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Old 10-08-2009, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
259 posts, read 1,121,687 times
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I am considering teaching English in Asia. I like the fact that it is a steady job and pays relatively well especially if you are living in a city that has a low cost of living. The three countries I am considering teaching at right now are: China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Initially the cities I was looking into were: Hong Kong, Taipei, and Busan. I know Hong Kong is a very expensive city to live in, but I'm not sure about the other two. I believe they are relatively cheap but I'm looking for cities with even lower cost of living. I'm not looking for a small village, but a decent sized town/city. Does anyone have any ideas or personal experiences?
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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Regardless of cost of living, you'll almost certainly make the most money in South Korea because the pay is significantly better and schools typically pay for your flights and accommodation.
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Old 10-08-2009, 05:02 PM
 
2,339 posts, read 3,104,785 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SiddharthaGautama View Post
I am considering teaching English in Asia. I like the fact that it is a steady job and pays relatively well especially if you are living in a city that has a low cost of living. The three countries I am considering teaching at right now are: China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Initially the cities I was looking into were: Hong Kong, Taipei, and Busan. I know Hong Kong is a very expensive city to live in, but I'm not sure about the other two. I believe they are relatively cheap but I'm looking for cities with even lower cost of living. I'm not looking for a small village, but a decent sized town/city. Does anyone have any ideas or personal experiences?
What's your definition of small? There are few small villages in east Asia compared to cities. China probably has more cities over 1 million people that all of the developed world together.
What kind of overall experience are you looking for?
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Macao
13,014 posts, read 19,900,217 times
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South Korea is the highest wages of the three, and cost of living with Taipei would be the lowest.

Hong Kong is the highest cost of living and the lowest pay. Taiwan has both a low cost of living and low pages. Korea has high wages and a low cost of living of the three.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:54 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Taipei is a GREAT city. Definitely my #1 choice between TPE and HK. Couldn't say about Korea. I'm biased, though, my spouse is from Taipei and I have wonderful in-laws there.

The Taiwanese are reserved in general but friendly toward westerners. You will not find much spoken English outside of the downtown areas, though. There's lots of green space and the city is beautiful, especially from the hills served by the metro gondola, but even that view doesn't really measure up to the HK city skyline along the waterfront after dark. The night markets are excellent and the city life in general is very active and lively. Bicycles are becoming more and more popular over mopeds. The metro is clean, cheap, and efficient. Busses go everywhere the metro doesn't. The metro runs all the way out to the beaches at Danshui, the train can take you out the Hua'lien for surfing or mountain sports in a Hawaii-like environment on the weekends. Driving isn't that difficult or bad if you get a car.

Nightclubs are nice, but maybe trying a little too hard to clone western places.

Hong Kong ain't bad. There's surfing and other outdoor sports within reach of the metro system. I don't like their metro as much. There's many more foreigners in HK and you will definitely feel more at home there.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Macao
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From a teaching perspective, HK has very limited positions available. Almost none, and the few they do have are for kids at very low pay.

Korea has high salaries for teachers, plus free housing, plus free airfare to/from Korea, plus cost of living is quite good - I was living in Korea for nearly ten years.

Taiwan is a great place, and easy and nice to place. I think Korea is the hardest place to live, but financially good. The problem with Taiwan is the salaries of teachers haven't gone up in about 15 years.

Back when I first went to Korea, it was around $1,200/month in 1996...and Taiwan was about the same. However, Korea has doubled and salaries are around $2,000-2,600 more or less a month, but Taiwan is still the same unfortunately, maybe not even $1,500/month. Cost of living is about the same.

For drinking culture - Korea blows away everywhere, although HK is pretty good. HK is more for corporate expats and people working in large companies - not many english teachers in HK. If you could find a good teaching job in Hong Kong, it would be the most preferable. But usually it is kids and very low pay there - which is difficult because everything is really expensive and every other foreigner in HK will be on a company payroll raking in the money.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:37 AM
 
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What about places like Brunei and Singapore? I heard the latter has in place expats clubs such as American, British, Swiss, Tanglin where networking can lead to fruitful opportunities.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:09 AM
 
Location: Macao
13,014 posts, read 19,900,217 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougie86 View Post
What about places like Brunei and Singapore? I heard the latter has in place expats clubs such as American, British, Swiss, Tanglin where networking can lead to fruitful opportunities.
They both have a high cost of living, particularly Singapore.

Plus Singapore has a very high usage of English already - it is one of their national languages. I have heard of a few ESL teachers teaching kids in Singapore, but its generally quite rare, and it is a very expensive place to live - up there with Hong Kong.

Brunei is expensive and small. I think there is ESL work there, but I heard its a dry country (no alcohol) and quite a few other restrictions - it adheres to Islam very strictly, and both are city-states - i.e. SMALL...But of course Brunei is much smaller, particularly population-wise.

For ESL teaching...generally it is Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam that are the most common places to teach...although there is some but limited opportunities in other Asian countries like Malaysia, Cambodia, etc.
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:15 AM
 
2,339 posts, read 3,104,785 times
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I personally like Chengdu... mainly for the food and people's enjoyment of simple things in life. However, this is immediately contradicted by the tendency for more people to trick you (ie taxi drivers bringing you somewhere when they don't really know where it is).
Beijing seemed to have more honest people. Good food is harder to find for me. But its all opinion. I like fresh, flavorful, spicy food. Northern Chinese food is bready, meaty, and oily.
Kunming, China is the best IMO. The weather is awesome, the food is awesome, the people are awesome. I should keep it down, since its overdeveloping like crazy, but I love it there.
However, if your object is to make money, I'd think that Korea is the easiest. You can live pretty cheaply there, its easy to find a job, and they pay really well.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:39 PM
 
1,269 posts, read 2,088,877 times
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Thanks for taking time to explain, Tiger Beer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebeard View Post
I personally like Chengdu... mainly for the food and people's enjoyment of simple things in life. However, this is immediately contradicted by the tendency for more people to trick you (ie taxi drivers bringing you somewhere when they don't really know where it is).
Beijing seemed to have more honest people.
Think of it this way, those leaving US to work overseas are in the top tier of 20%-30% . Encountering on the other side of the globe the bottom tier is frequent and unavoidable, hence be cautious. The middle and top rungs do not roam the streets seeking out foreigners to solicit or to pimp. You're more likely to meet quality people in the homes where you give private tuition outside your teaching schedule, or at a tennis club.

Quote:
Good food is harder to find for me. But its all opinion. I like fresh, flavorful, spicy food. Northern Chinese food is bready, meaty, and oily.
Kunming, China is the best IMO. The weather is awesome, the food is awesome, the people are awesome. I should keep it down, since its overdeveloping like crazy, but I love it there.
Almost all the wealthy Asian businessmen I met, are good cooks at home.
Their philosophy is that anyone who can put all the fresh and raw ingredients together and create a tasty healthy meal is bound to succeed in whatever he puts his hand on in business, in career, in life.
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