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Teach English in Keelung, Taiwan

Keelung, a bustling port city in northern Taiwan, is often overshadowed by the grandeur of Taipei but holds its own with a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Nestled between lush mountains and the vast Pacific Ocean, Keelung offers an intriguing blend of modernity with remnants of its colonial past. As night falls, its famous Miaokou Night Market comes alive, presenting a delightful mix of street foods, crafts, and local wares. With a moderate climate, friendly locals, and an array of scenic spots, Keelung serves as an ideal destination for those looking to teach English in Taiwan while experiencing a different side of the island's charm.

Reasons to Teach English in Keelung

  1. Cultural Immersion: Keelung provides a unique opportunity for teachers to truly immerse themselves in Taiwanese culture. Far less touristy than cities like Taipei, teachers in Keelung can engage in genuine experiences, from partaking in local festivals to mingling with locals at traditional tea houses.

  2. Lower Cost of Living: While the salaries in Keelung might be on par with other cities in Taiwan, the cost of living is generally lower. This allows teachers to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, save money, and still indulge in local experiences.

  3. Natural Beauty: Keelung is surrounded by natural wonders. From the verdant Cihu Mountain to the calming waves at Waimushan Seaside, nature enthusiasts will find plenty to explore and appreciate.

  4. Less Competition: Unlike the bigger cities where there's a rush for teaching jobs, Keelung, being a smaller city, has fewer foreign teachers. This often translates to better job opportunities and a closer-knit expat community.

  5. Proximity to Taipei: While Keelung offers its own array of attractions, the allure of Taipei's vibrant city life is just a short train ride away. This makes it perfect for weekend getaways or even daily commutes.

  6. Rich History: Keelung's history, from its time as a pirate base to its evolution as a critical port, offers fascinating insights for history buffs. The remnants of forts and colonial-era buildings scattered around the city serve as reminders of its storied past.

Understanding Keelung's Education Landscape

Keelung's educational scene is a microcosm of Taiwan's commitment to quality education. Schools in Keelung, both public and private, emphasize bilingual education with a strong focus on English. This drive stems from Taiwan's understanding of English as a global language and the benefits of being proficient in it.

In Keelung, like the rest of Taiwan, you'll find a mix of public schools, private schools, buxibans (cram schools), international schools, and universities. Buxibans are particularly popular, as they offer supplementary education outside the regular school hours, with a significant portion dedicated to English learning. The city's smaller size doesn't compromise its pursuit of academic excellence, making it a great place for educators to contribute and make a difference.

Eligibility and Requirements to Teach English in Keelung

The requirements to teach English in Keelung will be similar to the standard requirements for teaching English in Taiwan. However, it's always good to be familiar with the nuances of each city. Here are the specific requirements for Keelung:

  • Educational Background: A Bachelor's Degree in any subject is typically required. Those with an Associate's Degree can also qualify if they hold a TEFL certificate.
  • Native English Speaker: Schools prefer teachers to be native English speakers and passport holders from recognized English-speaking countries. Yet, well-qualified candidates from other nations might still be considered.
  • TEFL Certification: Although not always mandatory, having a TEFL certificate can make a candidate more appealing to potential employers in Keelung.
  • Background Check: A clean national criminal background check is a must.
  • Health: Both physical and mental health are crucial.
  • Age Limit: Aspiring teachers should be 20 years or older.
  • Cultural Interest: A genuine interest in Taiwanese culture, and particularly the local culture of Keelung, is an advantage.

Salary and Benefits for Teaching English in Keelung

The salary for English teachers in Keelung can vary based on qualifications, experience, and the type of institution. Generally:

  • Public Schools: Expect salaries ranging from 60,000 - 70,000 NT$ per month.
  • Private Schools: Salaries here typically fall between 50,000 - 60,000 NT$ per month.
  • Buxiban: These can offer anywhere from 40,000 - 70,000 NT$ per month, depending on the school's reputation and workload.
  • International Schools: The most lucrative option, with salaries ranging from 80,000 - 200,000 NT$ per month, depending on qualifications and experience.
  • Universities: On average, expect about 55,000 NT$ per month.

Benefits might include health insurance, paid holidays, and bonuses. Given Keelung's relatively lower cost of living, teachers can live comfortably and save a good portion of their salary.

Living in Keelung

Nestled in the northeastern part of Taiwan, Keelung, often referred to as the "Rainy Port" due to its frequent rain and maritime role, is a city that marries the hustle and bustle of urban life with the tranquility of nature. Its coastal location and mountainous backdrop offer residents a unique lifestyle that can't be found elsewhere. Here's a closer look at life in this picturesque port city.

Geography and Climate

Keelung is surrounded by mountains, and the city itself spreads out around a deep harbor. Its coastal position ensures a humid maritime climate. The city experiences abundant rainfall, making it one of the wettest places in Taiwan. Temperatures are mild throughout the year, with occasional cold spells during the winter months.

Culture and Food

Keelung's rich history is evident in its architecture, festivals, and daily life. The Miaokou Night Market is a gastronomic paradise, offering a plethora of street foods that showcase the best of Taiwanese cuisine. Be sure to try the famous Keelung tempura, a local twist on the classic snack.


Public transport is efficient and well-connected. Buses ply frequently, and the train station connects Keelung to other parts of Taiwan, including Taipei, which is just a short ride away.

Cost of Living

While Keelung is more affordable than larger Taiwanese cities like Taipei, it offers a similar quality of life. Rent is reasonable, and the cost of utilities, groceries, and entertainment are relatively low. This allows teachers to not only save but also enjoy local activities and travels.

Recreational Activities

Keelung is surrounded by natural beauty. From hiking up Keelung Mountain to watching the sunset at Waimushan Seaside, there's no shortage of outdoor activities. The city is also home to several historical sites, such as the Ershawan Fort and the Fairy Cave, which offer glimpses into its past.

Local Community

The people of Keelung are warm and welcoming. The city has a close-knit community feel, and foreigners often find it easy to integrate. There's also a growing expat community, making it easier for newcomers to find support and friendship.

Teacher Stories

Emily from the USA:

"After spending two years in a corporate job in New York, I needed a change. Teaching in Keelung has been a breath of fresh air. The kids are eager to learn, and the community has been so welcoming. Plus, the food at Miaokou Night Market is a treat after a day's work!"

Liam from the UK:

"Back in London, I taught in a primary school. Teaching in Keelung is different - it's more intimate, the classrooms are diverse, and there's a unique challenge in bridging cultural gaps. But it's rewarding in ways I hadn't imagined. The coastal views are just a bonus!"

Thando from South Africa:

"I'd always dreamt of traveling Asia. Keelung was not on my radar until a friend mentioned it. Now, a year into teaching here, the city feels like home. It's the perfect mix of urban life and natural beauty, and I find myself learning as much as I teach."

Maddison from Australia:

"Coming from Sydney, I wasn't sure what to expect. But Keelung, with its coastal charm, immediately captivated me. The students are curious and respectful, and the expat community here is close-knit. I've made friends for life."

Connor from Ireland:

"The Irish are known for their stories, and in Keelung, I've found new tales to tell. From hiking up mountains to exploring night markets, every day is an adventure. Teaching here has been a transformative journey."

Zoe from Canada:

"Keelung's landscape reminds me of home, but with a twist. Teaching here has been a great blend of sharing my culture and immersing myself in a new one. The rainy days just mean more time for hot tea and lesson planning!"

Aria from New Zealand:

"I come from a land of natural beauty, and Keelung does not disappoint. The children's enthusiasm for learning English is contagious, and the city's history is intriguing. It's been a rewarding experience, both as a teacher and a traveler."

Moving Towards Teaching English In Keelung

Embarking on a journey to teach English in Keelung is not just a career choice; it's a life choice.

Keelung stands as a testament to Taiwan's rich history, vibrant culture, and commitment to education. Teachers find themselves immersed in a world where they not only impart knowledge but also absorb the beauty of a place that intertwines nature with urban life.

If you're contemplating teaching English abroad, Keelung beckons with open arms, promising stories of your own, friendships to cherish, and memories to last a lifetime. Dive into the heart of Taiwan, and let Keelung be the backdrop to your teaching adventure.