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Teaching English in Sanxia, Taiwan - Alumni Q&A with Jennifer Fernandez
Written By: Jennifer Fernandez | Updated: July 19, 2021
Written By: Jennifer Fernandez
Updated: July 19, 2021
What is your citizenship?
What city and state are you from?
Mendham, New Jersey
How old are you?
What is your education level and background?
Have you traveled abroad in the past?
Some international travel with friends, family, business, etc.
If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?
If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?
What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?
I wanted to expand my horizons linguistically and mentally. I had a strong desire to experience a different culture and learn things only learned from full immersion.
What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?
I had very little teaching experience, none ESL related, so I worried that I wouldn't be able to find a good position. I was also worried about the giant language barrier. I moved to Taiwan without any Chinese background. Both of my worries worked out just fine.
What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?
My friends thought it was spontaneous and maybe a little crazy but were supportive nonetheless. My family was sad and worried about such a drastic move, but they were incredibly supportive.
TEFL CLASS INFORMATION
Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?
I knew I wanted to move to a completely different country and teaching English was the best way to do it for me. I researched various TEFL programs online but International TEFL Academy had a support system of advisors and alumni with experience ready to connect with.
Which TEFL certification course did you take?
Online TEFL Course
How did you like the course?
The group was set up like my online courses I had in college. Easy online platform to manoeuvre and contact other students in the course. My instructor was punctual and knowledgeable. The tasks themselves were straightforward and not too time consuming as I was working full time. The practicum could have been more pleasant. (pick the location for your practicum hours wisely!)
How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?
The lessons in the course are relevant and gave me background knowledge and tips about the future experience in the classroom. Of course, nothing beats hands-on experience!
Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?
I decided to teach English in Taiwan in the city of Sanxia. I found my current job from a TEFL Academy alumni and since our job provided housing, we would be living together. Things worked out perfectly having someone that went through the same course and working at my future job.
How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?
I have been in Taiwan for six months and plan to stay for a year.
What school, company, or program are you working for?
Carden American School
During which months does your school typically hire?
Did you secure this position in advance of arriving?
How did you interview for this position?
What kind of Visa did you enter on?
Please explain the visa process that you went through.
My school went through the visa process for me, and I only provided the documentation.
What are the qualifications that your school requires for teachers? Please check all that apply
- TEFL Certification
- Bachelor's degree
What is the best way to apply?
Tell us about your English teaching job!
My job is pretty flexible working about 50 hours every two weeks paying 500 NT per hour. Since my job provides housing and meals if you're there around lunch/dinner, I am able to save plenty. It is a private cram school with students ages 3-14. Our vacations included 10 days for Chinese New Year and national holidays throughout the year. We have assistants that translate to Chinese if necessary but mostly its an English only policy. I love my experiences here so far.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?
My school provided housing and I actually ended up living with a TEFL alumn and another roommate. We all work at the same school. It's a cozy apartment, so I can't complain.
COUNTRY INFORMATION - FUN!
Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc...
Cultural aspects: Culturally Taiwan is very different from the states. One thing I had to get used to was all the bowing. Not excessive bowing but a polite head nod for every thank you and greeting.
Public transportation: The public transportation is impeccable. They have extremely clean and organized bus and MRT (metro) systems. All you need is a yoyo card and you're set.
Nightlife in my town is nonexistent, but a quick MRT away and I'm in Taipei with, clubs, bars, or KTV (karaoke).
Social activities are plenty. There are many expat facebook groups, and meetups where you can select an activity you're interested, join a group, and go!
Expat community: In that regard, the expat community is quite connected in the small island of Taiwan, especially in the Taipei area.
Food: The food here is phenomenal. I am a huge dumpling, bubble tea, and mochi fan so I very quickly got used to the food around me.
Travel opportunities: Since Taiwan is smack in the middle of South Korea, Philippines, China, Japan, these countries are a quick flight away. Tickets are cheap too!
COUNTRY INFORMATION - MONEY
What are your monthly expenses?
I don't pay rent and the school provides most meals. Really I only pay for my social activities, transportation, phone, and weekend meals. Monthly that might come out to a couple hundred USD per month, definitely not more than $300.
How would you describe your standard of living?
Daily life is comfortable. I have a washer, a stove, and a spacious apartment. There are some luxuries I do miss from the states like a clothes dryer.
In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?
To live comfortably, someone could earn about 5,000 NT a month.
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?
Do it! Take that leap and start a new adventure. There's no telling what experiences await and how many incredible people you have yet to meet. I would absolutely recommend Taiwan as the country to start teaching in.
Jennifer is 24 from New Jersey with a BA in psychology from Rutgers University. Prior to earning her TEFL certification from International TEFL Academy, she had absolutely zero teaching experience or training. Since completing her TEFL class, she has moved to Taiwan to teach English. She enjoys reading, traveling, and being with nature when she’s not looking for her next adventure.
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