New foreign teachers, after being picked up at the airport, will be given residence in one of the three free dormitories in Zhongli and Taoyuan. Teachers find it very helpful and convenient that the dormitories are located right next door to or upstairs from our main schools. If teachers have any questions about teaching or living in Taiwan, they can quickly find assistance just a few steps away.
Living in the dorms has other benefits as well: Not only is it nice to have all the usual facilities (kitchen/refrigerator/washing machines/TV/Wireless internet, etc.) but new arrivals find it nice to be living amongst others who are going through the same experiences. Friendships are made quickly and easily in the dorms, and teachers are able to share lesson plan ideas, plans for the weekend, thoughts on area restaurants and shopping, etc. There is a great spirit of camaraderie in the dorms and special friendships get made in the unique community of foreigners living and working abroad.
While living in the free dormitories is an option that many teachers choose, others choose to move into apartments around the Zhongli and Taoyuan areas to enjoy a less crowded, more independent environment. The rent is generally quite cheap (US$250-400 per month for a two or three-bedroom apartment) and many teachers share an apartment together to save even more money. Both Taoyuan and Zhongli have sizable ex-pat communities and it's easy to make friends with other foreigners here.
Transportation in Taiwan is easy but hectic. Roads are small and traffic is heavy but a wide variety of public transport is available, from trains to buses to taxis. Most teachers have found that one of the most essential early purchases is a small scooter or motorcycle. They are quick, convenient, relatively cheap and cost-effective in the long run. More and more bike routes are opening up in the cities each year and pedal biking is also an option for shorter distances.