Low Cost of Living – Rent
The first thing that makes it worthwhile teaching English in Taiwan is the low cost of living. You’ll save money if you don’t plan to live like a king, as rent in Taiwan compared to most countries like Australia, the US and the UK is relatively low. You don’t have to live in a shoe box to save on your rent in Taiwan, but if you want to save money you’ll have to avoid living in the exclusive and upper class parts of town.
Just what and how much you pay for rent will depend on which city you live in and how many rooms it has. There are four kinds of accommodation typically available; shared, studio apartments, apartments and town houses. These are listed from the cheapest to most expensive.
Shared Accommodation 2,000 – 5,000 NT/month ($60 – $150 USD)
As the name implies, you’ll be sharing with someone else. Just how much you pay depends but on average you can expect to pay anywhere from 2,000 – 5,000 a month. Water, gas, electricity, cable TV and internet access may or may not be included in this price. You’ll have to see what your landlord has to offer. Many foreign teachers live together and this is the style of accommodation they prefer.
Studio Apartment – 5,000 – 10,000 NT/month ($150 – $310 USD)
If you don’t like sharing with someone, a studio apartment or single bedroom apartment might be for you. These single room apartments vary greatly in price depending on the city you are in and how new or old they are. This kind of accommodation is popular and targeted towards singles and students. They usually aren’t very big, but you can save a lot of money living like this.
Apartment – 8,000 – 25,000 NT/month ($250 – $780 USD)
If a single room apartment is too small, then a normal apartment will give you much more space. The prices for apartments varies depending again on the city, the area of the city it is in and how many rooms it has. You’ll have problems living by yourself on an average English teacher’s wage if you rent a 3 or 4 bedroom apartment in Taipei, but apartments outside of Taipei city can be had for usually 10,000 – 15,000 NT a month and are very comfortable to live in.
Town Houses – 25,000 NT+ month ($780+ USD)
Town houses are usually 4 to 5 stories and adjoined with other town houses on both sides. This style of accommodation is very expensive, especially in Taipei and while it is nice to have an entire house of your own, you won’t be able to pay the bills on the average teacher’s wage if you live in one of these.
I personally prefer to live alone, so the best choice for me is either a studio apartment or apartment. I’d recommend most first time English teachers in Taiwan to either share with someone, get a studio apartment or find a cheap apartment. You’ll be able to live on your monthly wage and get used to Taiwan without having to worry about paying the bills.