Welcome to Taiwan! Teaching English in Asia, as a post university experience, has become very popular in the last few decades, and of all the places one might choose as their ESL destination, Taiwan ought to top the list. With beautiful beaches and mountains, a sub-tropical climate that is hot in summer and cool in winter, and friendly, hospitable people, the island has everything to offer. For a glimpse of the rich culture and beautiful scenery that await you in Taiwan, visit the video section of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau website.
The Republic of China (ROC), Asia’s first constitutional democracy, was founded on January 1st, 1912, by Dr. Sun Yet-Sen, in what is known today as Mainland China. During the first two decades of its existence, the ROC suffered from internal turmoil as rival military regimes competed for power. In 1927, the nation was unified after feuding warlords were defeated in the Northern Expedition, launched by generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek. Before long, however, the Japanese Invasion of China during the Second World War prompted the Chinese to launch the eight-year War of Resistance against Japan in 1937. Japan was defeated in 1945 with the help of the allied nations, but the ROC was threatened yet again; this time by the growing power of the Chinese communists, who provoked a civil war and, with the help of the Soviet Union, ultimately gained control of the Chinese mainland. The defeated ROC government was forced to flee to Taiwan and there set up a provisional capital in Taipei. The ROC today consists of the island of Taiwan and many of the surrounding island groups (known collectively as Taiwan) and is, despite mainland China’s insistence to the contrary, a de facto independent, self-governed, democracy.
Taiwan’s climate is subtropical in the north and tropical in the south and its inhabitants enjoy a wide range of weather throughout the year. It is generally warm to hot, with winter temperatures in the 12 to 17 degrees Celsius range, while mid-summer brings highs of up to 37. During the months of June, July, and August, Typhoons developing in the Pacific often reach the island, bringing heavy rainfall and high winds. Damage from typhoons is mostly limited to agriculture, and city-dwellers are largely unaffected, experiencing some minor flooding and an occasional day off work. The period from September through November brings the best weather of the year, when temperatures are comfortable and blue skies predominate. The topography of Taiwan is largely mountainous. The central mountain range forms the island’s backbone and occupies almost half of its total land area. An estimated 60% of the remaining area is arable and a wide variety of food crops, including an astounding array of fruits, contribute to a thriving agriculture sector. With over 1500 km of coastline, Taiwan depends heavily on its maritime resources, and its numerous beaches are becoming focal points in the development of the island’s burgeoning tourism industry.
Taiwan is a culturally and linguistically diverse country. Although the official first language is Mandarin Chinese, many families also speak Taiwanese, a dialect with origins in China's Fujian province. Taiwan is also home to speakers of Hakka (which appears in many areas of China and throughout South-East Asia), and at least a dozen surviving indigenous languages. The predominant religions are Buddhism and Taoism, and the island is littered with breathtaking temples and shrines. As Taiwan enjoys religious freedom, there are worshipers of many other faiths, including Christianity, Islam, Bahai, and many more.