally interested in receiving as much credit as possible for their junior college work. However, it is seldom possible for them to know in advance how many additional credits they will have to complete before they can receive a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Some of the junior colleges have “sister school” or articulation agreements with American universities under which the American school/department agrees on the level at which it will accept graduates of specified programs of the Taiwan school/department concerned. Post-secondary Education in Taiwan After graduation from senior or vocational high school, students face still more examinations before being eligible for entrance into post-secondary institutions. They take these exams in July after graduation from high school. At present, there are two types of post-secondary education available. One type is a bachelor degreegranting university or college program. Most of these programs require four years of education, but for dental or medical school, they are six-year and seven-year programs, respectively. The other type of post-secondary education is a two-year junior college program designed specifically for vocational high school graduates.
Graduate School and Other Options in Taiwan Generally, institutes of technology recruit students through examinations, with two-year institutes of technology admitting junior college graduates and fouryear institutes of technology admitting senior vocational school graduates. A five-year post-bachelor’s degree program of Chinese medicine recruits college graduates who have a minimum of four credits in each of the subjects of biology, organic chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Graduate programs usually admit students only after they have passed relevant examinations. Junior college graduates with relevant work experience are also allowed to take part in graduate school entrance exams. Master’s degree programs last one to four years. Doctorate programs admit master’s degree holders or college graduates majoring in medicine. Such programs require two to seven years. Buxibans (Bushibans) – Private Language Schools In the 1990s, more and more students attend examoriented buxibans. Class rooms are constantly growing larger in size, equipment constantly improving. Have we entered the age of “recreational cramming”? Why exactly do they attend? Buxiban culture has obviously not gone away. On the contrary, supplementary education courses have become increasingly “diversified.” Taking a joint entrance exam is no longer necessary to get into junior high, but there are parents who, wishing to take precautions, worry that standards have fallen in the public middle schools that admit kids without testing. Only if they get into a private junior high will they “have a hope of testing into high school.” For those lucky lads and lasses who don’t have to take such “basic material” as Mandarin, math, and composition, the buxiban market generously offers all kinds of extracurricular curricula in “the arts” - English, rapid math calculation, computers, speed reading, art, music, calligraphy, playing go, swimming, vision enhancement training, and so forth. For nearly any sort of accomplishment that anyone can think of, there’s a buxiban that offers it. Besides the professional buxibans spread throughout every neighborhood, Taiwan has even developed a “Buxiban Boulevard” famous far and wide. Nanyang Street, near the Taipei Train Station, is the prime landmark of Taiwan’s “cram culture.” This street is renowned not only in Taiwan, but also internationally. Not long ago, BBC television reported on math education in Taiwan, and Nanyang street was featured on the program.
7 Food in Taiwan Taiwan has some amazing mouthwatering cuisine. It is also home to some of the strangest foods. “Hundred years eggs” and “stinky tofu” are two names that jump to mind but beyond that there is snake blood soup and some other strange dishes that aren’t for the faint of stomach. You don’t have to have no sense of smell or the courage of a paratrooper to eat in Taiwan. In fact, they pretty much have everything and the food is REALLY good. A Taiwanese person wrote, “Taiwan is in sole possession of the local food, are all the rage the whole world, once after your experience the taste, will certainly the eternal life to be unforgettable.”... Remember, you are going there to teach English. Although it says nothing intelligible about the food, you can tell that the person is quite passionate about what they are saying, maybe it means more in another language? In short, food in Taiwan is great. You don’t have to eat the strange things, and there are lots of tasty easily identified food readily available. Eating in Taiwan is a bit of a regional affair. Each county has its own specialty and eating out is the standard. It’s actually often cheaper to eat out than to prepare something on your own. Here is a quick guide to eating out prices in Taiwan - night market - NT$50 to NT$90 - noodle stalls - NT$20 to NT$80 - KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut - NT$110 to NT180 - moderate and fine dining - $NT250 to $NT1,000 Taiwan is renowned for its delicious food. In addition to the island’s own unique cuisine - a myriad of fine foods and dining experiences - most the world’s favourite foodstuffs and beverages are available here. Not just American hamburgers, but juicy prime rib steaks, Italian pizza and pasta, sea-fresh Japanese sashimi, German pig knuckles and sauerkraut, spicy Korean kimchi, Swiss fondue, chocolate, cheese and more are all handy at various restaurants and markets, making Taiwan a virtual gourmand’s paradise. And for those who like a drink, there are many cosy bars, outdoor beer gardens, plus traditional British and Irish pubs to quench a thirst after a busy day. Fruit in Taiwan When it comes to fruit, Taiwan is second to none in terms of variety and deliciousness and they know it. Fruit exports are among the greatest revenue sources in Taiwan. Taiwan offers a superb climate, geography and growing season for a great many fruits. From tropical heat in the south to sub-tropic temperatures in the low-lying areas to temperate-zones in the mountains, they have it all here.
Those of you who are looking for organic fruit and produce will be pleased to note that annually the availability of organic products is doubling. Taiwan has a famous fruit-filled biscuit called a “pineapple cake, easily recognizable by its distinctive cube form. Try them. They are GREAT. They are also made with blueberries, strawberries, honeydew melon and other fruits. Some samples of the fruit available pretty much year round at very reasonable prices are, Longyan, Jujube, Mandarin Oranges, Oranges, Lemons Kumquats, Apples, Asian Pears, Watermelon, Honeydew Melon, Papaya, Mango, Pineapple, Guava, Banana, Star Fruit, Custard Apple, Loquats, Pomelo, Coconuts, Grapes, Passionfruit, Strawberries, Strawberry Pears (Pitaya). Juice in Taiwan Taiwan has a great supply of wonderful fruit juices. A couple of favorites are the sugar cane juice, plum juice, star fruit juice, and sherb juice. For those of you who usually wake up to a coffee for your breakfast, surprise your taste buds and your senses and have a glass of fruit juice while you’re waiting for the coffee to perk up. Winter Foods - Eating for Survival? When winter arrives in Taiwan people get serious about eating. As another cold front sweeps down across the island, thousands of motorists and shoppers bundle up in heavy jackets, gloves, and ski-caps. The soup restaurants are packed with customers. The empty night markets leave stall owners no choice but to close early. The temperatures on the island are still well above freezing, but Taiwan’s moist air and lack of central heating make the weather seem deceptively colder. It is on days like this that many Chinese turn to steaming broths and stews specially prepared with Chinese herbs to warm the body and fend off colds. Chinese Food in Taiwan Chinese food in Taiwan is great! The best of China has been imported here, some of it came over back in the 15th Century and age old tradition has led to fusion and savory dishes that you won’t be able to get back home. Chinese dishes range from Northern Chinese favorites of roast duck, smoked chicken, quick-boiled lamb, smooth fish fillet, dried scallop radish ball to Souther Chinese favorites of camphor tree tea duck, salty chicken, syrup ham, exploding fried fresh shelled shrimp, dried & fried eggplant, mapo tofu(spicy) ... Hungry yet?
8 History of Taiwan Many teachers ask us whether Taiwan is really a country. Many teachers haven’t even considered that it isn’t and would have similar opinions to Hong Kong and Macau, though there is a good chance that many weren’t even aware that Macau existed. In addressing the questions of Taiwanese sovereignty, it would be best to start only a short while ago in China in 1945. On October 25, 1945, Republic of China (ROC) troops representing the Allied Command accepted the formal surrender of Japanese military forces. This ended Japanese occupation of 50 years. Chang Kai-shek led the ROC administration when they announced that this day was “Taiwan Restoration Day”. The United Nations put China in control of the administration of Taiwan. The ROC left administration in place under the leadership of Chen Yi. Unfortunately corruption and a number of other influences culminated in a loss of popular support for the ROC administration leading to civil unrest and an major uprising on Feb 28, 1947. The Chinese government sent over troops on March 7, 1947 and for a three day period anyone seen on the street was shot, homes were broken into and occupants killed. Wikipedia talks about the 228 Incident in greater detail. The times following 228 Incident were terrible. Martial law was imposed from March 7, 1947 to 1987. During this time, NOTHING could be talked about. No complaints could be made. People were unceremoniously and indiscriminately killed or beaten, and many had property or landed expropriated. In terms of political development, Taiwan has grown into a free and vibrant democracy. In 1987, martial law was lifted by the government, and a series of political reforms were launched in order to expand the democratic process. When the Chinese Communists, under Mao Tse-tung, were vying for control over China with Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists, in an interview with American reporter Edgar Snow, Chairman Mao said: “...we will extend them (the Koreans) our enthusiastic help in their struggle for independence. The same thing applies for Taiwan” Taiwan held their first direct presidential election in 1996. In 2000, the presidential election ended five decades of government under the KMT and power was peacefully transferred from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party. Taiwan has thus established itself as a powerful working model for democracy. On Feb 28, 2004, in commemoration of the 228 incident, Taiwanese people formed a human line 500 kilometers long from the northern tip of Taiwan (Keelung) to it’s southern tip. This was done in an effort to bring light to their oppression and to call for peace and to protest China.
Taiwan has a competitive and dynamic free-market economy which has brought all levels of society unprecedented prosperity. Taiwan joined the WTO in 2002, thereby becoming an official partner in the world trading system. The government is now promoting industrial modernization and a knowledge based economy. Taiwan has entered the circle of developed nations with its continued advancement of democracy, economic liberalization, social pluralization, universal education and technological standards. In 2004, President Chen Shui-bian was re-elected by a narrow margin following a questionable assassination attempt on him mere hours before the election. Chen Shui-bian promised to forge closer relations with China and leave the volatile issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty off the political reform agenda. Snapshot of Taiwan’s Historic Timeline Pre-1600’s Originally, Taiwan was settled by people of MalayPolynesian descent, who initially inhabited the low-lying coastal plains. They called their island Pakan. The Han Chinese began arriving in the 1200’s but there is very little information to say how many came. It is guessed that there were very few until the 1600’s 1544 - Portuguese wave as they pass by As they passed by the island, and Jan Huygen van Linschoten, a Dutch navigator on a Portugese ship, exclaimed “Ilha Formosa” (meaning “Beautiful island”), which became its name for the next four centuries. 1624 - Dutch arrived and established a colony. During the subsequent settlement by the Dutch and the waves of settlers from China, the aborigines retreated to the hills and mountains, and became the “mountain people.” On a narrow peninsula on the South Western coast of the island, the Dutch established a fortress named “Zeelandia”, after the Dutch province of Zeeland. The peninsula was called Tayouan, meaning terrace bay. This later evolved into Taiwan, and came to be the name for the whole island. The Dutch brought in Chinese laborers as migrant workers, for the sugar plantations and rice fields. They usually came for a few years (without family) and then returned to China. Eventually, more settled, and married aborigine wives. Thus a new race was born, the Taiwanese. 1662 Dutch were defeated by a Chinese pirate, Cheng Cheng-kung (Koxinga), a loyalist of the old Ming dynasty. 1662 - Chinese occupation by Ming Dynasty outcasts Following the fall of the Ming Dynasty the leaders fled to Taiwan and used it as a base to regain power from the Qing Dynasty.
9 1683 - Qing Dynasty formally annexed Taiwan. This could have been a move from the Qing to get rid of the Ming or perhaps because Japan was manuevering to perhaps position themselves on the island. 1871 - Japan ship crashes off the southern tip of Taiwan This incident is important for what happened and the result. When the ship crashed, the entire crew of 54 is killed by Paiwan aborigines and Japan asked for compensation from China. China said no becuase the aborgines were outside their juridiction. 1874 - Japan sends troops to invade and lose. 1887 - Qing government make Taiwan a province and name Taipei the capital 1894/95 - Japan invades again and wins
1951-52 the Allied Powers and Japan formally concluded World War II The San Francisco Peace Treaty is important for Taiwan, because it was during the signing of this treaty, with all the allied powers, that Japan formally gave up sovereignty over Taiwan, but it was not determined who was the beneficiary, it was concluded that “...the future status of Taiwan will be decided in accord with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” 1979 - Movement begins to end martial law The tangwai (“outside-the-party”) democratic opposition started to question the KMT’s anachronistic claim to represent all of China, and began to work towards ending the 40-years’ old martial law. In September 1986, this movement culminated in the formation of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which then began its growth into a full-fledged opposition party.
The Japanese defeated Qing China who officially ceded Taiwan to Japan. Many libertarians would argue that when this was done there was no 99 year stipulation like in Macau or Hong Kong.
1987 - Martial law ends
The new Japanese rulers gave Chinese people wishing to remain Chinese, 2 years to get out or all property and rights would be expropriated.
1991 the KMT’s officially recognize that they do not rule China
The Japanese occupation was harsh, but at least the Japanese were not corrupt. The educational system was built up to the same level as in Japan, infrastructure, trains, roads, industry etc. were developed extensively. An excellent academic work on the Japanese period is Mr. George Kerr’s work on the “Formosan Home Rule Movement.” 1945 - WWII ended and the United Nations gave temporary administrative control to the Republic of China. 1949 - Chiang Kai-shek lost the war on the mainland, and fled to Taiwan. During this time many of the most influential people from the Kuomintang (KMT) came over to Taiwan and they brought with them many great Chinese treasures that they did not wish the new regime to have. Chiang Kai-shek established his new regime in Taiwan. For the next four decades, the people of Taiwan lived under Martial Law, while the Kuomintang (KMT) attempted to maintain the fantasy that they ruled all of China, and would some day “recover” the mainland. Chinese mainlanders who came over with Chiang Kai-shek constituted 15 percent of the population of the island, but were able to maintain themselves in a position of power over the 85 percent native Taiwanese through tight control of the political system, police, military, educational system and media.
Martial Law was finally dropped in 1987, but replaced by a less-stringent National Security Law.
The aging Nationalist Chinese legislators in Taiwan elected on the mainland in 1947 were sent into retirement. Since then the island has made major strides in the direction of a fully democratic political system. 1992 President Lee Teng-hui Reforms National Security Law, which continued to restrict freedom on the island until it was abolished. Lee gradually started to restructure the anachronistic system brought over by the Kuomintang from China in the late 1940s. He pushed through reforms which abolished the Legislative Yuan and National Assembly seats still held by aging representatives since their election in China in 1947. 1991-92, Taiwan saw its first direct elections of all legislators. 1996 - President Lee is officially elected President Lee continued his push for reforms and in 1996, for the first time in history, the Taiwanese were able to directly elect their President. Lee also pushed for the abolishment of the “Taiwan Province” layer of government, as well as of the National Assembly, which eventually ceased to function in 2005. March 2000 Elections The transition to democracy culminated in March 2000 in the election of Chen Shui-bian, who won with 39.3% of the vote in a three-way race against KMT candidate Lien Chan and independent candidate James Soong.
10 In March 2004, President Chen consolidated his position with a slightly over 50% victory over a combined ticket of Messrs.
Holidays in Taiwan During major religious and civic holidays, banks and offices, embassies, consulates and TECO offices are usually closed. It is important to note that during Chinese New Year, Taiwan and the rest of Asia really comes to a halt, many restaurants will close up and you can expect to pay more for consumer services and goods. Taxi fares double but it’s still a bargain when compared with Western fares.
holidays. The Taiwanese and Chinese have long accepted the coexistence of two calendar systems. A lunar month is determined by the period required for the moon to complete its full phasic cycle of 29 and half days, a standard that makes the lunar year a full 11 days shorter than its solar counterpart. This difference is made up every 19 years by the addition of seven lunar months. The 12 lunar months are further divided into 24 solar divisions distinguished by the four seasons and times of heat and cold, all bearing close relationship to the yearly cycle of agricultural work. Noted days of the Lunar Calendar - 1st day of 1st lunar month Chinese New Year
The Taiwanese use the Chinese Lunar Calendar which means some important traditional holidays change each year. However, the majority of holidays are based on a set date. It is also important to note that in Taiwan they will actually change many of the holidays to coincide with a Saturday, this is called “adjusts to work” and is done to ensure the greatest productivity is achieved and that holidays don’t mess up work schedules. This is problematic with language schools. Note that your school has to follow the government requirements.
- 15th day of 1st lunar month Lantern Festival
Be sure to check with your school to see what days are holidays and if you are planning on travel make sure you make reservations WELL in advance and be prepared to deal with crowds. National holidays in Taiwan are huge events.
- 8th day of 4th lunar month Buddha’s Birthday
Here is a list of holidays in Taiwan
- 13th day of 5th lunar month Cheng Huang’s Birthday
- January 1 - Founding Day of the ROC (three day bank holiday) - January or February - Chinese New Year (3 days to 5 days)
- 15th day of 1st lunar month Tourism Day - 2nd day of 2nd lunar month Earth God’s Birthday - 19th day of 2nd lunar month Kuan Yin’s Birthday - 15th day of 3rd lunar month God of Medicine’s Birthday - 23rd day of 3rd lunar month Matsu’s Birthday - 5th day of 5th lunar month Dragon Boat Festival (Duan Wu Festival) - 13th day of 5th lunar month Kuan Kung’s Birthday
- 7th day of 7th lunar month Chi Hsi Festival - 15th day of 7th lunar month Ghost Festival
- February 28 - Memorial Day
- 15th day of 8th lunar month Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival)
- April 5 - Tomb Sweeping Day
- 9th day of 9th lunar month Double Ninth Festival
- May 1 - Labour/Labor Day
- 15th day of 10th lunar month Saisiat Festival
- June - Dragon Boat Festival (on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month) - September 3 - Armed Forces Day - September - Mid-Autumn Festival (on the 15th day of the ninth lunar month) - October 10 - National Day (Double Tenth Day) - December 25 - Constitution Day (not always a holiday) Prior to adoption of the Western solar calendar system, Taiwan followed a lunar calendar in determining the times of planting, harvesting, and festival occasions. Today people in Taiwan use the western calendar for most practical matters of daily life, the old system still serves as the basis for determining many seasonal
Housing in Taiwan Apartments in Taiwan are generally spacious and relatively CHEAP! If you’ve taught English in Korea or Japan you’ll be amazed. If you’re a first timer, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Please take a look at some samples at the end of this section. In many cases schools in Taiwan don’t provide housing with your teaching job but they do provide assistance for you to find housing. This assistance is extremely helpful when trying to negotiate leases and find a location you’re happy with. Apartment hunting in Taiwan can be a mind-boggling challenge BUT with a little luck and a lot of patience,
11 you may hit the jackpot and your housing is going to be your oasis, your respite, your place to escape the noise, the smells, the sensory overload; you get the point. Living standards in Taiwan are not quite the same as in the West but rest-assured it can be pretty comfy. Find a nice place. Get comfortable and you’ll get more out of your teaching experience in Taiwan. The cost of an apartment in Taiwan varies from city to city. In all cases, apartments in Taiwan are much cheaper than one might expect. As a note a cheap hostel will cost about NT$6,000/month. Cost of an Apartment in Taipei - One bedroom: NT$5,500 - 10,000 - Three bedroom: NT$16,000 - 35,000 - Taipei business district: NT$50,000 - 80,000 - Taipei residential: NT$23,000 - 35,000 - Taipei suburb: NT$12,000 - 18,000 Cost of an Apartment in Taichung - Taichung residential: NT$12,000 - 25,000 Cost of an Apartment in Keelung - One bedroom: NT$2,500 - 7,000 - Three Bedroom: NT$8,500 - 20,000 Cost of an Apartment in Kaohsiung - One bedroom: NT$3,000 - 7,000 - Three Bedroom: NT$10,000 - 20,000 - Kaoshiung residential: NT$7,000 - 10,000 In most cases there are three rooms in an apartment. You are able to rent entire apartments or in some cases you can rent a bedroom of an apartment. In cases where you rent a bedroom, the rates for single rooms depend on whether there is a bathroom inside your room or whether you share the bathroom with the other roommates. The rates for apartments, like any country, are also contingent on the area and the age of the apartment, condo or house (this is especially true in Taipei).
Internet in Taiwan Taiwan and Korea rival one another in Asia with respect to the amount of time spent on-line. Almost all new apartments in Taiwan come hardwired with broadband making keeping in touch with friends and family at home, planning trips, researching culture and lesson planning SUPER FAST and ultra convenient. The average cost of a broadband connection with unlimited access time in Taiwan is USD $15 ~ 28 per month. Nowadays, there are lots of free ISP connections.
If you don’t get hooked up at your apartment, you will always have internet at your school and internet cafes are plentiful on the streets of Taiwan, and time is dirt cheap: most charge only NT$15~30 ($0.50 USD) per hour.
Language in Taiwan The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese (Guoyu), but because many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent, Min-nan (the Southern Min dialect, or Holo) is also widely spoken. The smaller groups of Hakka people and indigenous people have also preserved their own languages. Many elderly people can also speak some Japanese, as they were subjected to Japanese education before Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule in 1945 after the Japanese occupation which lasted for half a century. The most popular foreign language in Taiwan is English (lucky for us English teachers), which is part of the regular school curriculum. Although most people speak some level of English, it is advised that you have instructions to get to your school and to your home written in Chinese so you can show a local or a taxi driver. Basic Mandarin Phrases Learning Mandarin Here some basic Mandarin phrases you might find useful: - Yes = shr - No = bu shr - Thank you = shie shie - Thank you very much = fei chang gan shie / hen gan shie - You’re welcome = bu yung shie
12 - Please = ching
- Ticket = piau
- Excuse me = duei bu chi
- Train = huo che
- Hello = ni hau
- Bus = gung che
- Goodbye = tzai jian
- Subway, Underground = jie yun
- Good morning = tzau an
- Airport = ji chang
- Good afternoon = wu an
- Train station = huo che jan
- Good evening = wan shang hau
- Bus stop = gung che jan
- Good night = wan an
- Subway station, Underground station = jie yun jan
- Do you speak ... = ni huei jiang ... ma? - English = ying yu - I = wo - We = wo men - You (singular, familiar) = ni - You (singular, formal) = nin - You (plural) = ni men - He/She = ta - They = ta men - Where is the bath room? = shi shou jian tzai na li? - How are you? = ni hau ma? - How much does this cost? = je duo shau chian? - Do you accept credit cards? = ni jie shou shin yung ka ma? - I’ll buy it. = wo yau mai - Please bring the bill. = mai dan - Bread = mian bau
Living in Taiwan Living and teaching in Taiwan is an amazing life changing experience. Whether you’re a season ESL teacher with overseas teaching experience or if you’re fresh out of college with a passport and a plane ticket, Taiwan represents an amazing teaching opportunity and a cultural experience second to none. The most important thing to remember when teaching and traveling abroad is that every day represents something special. Life is amazing when you’re teaching abroad. Soak up every moment. Smile and laugh easily and you’ll be presented with experiences that will simply leave you mesmerized. One really never knows what to expect when teaching and living abroad. Taiwan is a country that will truly amaze you. Many experienced teachers who lived and taught ESL in Korea and China have come to Taiwan and said they were glad they left Taiwan to the end. These teachers go on to say that if they had taught English in Taiwan first, they wouldn’t have made it through China or Korea. Taiwan is easy. The Taiwanese people are fun and relaxed. And the climate in Taiwan is just about perfect. What more could you ask for?
- Coffee = ka fei - Tea = cha
Packing for Taiwan
- Juice = guo jr
Items to bring with you
- Water = shuei
In choosing to teach English abroad for a year, you are making a choice to live in a foreign country. You should not try to re-create every aspect of your daily life in your home country - not only is it impossible, but even if you succeeded what would be the point in moving to a foreign country?
- Beer = pi jiou - Wine = jiou - Meat = ro - Beef = niou rou - Pork = ju rou - Fish = yu - Vegetable = shu tsai - Fruit = shuei guo - Salad = sha la - Dessert = dian shin - How much is the fare? = che piau duo shau qian?
The most important thing to bring with you is a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt your lifestyle to a new and foreign environment. Don’t be one of those sad saps who sits in a foreign bar crying in your beer and lamenting the lack of Doritos in Taiwan, remember it is you who is making the choice to live in a country where squid tentacles, not Doritos is the snack food of choice. We do not suggest you bring everything on the list below or you will have exceeded you baggage limitation already, however you may want to choose some items
13 that will remind you of home and make the transition to life in Taiwan easier. No matter how much you like Taiwan you will experience moments of homesickness and have “I hate Taiwan” days, and for those special occasions it is nice to have your favorite book and a can of chicken noodle soup on hand. However even if you brought nothing from this list with you will be fine. Taiwanese lived for thousands of years without deodorant and peanut butter. Western foodstuffs to pack for Taiwan - Western cooking spices - lemon pepper, Montreal steak spice, oxo cubes, french onion, dukka - Honey - Oatmeal and other hot breakfast cereals- Dried soup mixes -a nice comfort food to have when you are feeling sick, blue or hung over. - Mexican style spices - Walnuts, brazil nuts, and other exotics can be next to impossible to find. Baking Supplies Don’t expect your apartment to have an oven. However, if you are lucky enough to have access to an oven and you plan on doing some baking bring baking supplies with you, i.e. baking powder, cream of tartar, etc. Western medicines and pharmaceutical products - Tylenol - Midol - Pepto-Bismol - Tums
Teaching Materials to Bring to Taiwan Your school will be stocked with textbooks, games and other materials to supplement your classes with, and your students will be expected to bring notebooks, pens, pencils and erasers with them to class. Don’t worry about having to stock your school with enough teaching supplies to last 50 kids for a year. If you wish to bring some teaching stuff with you, a good idea is to bring several packages of stickers with you that have English words on them – “great”, “good job” etc. Not only is this an effective way to reinforce vocabulary, but they make great rewards for good behavior, doing homework on time, etc. Use rewards judiciously or else all of your students will expect rewards all the time. Western games such as Twister, Monopoly or Monopoly Jr., and Boggle are great ‘fun time’ activities. Western holiday theme materials also make for great lesson plans. Female Teachers’ Packing List - Tampons - Cosmetics - Bras - Swimming suit - Shoes - Birth Control Pills - Birth control pills are available in Taiwan. You should see a doctor to get a prescription. 150-250 NT$ once you have your ARC card. - Condoms - these are a good thing to have whether active or not. Asian condoms tend to break easily and are different sizes. Miscellaneous Items to Pack
Important Note: If you take prescription medications check with the representative working on your placement.
- A copy of your vital documents: Bring photocopies of your passport, degree, transcripts and photo ID in case you lose your passport or other documents and need to replace them.
Clothes to Bring to Taiwan
- Pictures from home
Clothes tend to be cheaper in Taiwan than in western countries. If you happen to be bigger or taller than typical sized Taiwanese people, you may want to bring most of your clothes with you. Western brand name clothes, Levi’s, GAP, Polo, etc. will be more expensive in Taiwan than back home, but imitation Polo, Levi’s and GAP clothes will be far cheaper in Taiwan. Natural fiber clothes can be more difficult to locate in Taiwan. The rule of thumb is comfortable casual - as long as you aren’t wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and your clothes aren’t dirty or wrinkled, you will be fine. It is important to note, however, that Taiwanese are image conscious, and you will be treated with far more respect if you dress nicely. Pretty much a standard statement anywhere.
Weather in Taiwan Tropical bliss! Most of Taiwan has beautiful warm climate year round. You can leave your winter coat behind when you go to Taiwan to teach but it is advised to bring an umbrella. The weather here is amazing (for those of you who like subtropical heat and humidity). Because Taiwan is a relatively small island, the ocean breezes have an cooling effect on much of the country so it never really feels TOO hot. It should also be noted that because this is a tropical country, it is subject to more rain than in most other areas but for those of you who live in areas like Seattle,
14 Vancouver, London, Cape Town or Johannesburg, showers are shortlived and blue skies prevail on most days. The annual average temperature is a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius with the lowest temperatures ranging from 12 to 17 degrees Celsius (54-63 Fahrenheit). The average amount of rainfall is about 2,500 mm per year, most of which comes in the form of a typhoon. At least three to four typhoons hit Taiwan every year, providing much of the Islandâ€™s water supply, but also causing damage, flooding, and landslides. When the typhoons come through schools will close and there is genuine fear around the country as really strong winds and very heavy rain can have devastating effects. Please note, there are areas in Taiwan that do get cold. These are the high alpine areas like in Alishan. Most of Taiwan fits into the average temperatures listed previously.
Contact Details Should you have any further questions regarding any of our programs (Teach Korea, Teach China, Teach Taiwan, Teach Thailand), please contact the OVC on www.ovc. co.za.