Coming to Taiwan during COVID through TeachTaiwan
Written by Teacher Taylor
Teaching English in Asia was always a goal of mine since I graduated college. After careful consideration, I decided to teach in Taiwan. Taiwan is a beautiful island with a very rich history and culture, and besides, living there would allow me to improve my Mandarin skills. Every American dreams of having a vacation in Hawaii, so I thought why not come live in the Hawaii of Asia!
However, moving to a foreign country can be a daunting task for anyone. But with the addition of a global pandemic, it can almost seem impossible. Fortunately, with the help of Teach Taiwan, the process was very simple, streamlined, and stress-free. I have studied abroad before, and I can honestly say that the application process was much more effortless.
When I first applied through Teach Taiwan, I was told the requirements to work as a public school teacher in Taiwan.
These things included:
1) A TEFL certificate
2) A Bachelor’s degree
3) And a teaching license from your home countr
Once I showed I fulfilled all these requirements, I began the interview process with Pauline. I was asked many questions about my motivations for coming to Taiwan, my experience in education, and how I plan on confronting different issues in regards to facilitating the students' learning. This interview wasn’t very intensive. It felt more like a friendly conversation about education that was rather enjoyable. Once the interview was over, I was contacted and was told when schools would begin posting positions and when I could expect to hear back. One month later, I received an offer and began the first step of this new journey.
✅The Visa process✅
The visa process in Taiwan is not that much unlike the visa process for other countries. However, before you can apply for the visa, you need to receive your work permit. Teach Taiwan will apply for the permit for you. It took me 3 weeks to receive my work permit. That’s the typical amount of time.
Afterward, I just contacted my local TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office) to inquire about the next steps. They told me I needed to send the following documents through mail:
1) visa application form ( can be found on the TECO website )
2) my physical passport
3) 2 passport photos
4) original work permit ( The school can email the document directly to TECO)
5) $160 in money order ( pay to TECO)
6) a prepaid FedEx or ups shipping label for return
It was just one week before my passport was returned with a new shiny Taiwan Visa on one of its pages.
I was elated when I received the news that I had been accepted to teach at a public high school in Taoyuan. It felt like I had worked hard to get to this point and that now all of my hard work was paying off. I felt that this opportunity to work abroad would provide me with a chance to see a world unlike my own. Also, I would not just be able to further my career, but also progress in my personal development and see life in a different light.
After being accepted, my interviewer, Pauline, handed me off to the local coordinator in Taoyuan, Eshan. The transition was smooth and Eshan told me everything I needed to do and the documents I needed to send in. She applied for the work permit on my behalf and helped make the whole exchange very comfortable.
Once I had finished handling my visa, it was time to start planning the trip to Taiwan. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, I needed to spend 14 days in a quarantine hotel. It can be stressful trying to find an appropriate hotel that the government will accept. Fortunately, the wonderful people at Teach Taiwan gave me a contact to someone who was a foreign affairs officer who gave me a list of hotels, the square footage of each room, and their price. No matter where I stayed, all 3 meals would be provided and included in the price. I searched online at the different hotels to find the one that fit my needs the most. After deciding where I wanted to stay, I let the officer know and they booked the room on my behalf. The entire process was very stress-free.
Once landing in Taiwan, I needed to go through customs. But before I could do that, I needed to fill out a form, letting the Taiwanese government know where my hotel was. Because the police needed to regularly call me during the 14-day quarantine to check on my health condition, I needed to get a sim card before leaving the airport. This was very convenient because I needed a phone number anyway, and this just helped expedite the process. Everyone at the airport was extremely nice, helpful, and patient with me as I was going through all the different processes. Once I went through customs after getting the sim card and filling out the quarantine form, I was directed to a taxi that would take me to the hotel. After arriving at the hotel, they let me know about their policies and reiterated the fact that I would not be able to leave until my quarantine was over.
My 14-day quarantine included a lot of Netflix, Youtube, yoga, and self-reflection. I’m not going to lie and say I enjoyed the 14 days, it honestly felt like I was in prison at points, but it did have some highlights. I was able to finish all 112 episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho, it gave me plenty of time to video chat with friends at night, and it gave me a unique experience I will never forget.
After being in quarantine for 14 days, Eshan, the local coordinator in Taoyuan picked me up at the hotel. While I was in quarantine, I looked at some apartments that were available and Eshan helped arrange a time for us to go see them. Every place we went was nice, and the landlords were very sweet, but I finally decided on a place that was within walking distance of my school.
After finding the apartment, Eshan helped take me to Carrefour where I was able to buy all the necessities for my new life in Taiwan. Being able to find a good apartment and get everything I needed in one day helped set my heart at ease.
My at-home quarantine was finished 7 days later. This wasn't as strict as the hotel quarantine. I was able to go outside and go on runs, get food, and explore the new town I would be living in. Before coming to Taiwan, I knew I didn't want to live in a big city. Fortunately, my current home and school are both in the rural parts of Taiwan, where I am surrounded by beautiful natural scenery everywhere I look.
Teaching in Taiwan is surely going to be an experience of a lifetime. Not only will I have the opportunity to improve my teaching skills, but I will be able to learn how to navigate a culture very different from my own. Of course, it's going to be challenging, especially in the beginning. However, with the help of Teach Taiwan, I believe I have been given the tools to succeed, and now it's up to me to make that happen.
Photo Credits: Teacher Taylor✅