Where should I go to teach English: Taiwan or Thailand?

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ESL Tate
I have been an ESL Teacher for more than 15 years and a Teacher trainer for the last three. Now I help new teachers start their journey traveling and teaching English abroad.
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When it comes to teaching English abroad, Asia is one of the best places to find a fantastic job even without many years of teaching experience. If you have thought about teaching and living abroad, and make money, Asia is a continent to get started and Thailand and Taiwan offer plenty of opportunities.

With the continent having so many countries to choose from, it can prove a hard task to know the country to start and which one to leave. Which is the best country? How do you know where to pick? Everyone talks about South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia even Myanmar and often forget about Taiwan and Thailand.

This article has picked two of the promising destinations in the continent as far as teaching English is concerned, and these are, Taiwan and Thailand, and analyzes which best suits an English teacher. Hint, they are both great, it really comes down to what experience you are want to have. I loved Taiwan but I also loved Thailand when I went for a couple of months touring South East Asia.

Thailand bar
Having cocktails at this beautiful bar in Thailand

Know the schools to teach in Thailand or Taiwan

As far as schools in Thailand are concerned, a teacher will mostly teach at a public school. The country has a set pay, set hours, and lots of holidays that teachers can enjoy.

Thailand is also a country where teachers are very friendly and where a teacher gets to participate in each other’s activities. The disadvantage that one may find is the fact that public schools ought to give teachers much work within a short period and without explanations on how to deliver. For example, one may be given the task of setting exams with only a two-day notice and without guidance.

Taiwan
Night view of Taiwan after exploring the night markets

In Taiwan, on the other hand, teachers most likely work at cram schools. It suits those who love working in the afternoon. There are a majority of classes that start at 2.00 pm.

As far as pay is concerned, Taiwan usually pays per hour, and the schedule varies depending on the student’s influx; although, this is not always the case. As long as teachers keep the minimum required hours, some schools offer a six-month guaranteed wage.

Taiwanese teachers are usually very welcoming at work. However, there isn’t an enormous sense of solidarity, as teachers are always going and coming in private type of schools.

Tourism and Travel

In Thailand, there are so many travel destinations. On off days such as weekends and holidays, there are plenty of travel destinations that one can travel.

Many bus routes will drive you around the country at affordable rates. Most specifically, in Thailand, around October, one gets a month or two off. At this time, however, the pay isn’t that great. It, however, offers plenty of time for teachers who love exploring to travel through the country.

Taiwan, as compared to Thailand, has excellent systems of transportation, such as the high-speed rat. There are also three international airports.

A teacher can travel from the south to the north and verse versa in just 3 hours. The distance may be small, but there exists plenty of attraction that a teacher can visit to break boredom during weekends. For the holidays that are much longer, there is the Philippines, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan to reach in a 3-hour flight.

Cost of living and wage

As far as Thailand is concerned, converting the wage that one receives to that of their home country may seem as if it is not that much.

However, speaking of the conditions in Thailand, the pay is more than enough to make one comfortably live a teacher’s life. If you love saving, Thailand pay is just enough to help you save a little. However, it’s not as much compared to other Asian countries.

For a teacher who has been to Thailand, moving to Taiwan may seem a bit more expensive. If you are from a country in the west, then the prices of commodities in Taiwan will delight you.

Groceries may be somewhat expensive; however, rent is very cheap. Most teachers’ families opt to eat out as opposed to cooking. For the first six months of teaching in Taiwan, 18% of a teacher’s wage will be taken by taxes at the end of the year; however, one ends up with a hefty refund.

Food, food, food

fish cooked in thailand
Baked fish and veg in Thailand

Food is one of the aspects that will influence your teaching experience. Thai food involves exploring various flavors. They are plenty of delicious and spicy foods. Vegetarian teachers aren’t also left out. Delicious vegetarian meals are available. There are also plenty of fruits in Thailand.

In Taiwan, a majority of the population are vegetarian, making the country have more variety of vegetable than Thailand. Teachers wanting to explore local cuisines can give a visit to Taiwan markets. Long queues exist in Taiwanese food shops, and if you love shopping for food, this could be your disadvantage.

The Expat teacher experience

In Thailand, teachers from other countries are welcomed warmly. Though one may tend to be discouraged by news going around portraying the country negatively, this is not the case. The locals are warmhearted and cheerful, and a new teacher can appreciate the goodness that the locals offer.

On the other hand, in Taiwan, as compared to Thailand, there’s less tourism, which makes being a foreigner intriguing to the locals. This however does not take from heir hospitality. Touring through the night markets is a treat and the locals are warm and treat the foreigners like they treat their neighbors.

Foreigners in Thailand as well as in Taiwan tend to attract a multitude of stares daily, which might affect your performance as a teacher, especially for the first days. It takes a bit of time to get used to it.

However, some locals want to have conversations with foreigners, and there will be some good moments. English is more widespread in Taiwan, and most of the locals you’ll come across have some knowledge of English.

They are also ready to offer help, and in case one needs help, for example, to find a place, they will try as much as they can to ensure that they give directions.

The bottom line

The bottom line is, for most English as a second language teachers who may want to discover Asia and choose a country to teach, Taiwan and Thailand are a perfect choice.

Both countries have lots to do and see, with amazing destinations and a rich history. It may thus be hard for a teacher to choose which of the two countries to choose and which one to leave, however, with this Taiwan Versus Thailand article. A teacher can always look at each country’s pros and cons and choose the country that best suits them.

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