Satellite Campuses

Many of the major universities in Taipei have handled the crowded conditions of the city by establishing a satellite campus outside the city. My school (Ming Chuan University) has built one of these in Gwai Shan, Taoyuan. Although many other schools have followed similar developments, ours is typical of the situation that teachers working under these conditions find themselves.

The campus itself is located in Gwai Shan (Turtle Mountain) which is a suburb of Taoyuan City. It is an extremely rural area by the standards of Taipei. There are private buses that run to the school from Taipei Station, Taoyuan Train Station, as well as several other locations. This bus is not free. In addition, you can catch the Taoyuan city bus and walk up from the bottom of the hill. It’s not far and takes no more than 20 minutes.

The school operates a bus service that is free for faculty and staff. Before I started working at MCU, I taught corporate classes in Taipei and the County, so I thought the bus service was fantastic. I have since adopted an attitude similar to other teachers; the buses don’t run often enough, the drivers aren’t careful enough, and the buses themselves are too small and crowded. This service takes a little less than an hour from Taipei.

The campus itself is beautiful. The facilities are much nicer than our Shi Lin (Taipei) Campus. The food in the cafeteria is better. The buildings are more beautiful. In fact, the Gwai Shan Campus is one of the nicest, most spacious schools I have seen in Taiwan. If it weren’t for the location, I would love teaching there all the time. In fact, a number of teachers live near the campus and teach there full-time.
Taipei-based faculty members are required to work there every week. I teach in Gwai Shan twice a week. If you have to travel there, it’s better to have to teach in the afternoon, as our bus schedule has a big gap in between breakfast and lunch. If you have a morning class and have to catch the bus, you might be looking at a very early morning.

While I prefer the infrastructure of the Gwai Shan Campus, it really is a problem getting there. Like many of the teachers at my school, living in Gwai Shan or Taoyuan is not a realistic option for me. Nevertheless, most of the hiring of foreign teachers is taking place in private schools, and they are increasingly moving out into the countryside. The reality of teaching at many of the best prospective employers for foreign teachers is that it will involve some substantial amount of travel.

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