As I prepare for living in Taiwan as of August/September of this year, I’ve made plenty of lists and considered what I’ll be needing.
Here’s a rundown of what I have so far:
Location – I will be living and working in Jhubei City (also Romanized as Chubei). The area is pretty wealthy as a result of the home county, Hsinchu, being the “Silicon Valley” of Taiwan. The whole area is located within the Taipei metropolitan area, so I’ll be in the northern part of the country. I DO hope to travel south and east into the mountains and to the beaches during my weekends. Cities like Hong Kong will be a long-weekend trip, so I look forward to that as a possibility as well.
Employment – I will be working for a private bilingual school in Hsinchu County. I’m still skittish on naming it, even though I doubt my future employer will find this blog, so I’ll just stay safe.
With that said, I’ll be teaching younger kids than I am used to working with – as I’ll probably have middle grade/elementary students. My main subject will be English, but since the school teaches some “immersion” classes, I may end up picking up some basic science or social studies.
The interesting thing is that I DO have experience teaching English in an immersion environment. My current job has me teaching about 4 English Language Learners (ELLs) per day. Last year, I had something silly – like 10. The reason I say “silly” is because I had 2/3 of the ELL students in my department. Why they gave so many to a kid from Ohio is beyond me. To their credit, they DID train me for it eventually…
Vehicle – Much to my grandmother’s chagrin, I’ll be buying a scooter at some point – or at least I hope to do so. I’ll probably be bumming rides and using public transportation until then. The reason for the wait is that I’ll have to take a test and become insured – and I can do none of this until my Alien Resident Card (ARC) clears.
Apartment – I’ll expect to pay anywhere from US $200 – $400 per month. Not bad at all. Taipei City apartments can easily go for $500 – cheap on American standards.
Personal Items – I’m selling many of my belongings. It’s cheaper than storage. A tough decision to make, but it makes sense.
Phone Calls – I’ll be using Skype, and thankfully will be able to easily get a cell for local calls. Let me know if you need my contact information on Skype – if I know you of course. I’ve showed many of my family members how to use GChat and talk through video – my MacBook should aid in this.
Medical Insurance – …will be covered by the government of Taiwan. I’m liking this already.
Visa – I’ll get a visa that serves visitors with an intent to work at first. My school is sponsoring the Alien Resident Card for a year.
4 months to go. Wish me luck.