I came here planning to stay for a year, and ended up staying for more than three. People in Taiwan are some of the friendliest in the world. Say, “Ni hao” (hello) and you’re told how great your Chinese is. Look lost and you’ll have someone eager to help you find your way. It’s busy and crowded, but life is convenient. In Kaohsiung, you can get around easily by scooter or by MRT. The rest of Taiwan is beautiful and easily accessible by train or bus. One of my favourite places, Kenting, is only a two hour bus ride away. Working at KNS, I've made some friends that are going to last a lifetime. You meet people who enjoy travelling and teaching. The students are smart and eager to learn. I taught children aged seven to fifteen and of all different levels. It’s very rewarding to start a class where they don’t even know the alphabet, and by the end of the year they are speaking in sentences and asking you questions about your life. The older students will teach you all about life in Taiwan, the traditions, superstitions, and why some things seem so strange. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time in Kaohsiung and at KNS. I’ve taught students that I’ll never forget, seen gorgeous places that I had no idea were in Taiwan (Taroko,Penghu for example) and even learned to speak some Chinese. If you have an adventurous spirit and a passion for teaching, you’ll enjoy Taiwan and KNS.
I was lucky enough to be hired by KNS, where I’ve enjoyed teaching for the past six years. I had never expected to stay in one place for such a long period of time, but in all honesty, the time has flown by quite pleasantly, leaving me full of happy memories and experiences. KNS is a notable workplace for a variety reasons. Despite being a privately owned business, KNS is first and foremost dedicated to the education of its students. In addition to an extensively organized and continually evolving curriculum plan that provides a framework for teaching, there is an emphasis and strong encouragement for teachers to personalize lesson plans in order to best meet the needs of the students. This combination of structure and freedom allows for continuity in learning among the students in a unique setting. The support that KNS offers, not only in the classroom, but also with adjustment to living abroad, is invaluable. There have been countless times when I have needed something translated, someone called, or something explained to me. All of my numerous requests have been answered with gracious assistance. The kindness that KNS has shown me makes it the kind of job where one desires to work hard, not only for personal satisfaction or a paycheck, but also as a way to display gratitude for an excellent and rewarding workplace. Apart from having a great job teaching at KNS, life in Kaohsiung is fantastic. After the necessary period of readjustment, one will find life in the southern city pleasant and surprisingly easy. The weather, especially compared to my home in snowy Minnesota, is lovely. There are a variety of clubs and organizations where you can pursue your skills and hobbies. Living expenses are significantly less than they are in North America, helping one pay off debt or save up for future schooling or traveling. The combination of a solid workplace and a terrific city makes it understandable as to why one could stay for more than a year or two!
When I arrived here I discovered that this is how long most people intend on staying. As I write this, I am almost at my 3-year mark. This place has an ability to suck you in, in the most amazing way possible, with its palm trees, beautiful beaches, stinky tofu, and the everyday scooter rides that leave you confused as to why all of North America doesn’t drive one of these marvelous little machines. The foreigner community here is, in my opinion, why most people end up staying longer than their original intention. You can walk into any of the local bars and it feels like a scene from “Cheers”. You will never go somewhere without running into someone you know. Everyone here, for the most part, knows each other and it’s almost as if you arrive here and you make a hundred friends right off the bat. There is never a dull moment , if thatis how you want it. You will always have the option of weekend trips to the beach, camping in the mountains, or a shopping trip to Taipei. This place is never short of things to do. When you are not on a weekend scooter trip, or a train ride up the coast, you are teaching English. Anyone you ask will tell you that where you work will totally make or break your stay in Taiwan. If you are miserable from Monday to Friday, 2:00 to 9:00, then I would guess that your experience in Kaohsiung will not be like mine. Your work is the biggest part of being here and if you don’t enjoy your work environment, then you will have a tough time making it through the year….never mind 2 years. This is why I work at KNS. KNS provides you everything you would want or need as an English teacher. If you are coming here alone, then KNS is great because it is basically guaranteeing you friends. Every day you get to work with 6 or 7 fellow teachers, who you'll end up getting very close to. Friendships aside, KNS has other great qualities. KNS is not the only school I have worked for, so I know the differences first hand. It is so important to be working for a school with a structure, organization, a brilliant curriculum, and not to mention, a love for the children. KNS is all of this, and more.
At the time of this writing, I am in my third year. I have had an amazing experience in Taiwan. There are so many great places to see and so much to do. Kaohsiung has one of the closest foreign communities I have been a part of. Someone is always organizing some kind of activity or event and this really brings people together, making Kaohsiung a wonderful place to live in and teach English. KNS is definitely one of the best schools to work at. When you first arrive in Taiwan it can be hard to meet people but KNS is a close group with so many great people that always make you feel at home. The teachers you work with are not only co-workers but quickly become your friends. The Chinese staff is very easy to work with, too and their English ability is excellent, which makes communication between teachers and administration easy and efficient. The students that attend KNS actually want to be there the curriculum is well organized and easy to follow, allowing teachers to teach in a way that gets results. Overall, living in Kaohsiung has been an incredible experience. I have met so many wonderful people who really have become my overseas family. KNS has helped to make my time here unforgettable.
Following the completion of my undergraduate degree, I was unsure of what I wanted to do next. I new a wanted a challenge and moving to Taiwan to work for KNS provided this and so much more! KNS is incredibly dedicated to the education of its students. Unlike many other schools in Taiwan, KNS has an adaptable curriculum which keeps both students and teachers engaged at all times and they provide you with the materials and training you need to ensure you are set up for success. The Chinese staff are incredibly supportive and act as great liaisons between the teachers and students. By the end of my time at KNS, I had made many great friends among them. Teaching at KNS was a dream come true. It allowed me to combine my passion for children with my goal of helping others, to ensure my students received the education they deserved. The students were arguably the greatest part of my experience at KNS. They are incredibly hard working, loving and, most importantly eager to learn. Saying goodbye to them was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. If I could have … I would have brought a few of them back to Canada with me! Life in Kaohsiung exceeded my expectations. It is overwhelming how friendly the local and expat communities are. There are tons of teachers in your position- nervous upon arrival and searching for new friends and a social life outside of the classroom. Kaohsiung is a very active community with opportunities such as hockey, Frisbee, running clubs, bowling, and much more. Getting involved in the community allowed me to meet an incredible group of lifelong friends. If you are considering applying - don’t hesitate- do it! It'll be the best decision you ever make. I am so thankful for my time in Koahsiung and with KNS and miss it every day!