Application Process

Start the application process by applying online. A representative who has previously taught in Taiwan will contact you to go over the basics of the program and answer any of your questions before you fully commit.

Can married couples go?

We love couples to go. However, because of housing constraints, the number of positions available for couples is quite limited. The sooner you have your application in, the better chance you have of going when you want.

Is the program sponsored by any church?

No, ILP it is not sponsored by any church or university, however teachers are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity.

How is ILP organized? Who is in charge?

ILP was organized in 1992 as a non-profit, charitable 501(c)(3) corporation. It employs three full-time directors, an assistant director, and other full and part time staff. The method founder is the late Dr. Trevor McKee, Ph.D., former professor of Human Development and Psycholinguistics at Brigham Young University. Abroad there are school directors who are responsible for on-site training, safety and political issues.

What do you get out of this program?

There is a different answer for each teacher. Some of the common things past teachers always mention are: a relationship with the kids, a love for the people and country, a love of the language, an appreciation for loved ones at home, a profound spiritual experience, a profound academic experience, a general global awareness, a love for service, etc.

What happens when I leave you my name and number?

Don’t worry, you are not making any commitment when you leave this information. We simply take your contact information so we can contact you in a few days to see if you have any questions. If you tell us that you’re not interested, we won’t bug you anymore! If you have chosen to apply, we can assist you through the entire process until departure.

How long is a semester?

Each semester lasts for six months, but if you and the school choose, you have the option to extend for a full year. In fact, one of our schools asks that you commit in advance to either a 6-month of a 1-year contract. Preference will be given to applicants willing to commit for a year.

When do you leave?

We have two groups that leave per year, one from the end of June to late December (Fall), and one from the end of December to late June (Spring).

Will I be home for Christmas?

Unfortunately, no. Based on the tax requirements in Taiwan, teachers must return after Christmas.

Do I need to type the application?

You can type it if you’d like, but it’s not necessary–as long as we can read it easily. The essay, however, should be typed.

If I’m not religious, who should do my character reference?

Each situation is different. If you need help, give us a call in the office, and we will help you decide who would be best.

How hard is it to get in?

The program has a self-filtering effect. We look for good people who love kids, and want to serve them. It is also helpful for applicants to have experience teaching or working with children. When people understand that their main objective is to educate kids, and then choose to apply, they are typically the exact kind of people we want! Occasionally we can tell from people’s applications that they simply won’t have a good experience if they go, so we invite them not to go, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

What if I am still praying/deciding about this and I’m just not sure what to do?

It is very important to us that you have enough time to make the best decision for you, and we’re supportive of the prayer process! We also understand that making a good decision depends heavily on having adequate information, so we want to provide you with all the information that you need. In the meantime, because of the time sensitivity of the application, we encourage you to continue to complete the application. This way, the very moment that you decide to go, you will be ready for review. There is no commitment until you have signed a contract with the school, and trust us- it is much easier to have the application complete then decide to have your application reviewed by the school versus deciding to go and having to complete the entire application in hopes to get one of the remaining positions.

If I want to go in Spring/Fall, when do I need to start applying?

We accept applications up to one year in advance, so apply as soon as you can! In general, most people start applying six months before they go.

Do I have to have a certain GPA?

Co-Director Steve Brayton says that if ILP took GPAs too seriously, he could have never gone! We are much more interested in whether you are a good person who loves kids and wants to help them. Most applicants agree that it’s a very refreshing application experience.

Teaching

In each teaching location your service to children links you to a network of friends that provide the support you need. Teachers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but for many this is the first time living out of the country. We try to provide all the help a teacher needs to acclimate themselves to their new environment.

How many hours a week do you teach?

Teachers teach an average of six hours a day and spend two hours preparing lessons. You are contracted for 40 hours per week- 25-30 of which are teaching, and the other 10 are for lesson preparation, training, etc.

How do you teach English when you don’t speak Mandarin?

ILP teachers teach English through organized play and all lessons are full English immersion, so you only need to know English! A former professor at BYU named Dr. Trevor McKee created the method that ILP uses. Dr. McKee recently passed away, leaving this wonderful legacy of an effective method for children everywhere to acquire a second language.

What is teaching like?

Teaching is the most rewarding, and often the most challenging aspect of the whole experience. The teaching method has a similar learning curve to a foreign language-it is not difficult, but teachers can feel when they become “fluent” using it. The method is extremely effective, with most children becoming functionally fluent after ~500 hrs (about one year) of classes.

What is required of the teachers?

The teachers should be prepared to work hard and contribute well to his/her group chemistry.

How old are the kids you teach?

Kids can begin as young as age three. The kindergarten goes from 4-6, and then upper levels go from age 7-14. Children ages 4-6 are in our kindergarten program, where they become functionally fluent English speakers. They learn 3 hours per day, 5 days per week through organized play. When children are age 7, they enter our basic reading program, where they learn to read English. At age eight, they begin our Follow-Up programs which are more involved with reading and writing assignments. The levels in Follow-Up are determined by the school you will work at in Taiwan, but they will use the ILP method for each level of classes.

What kind of things do you teach?

In Kindergarten, there are several different teaching areas (i.e. kitchen, arts/crafts, games, etc). We call the lessons “play episodes,” because they more closely resemble a party than a lesson. To say you teach English is almost a lie! What you do is create an atmosphere where the children acquire English, through natural, organized play. Though the upper levels are structured more like a traditional classroom, you still engage the children in fun, hands-on activities.

What time of day do you teach?

Teaching times vary, depending on the scheduling needs of your school. Some teaching blocks are in the morning, some in the afternoon, and still others are in the evening. You will be assigned your teaching schedule after you have arrived in Taiwan and have completed training at the school.

Do you teach alone?

Usually you will teach alone, but in rare cases you will team-teach. However, many teachers find it helpful to prepare together, to brainstorm and share ideas.

How many kids are in your class?

In the kindergarten there are usually 8 per class, in Basic Reading 10-12, and in Follow-up a maximum of 15.

Do you teach out of textbooks?

Textbooks are used for teaching only in our “Follow-up” levels.

How does the method work?

The method works by creating an environment that children acquire the language without it being taught. As a teacher, you will plan “play episodes” with the children, where the children will be engrossed in a fun activity that is conducted entirely in English. We focus on 23 Basic Mobilizing Concepts (BMCs) like “I like” or “I can,” which, once mastered, enable the child to be “mobile” in English. It is awe-inspiring to see how quickly they learn!

How did this program start?

This program started as a Brigham Young University (BYU) Study Abroad/Internship program in January of 1992. When BYU’s Study Abroad evaluated the program, it came back with dazzling reviews; however, because its main purpose was teaching and not studying, it didn’t really have a place in the Study Abroad program. When the first group of teachers learned that the program would be discontinued, they wanted to do something about it! So five friends from the first group got together with Dr. McKee in the Fall of 1992, and organized ILP as an independent, non-profit organization. It is still going strong and growing thanks to great teachers like you!

How long does it take to plan lessons?

It’s good to plan on 2 hours per day for prep time. Preparation time also includes staff meetings, training sessions and monthly progress reports. You may need a little more time than this in the beginning of the semester while you are getting used to the children, and a little less time towards the latter half of the semester as you grow accustomed to the needs of your students and the methodology.

How far in advance do you plan your lessons?

You’ll plan your lessons at least a week in advance.

Is it hard to teach?

Yes, it is often very challenging, but even more rewarding. Many teachers say that the teaching method has a similar learning curve of a foreign language. It is not difficult, but it often takes 1 – 1 1/2 months before it “clicks” and you feel “fluent” in using it effectively. The results are almost unbelievable.

Money

How much do I get paid?

If you have a bachelor’s degree, your salary is $6,500 for six months. If you stay for a year you earn $15,000. For those with an associate’s degree, the six-month salary is $5,500 and $12,000 for a year.

How does the salary work?

Your salary will be paid to you by the school. During the first 2 months of your semester, your pay will only consist of a food stipend as your work permit requires 2-months to process and the school can not pay you until it is completed. Starting in month 3, your salary will be paid monthly. After you have completed your semester, there will be bonuses added to your final payment.

What else is included in the compensation?

The schools provide round-trip airfare, housing, and food stipend in the amount of $600 total.

What is the exchange rate?

The exchange rate fluctuates constantly, but in general it is 20-30 Taiwanese dollars (or kuai) to one U.S. dollar.

How do I receive my salary?

For one of our schools: they will help you open a bank account; then, each month, your paycheck will be deposited directly into your account. You will have an ATM card to access your money whenever you need it. For one of our schools, they do not require that you open a bank account, so doing so is your decision. Keep in mind that you will be paid in Taiwan dollars (US equivalent).

Will there be any extra expenses I need to plan for?

It’s always good to plan for extra expenses when traveling. Pre-departure expenses include a passport, immunizations if needed, and transportation costs to get to training. Upon arrival in Taiwan, you will need to have a medical exam and 13 ID photos taken in order to obtain a work permit (usually around $130). The school will also need you to apply for a visitor visa upon your arrival ($185 USD). The costs for the ID photos, exam, and visitor visa are the responsibility of the teacher and will be taken from your first paycheck.

Do I need to bring money with me?

It depends on your spending habits. Usually, your salary is sufficient for all of your needs and wants, but if you plan on traveling a lot or buying expensive souvenirs, you may want to bring some additional money. It’s always a good idea to have a credit/debit card to use for unexpected expenses.

Should I take travelers’ checks?

Travelers’ checks are secure, but they are not very user-friendly in Taiwan. Most people bring about half their money in cash, and take a Visa or MasterCard debit card to access the rest. Debit cards work very well in most cases.

Is it safe to take cash?

Carrying cash always involves some risk; however, using good judgment, being discreet when you access it, etc. minimizes this risk. Normally you will only be carrying a large amount when you travel over, when you’ll also have the safety of having many people with you. When you arrive, you can simply put it in a safe place, and take out small amounts as needed.

Can I use a credit card?

Credit or debit cards work very well, especially Visa and MasterCard just remember that there are many night/day markets in Taiwan so if you are shopping there, you will want to carry cash as they do not accept cards.

What if I still have bills to pay while I’m in Taiwan?

The easiest way to take care of these is to set up online banking. Each month you can transfer money into your U.S. account then take care of your bills electronically. Most credit card and loan companies have an online option allowing you to make payments over the Internet. You can also arrange for these companies to take monthly payments directly out of your account.

Can I transfer money to my U.S. account from my Taiwan account?

Yes, this can be done quite easily. You’ll just need the account number for both accounts, the address of your bank in the States, and your passport for identification. Simply go to your bank in Taiwan and they’ll help you fill out the necessary paperwork. There is a small fee assessed by the Taiwanese bank (normally around $5-10 U.S.), and there could be a fee associated with the receiving bank as well depending upon your bank’s policies.

Is travel expensive?

The transportation system within Taiwan is quite reasonable and very efficient. There are buses, trains, taxis, and bicycles available.

Daily Life

Do I have to speak the language?

No, but you can learn it while you’re there if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.

How do I get along in public without speaking the language?

You’ll manage just fine! About 95% of ILP teachers don’t speak any Chinese before they leave, but many learn while they’re there!

Can I learn the language while I’m there?

The amount of the language that you will learn depends heavily on how much you study on your own. Those who have acquired the most language during their stay have studied on their own daily. Learning any foreign language takes effort, but it can be very rewarding.

How many people go?

Currently we send 13-15 people to Taiwan each semester.

What is the girl/guy ratio?

More girls go than guys–typically about a 5 to 1 ratio.

If I go with a friend, can we teach at the same school?

We love it when friends go together! As long as both friends apply in advance, chances are high that they will be assigned to the same school.

What is a typical day like?

Schedules vary depending on which school you teach in. A typical schedule includes a Kindergarten class in the morning from 9:00-12:00, Basic Reading in the afternoon from 2:00-4:00, and a Follow-Up class three times a week in the evenings. Your schedule may be very different from this, but you’ll be scheduled to work 40 hours a week, with 30 of those hours being spent teaching.

Where will I live?

Depending on the school you go to, you’ll either live at the school in a dorm-type situation; or you will share an apartment with the other teachers, but you’ll have your own room.

Do I get to pick my roommates?

Yes, roommate selection occurs upon arrival, so you have a say in it.

What are the living conditions like?

No matter which school you go to, you will be quite comfortable. Bedding and kitchen utensils are provided, and there are washing machines and drying racks for you to do your laundry. You will have a lounge or living room with a television and VCR. The biggest difference is that most dwellings in Taiwan do not have carpeting, so you’ll get used to wearing flip-flops around the house.

What about appliances and electronic devices?

Taiwan uses the same voltage as the U.S. and the outlets are shaped the same, so you won’t need any kind of adapters. Many people bring MP3 players (like iPods) and laptops.

Do I have to bring my own bedding and towels?

Bedding is provided, but it is a good idea to bring a towel.

How do I wash my clothes?

Washing machines are provided in your residence.

What are the bathrooms like?

In the teachers’ residence the toilets are the same as in the U.S., but public toilets are often of the “squatter” variety (a hole in the ground that you hover over). Most public restrooms don’t provide toilet paper, so it’s a good idea to carry a small package of tissue with you.

Will I have email?

Internet cafes are readily available, and some schools may provide Internet access.

Can I call home?

You can call home, but you must have a calling card. They can be easily purchased at one of the many 7-11 convenience stores in Taiwan. Skype is also an inexpensive way to keep in touch.

Can I get letters and packages?

Yes, but you should never send anything irreplaceable. Postal time can be rather slow when receiving larger packages, as the Taiwanese post office generally opens them to inspect the contents.Small packages and letters usually take 7-10 days in either direction.

What is the food like?

Rice, noodles, vegetables, chicken, fruit, soup and lots of seafood. For the most part, you’ll be cooking your own meals, so you can prepare what you like.

Is the $100 stipend enough to cover the cost of my food each month?

Yes, if you shop at the local markets and make most of your meals at home.
If you’re eating out a lot, particularly at American fast-food chains, then it will cost you more.

Can I drink the water?

Your residence has water purifiers that should always be used for drinking water. When eating out, make sure that you don’t drink water unless it’s bottled or purified.

What is the weather like?

The climate is tropical: it’s hot with high humidity. It can get a little chilly in the winter, so you’ll want to bring sweatshirts or sweaters as well as your lightweight clothing.

What kind of clothes should I wear?

When you are teaching you should be neat and clean. Pants and button down shirts are preferable, but neat jeans and tee shirts are acceptable. Because it is so hot, shorts and sandals are appropriate as long as you look nice. It is not, however, appropriate to teach in flip-flops.

Can I buy clothes that will fit me?

It can be difficult to find women’s clothing larger than a size 10-12.

Can I buy personal items?

Yes, but if you have personal preferences for brands, you should plan on bringing them with you.

What is transportation like?

You will travel by public transportation- subway, train, and bus. Some schools may also provide a bicycle for you to get around town.

Will I get a lot of unwanted attention or will I stand out?

You do stand out, and they will know that you are foreigners, but usually this will help them be more patient and willing to help you.

Are the people receptive to Americans?

For the most part, they really like Americans and are very interested in you. They want to learn more about you and talk to you. Sometimes they will stare, but it is more out of curiosity than rudeness.

Can I go to church?

Yes. Church services of most faiths (including LDS) are available in all ILP cities in Taiwan.

Passports & Visa

What do I need to apply for a passport?

You will need either a previous U.S. passport or a certified birth certificate for proof of citizenship. You also need to fill out an application online or pick one up at the passport office. For proof of identity, you will need either a previous U.S. passport, driver’s license, or government identification card. You also need two passport photographs which can be taken at locations providing that service (such as Walgreens and Costco for example).

Where do I apply for a passport?

Passport applications can be submitted at most post offices or county clerk buildings. For the closest acceptance facility to you, follow this link: http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/

How much does a passport cost?

Regular processing (5-6 weeks) is $135. Rush processing (3 weeks) is $195. The Travel Broker will process in less than 7 days for $250 to $350.

What do I need to apply for a visa?

You will need your passport, 2 passport photos, flight itinerary, completed visa application, letter from your assigned school, copy of assigned school’s license, $160 check or money order, and self addressed prepaid envelope for your passports and visa to be returned to you.

Where do I send my visa application?

That depends on where you’re applying from. You’ll need to send your application to one of the several TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices) agencies in the U.S.

How much does a visa to Taiwan cost?

$160 if you have a U.S. passport. If you need your visa rushed, there is an $18 fee.

How long does it take to get my visa back?

Usually, your visa is returned to within 10 days to 2 weeks.