Teach English in Taiwan: Financial Snapshot
ESL teachers in Taiwan typically earn between NT$50,000 - 80,000 per month and enjoy a low cost of living. Low housing, living, dining, and travelling expenses allow for a comfortable lifestyle and savings at the end of the month.
Taiwan’s rental housing market varies between cities and districts, and in terms of lifestyle levels. Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, demands the highest rental prices but are still very affordable in light of world housing costs. ESL teachers typically choose a studio or one-bedroom apartment with costs ranging from NT$5,000 - 20,000. Many choose a three or four-bedroom house and share the cost with other teachers in order to have the conveniences of a larger living space.
Most landlords require a two-month deposit and one month’s rent in advance when signing a rental lease. Utilities are usually not included in the rental price and can range from NT$2,000 - 3,000/month.
Banking in Taiwan is relatively straightforward if one has proper documentation, which typically includes the ARC (Alien Resident Certificate) and passport. There are two main types of banks in Taiwan: government-run and independent. Foreigners in Taiwan tend to find the independent banks more convenient as they accept foreign ATM cards that have the Cirrus, Maestro, or Plus symbol on the back, allowing withdrawals from abroad. They also issue an ATM card when an account is opened.
Some ATMs still charge a nominal fee for transactions and usually don’t enforce a daily cash withdrawal limit. As well, English can be chosen as an option when using ATM machines. Caution should be exercised when using ATM machines by covering the keypad when entering the PIN, and by choosing an ATM that is centrally located in a bank, mall, or reputable shopping area. Fake ATMs that scrape personal bank information and give a message that there is no cash available are becoming more prevalent.
Banks in city centres are typically open from approximately 09:00 to 15:30 weekdays, and have at least one employee who can speak English. There are several international banks available including HSBC and Citibank.
A couple of tips:
- ESL teachers should take start-up money to cover initial set-up costs, apartment costs, and other living expenses prior to receiving first paycheque.
- Credit card companies in one’s home country should be made aware of one’s relocation so that they don’t freeze accounts when they see charges in another country (an unusual pattern).
While many items in Taiwan are on par with Western prices, some things are significantly cheaper. The following table provides ESL teachers with examples of the cost of food in Taiwan.
- 500 g Ground Beef – NT$344
- 2 L Whole Milk – NT$138
- 500 g Whole Chicken – NT$87
- 500 g Dry Pasta – NT$69
- 500 g Baking Potatoes – NT$30
- 500 g Rice – NT$30
- 340 g Box of Cheerios – NT$92
- Can of Coke – NT$30
- Bottled Water – NT$20
- Bowl of Noodles – NT$100
Other Miscellaneous Items
- Cinema Ticket – NT$200 - 300
- Second-hand Mobile Phones – NT$2,000 +
- Local Phone Calls (3 Minutes) – NT$3
- Bus Ride – Approx NT$15 - 25