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Old 10-10-2009, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
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I am considering teaching English in Taiwan and would like to get some advice from people who have lived or traveled in Taiwan. Right now the only area of Taiwan I am focusing on is Taipei, but am open to any city. The most important things I'm looking for in a city are: medium sized (not too big), clean air (no pollution, I know this isn't possible in most big cities), scenic area with lots of natural beauty (mountains, rivers, lakes), cost of living is relatively low, friendly people, and a Mandarin speaking community. Also if anyone has any advice on teaching ESL in Taiwan, I'd love to hear about it. As well as the average ESL teacher salary in Taipei.


thanks
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:17 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Taipei is a big city, but it's not a sprawling metropolis. You can get out of town pretty easily and head up to the north coast (surfing, scuba, seafood), down to the central mountains (hiking, cycling), south coast (great combination beach/night market/party scene), or Hua'lien (surfing, cycling). Taiwan's West side is serviced by a new high-speed electric rail line and other areas are accessible by regular electric train. There are high-quality sealed roads everywhere if you have a car, motorcycle, or scooter.

The island is aggressively pursuing nuclear power, with 6 light-water reactors on-line, so the skies are clear of pollution(at least compared to Chinese and American cities). Being right on the tropic of cancer, the temperature is pleasant year-round--especially on the West coast, which has a Hawaiian-like climate and feel. Taipei can get cold and rainy in the winter and sticky in the summer. The metro and busses are fully air-conditioned (unlike Hong Kong and most Chinese cities), clean, and efficient. The elevated MRT line has trouble when it rains heavily, since they switched to an Italian rail car, but unless you end up living on that line, you won't use it except to get to the Zoo and the tea places in the mountains.

Taiwan doesn't have the stunning vistas of say, Mt. Fuji or far western China, but there are some beautiful mountains, coastlines, and Taipei itself has some pretty green areas. The city MRT gondola goes up in the hills and services resturants and tea shops with great views of the city downtown and 101.

Cost of living is fairly low, but housing (as in purchasing) is expensive, especially near MRT stations. There are few foreigners around. They are concentrated in the downtown and near the main train station. Also, there are some expats living on the NE coast and around Hua'lien.
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