I get letters like this one all the time, and it saddens me:

My name is _________, and my husband _____ and I are currently
preparing oursleves (as much as that can be possible!) to come to Taiwan to explore the vast realm of teaching english. We are very excited at this prospect, as we have just gotten married and are aspiring to start a new prosperous (hopefully!) life for ourselves overseas. We are two 30 year olds headed to Tainan, actually, and we were hoping you would have some valuable advice for us. We have enjoyed your webpage very much, lots of valuable advice and insight, but are finding it stressful to get all of the paperwork involved sorted out. There are many people advising us to get this visa or that visa or a tesol course, etc. So far we have just gotten our tickets. We leave on july 18th, and don’t know where or who to go to to get our visas, or even what type we’ll need. We are not accepting employment before we go, as we were advised against this. We hope to plan to stay here for 3-4 years, but hold no degrees or tesol courses. We were told that these werent necessary. Is this the case? Will we be able to get by like this?

I wrote back:

“Bullshit. At least ONE of you needs a degree so you can legally stay in Taiwan. EITHER a two-year degree plus a TESOL certificate OR a BA is acceptable. Nothing less will work. Further, to have no degrees means that you will never be able to move out of the English teaching business. Nor will you be able to leave Taiwan and then return to Canada to easily find work. You are locking yourselves into a lifestyle of lower incomes and reduced prospects.

My best advice is to stay in Canada and do a BA. Yes, there are people who work here without degrees. They work illegally and are always in danger, however remote, that they may be found out and reported and deported. Without a degree you are ILLEGAL. Additionally, a BA provides you with at least some small education for a better job in the future.”

Folks, coming here without a degree is a really bad idea and I am not going to validate it with my approval. I think I need to make the warning on my website stronger…..

Michael