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HESS International Educational Group

About

Founded in 1983, HESS International Educational Group is the largest and most recognized private language school in Taiwan. We employ more than 600 native English-speaking teachers in 180+ HESS schools across Asia. Our staff has more than 30 years of experience looking after both new and experienced teachers just like you!

At HESS, you’ll work directly with a stable, well-established educational organization. We are not a recruitment agency, and we do not charge any fees. Take the first steps toward teaching English in Asia today!

Website
www.hess.com.tw
Founded
1983

Reviews

Default avatar
Tim
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Avoid Hess

Please heed our warning. The Training was inadequate, and you have to pass to be employed (you get the job the last minute of your training). Some of the Trainers were awful. Nasty Branch boss who puts you down, and made to feel unwelcome half the time. Hours of unpaid work, constant air of tension and poor communication, and more bickering, till the point the place becomes intolerable. I have had years of experience Teaching in other ESL Schools and Hess was by far the worst of all. Do yourself a favour and avoid the pain.

What would you improve about this program?
Do I have to spell it out - stop being jerks. Make the training assessable to what atually goes on instead of boring useless theories, and practical lessons for the training was so pathetic, change it. You people are just plain nasty. I don't see how this Company could change, they are still negative reviews posted and it won't change the company. I'm sure they got their excuses.
Default avatar
Anon
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Pick a different school

Make sure you do your research. Google HESS, go on reddit, Glassdoor and don’t just shrug off the bad reviews as disgruntled ex employees - take the reviews as a warning to pick a different school... I wish I did instead of dismissing them.

They have no regard for the safety of their teachers and place foreign English teachers into bilingual preschools which are against the law in Taiwan. They fail to ever mention that until you are already over there and only tell you on your last day of training an hour before signing your contract. They shrug it off as no big deal and compare it to “j walking” but they have safety measures in place if a police raid were to occur like a bird chirping on the loudspeaker or a secret escape door in your classroom. Marijuana is against the law and punishable by jail time and so is giving someone the finger or honking your horn at someone...so imagine the consequences of being caught teaching English in a preschool.

Their entire website sells you on the experience of Taiwan, but they spend very little time on the actual job...which you will be spending most of your time at as there are plenty of unpaid hours and prep work that you need to do to get ready for your class: science experiments, arts and crafts, grading or graduation plays you have to choreograph. If you think it will be a nice balance of exploring Taiwan and working...think again.

Oh and just because you drop everything and fly over for their training doesn’t necessarily mean you are guaranteed a job. You will first need to pass their boot camp style teacher training where they watch and report your every move. Every note you write, every sneeze you make, every hand you raise or question you answer is being watched and monitored through a two way mirror or camera throughout every corner of their main office. If they don’t like you, you get cut and sent packing...

If you are comfortable with all of the above perhaps you might be able to stomach the psychological and physical abuse that you witness your Taiwan co-teachers administering to your students during your classes. Dragging kids, hitting kids, screaming and name calling are just a few tactics they use on students. On my last day of work a 4 year old peed his pants and the co-teacher made him take all of his clothes off and walk the hall from the bathroom to the class completely naked naked as other children watched and the co-teacher laughed and pointed.

HESS is aware of how awful they are and the horrible reviews that are out there, in fact they removed all reviews on their Facebook page after I left this one on there. They are desperate for unsuspecting foreigners to come and join them to fill their high turnover positions. They are desperate to keep new teachers from leaving by offering ‘start up loans’ and enslaving foreigners in exchange for their passport until the debt is paid off. They bribe current teachers to get friends to move over and work for them. If you are absolutely miserable and want to leave you have to pay $20,000 NTD to break your contract. They know new teachers coming over read the horrible reviews, but hope they don’t believe them. Please believe them. Save yourself the money, time and frustration...pick a different school.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't sign up with HESS...pick a different school or a different country. Make sure to read all the reviews prior to signing up.
David Potgieter
David
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is a Job, not a Holiday

I have read several reviews that criticize the unpaid work hours that you will have to put in. It is true, you will not be paid for a good portion of work hours spent preparing, grading or doing some minor chores. I'd like to stress that this is *typically* the case in virtually all teaching jobs, globally.

The pay per hour is more than fair. The benefits (health insurance being the flagship) that you will derive from holding a work permit are pretty much unrivaled. There are several *optional* sightseeing tours and events revolving around food that you will be treated to.

The experience of being thrust into a new cultural world is jarring and shocking for a time, but ultimately highly rewarding and character forming. Many reviewers here have highlighted the difficulty of the job not realizing that jobs are, generally speaking, tough. This is not meant to be a holiday, it is a job.

What would you improve about this program?
Many teachers who arrive in Taiwan to work for Hess are teaching for the very first time. For these teachers it would help if the reality of what it means to teach and facilitate children (many of whom are naturally highly unruly) was made very clear at the outset.
Default avatar
Sebastian
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Don't risk it - Avoid

Hess will give you a good training in the basics of esl teaching. They will.always pay you on time. The kids are great and some of the branch staff are friendly. They paid for taxi from the airport
Helped find an apartment, Good way to meet new people.

HESS takes advantage of foreign teachers in a weak position. You will spend more than half of your time doing completely unpaid work. The amount of extra "activities" are frankly absurd. You will only get one day off per week. Expect 50-60 hour work weeks but only 20-25 hours of pay. There are ZERO paid days off. None. And it is very difficult to get time off because you, the employee, will have to find your own subs.

HESS does not hesitate to use scare tactics to unsuspecting foreign teachers. For example, threatening to fire you to get a "better performance" (even if they have no intention of doing so). Keep in mind that getting fired also means losing your residence visa!
Last thing to say: HESS recruits entirely from abroad. This is because their reputation is so bad that NO teachers in Taiwan are willing to work them. None.

What would you improve about this program?
Be more transparent with incoming teachers, and more people would stay and complete their contracts.
Default avatar
Adam
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Former NST

I was a teacher at Hess for 1 year. I left because the CTs boss new NSTs around. There is a lot of unpaid work. And because of the larger number of teachers who quit you will be made to teach whatever classes they tell you to. You will be working 6 days a week and then have to grade homework, tests, quizzes and progress reports. All this is outside of your lessons and NOT paid.

If you teach kindy and then EFL/Treehouse you will be working 9am to 9pm. The kids are great and the material is good. They also say western management, in many cases the Head Chinese teacher HCT. Will be your manager not a Head Native Speaking Teacher, because nobody wants to do the job.

This causes problems and friction. Most of the time if there is an issue in class then they will side with the Chinese Teacher and not the foreign teacher.

The training that they are supposed to give to CTs (Chinese Teachers) is only for full time ones. All the part time teachers don't get this. And so many are aggressive to new NSTs, they will also interrupt teaching and undermined you in front of the students.

If you are looking for a job, they will offer one to you. The interview is easy and they need teachers, due to the high labor turnover.

What would you improve about this program?
Be consistent with your policies. Don't lie in training. The picture painted is not the reality. Also don't try and cover up the bad practices.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Caroline worked for HESS in Keelung, Taiwan from 2009-2011. She taught the same two kindergarten classes, as well as some older ages during this time. During her time abroad, Caroline enjoyed exploring the local area and hiking along the many coastal trails. She returned to the USA in 2011 and currently works for a non-profit in Madison, Wisconsin.

Why did you decide to teach abroad with HESS International?

I graduated from college at a time when there weren’t any job prospects nearby, so when I heard about HESS from a fellow English Literature major, I decided to do some investigating.

I was immediately impressed by the intuitive design of the program’s website, as well as how easy it was to get more information about all aspects of living and teaching in Taiwan.

Even after exploring other options on the island, I kept coming back HESS. Everything they did, from guiding me through the application process to getting me to Keelung, was well-planned and eased the way for me to be able to live and teach there.

What made this teach abroad experience unique and special?

HESS does a great job of making sure their teachers are taken care of and well-informed. I was based in Keelung, at the northern tip of the island, and enjoyed the enthusiastic camaraderie of my fellow NSTs (Native-Speaking English Teachers), as well as the support of the Taiwanese co-teachers and staff. Teaching with HESS allowed me to earn a decent wage while still affording me the opportunity to go exploring around the island. Additionally, as a Kindy teacher I was also able to go on dozens of field trips to places I wouldn't have known about or had access to, otherwise. I helped harvest bamboo, went to aquariums, and learned about Taiwanese culture first-hand.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)

After my two years of teaching with HESS I came back to the USA with a great work ethic, a much more easy-going attitude, and also a negligible fear of the unknown.

The cost of living in Taiwan was so affordable, I was able to save enough money to move to a completely different part of the US from where I’d lived before.

This allowed me to quickly get a new job where, utilizing the skills I’d acquired teaching Taiwan, I was able to easily integrate into a diverse team, which I’m still part of three years later.

Teaching with HESS taught me how to be a more confident public speaker, how to adapt quickly to different situations, and that working hard pays off.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering teaching abroad in Taiwan?

Teaching in Taiwan is an incredibly rewarding experience, but going overseas is always going to come with challenges. I would recommend, first and foremost, that any newcomer make the effort to seek out and befriend the other teachers, both NST and Taiwanese, in your school and area. Utilize their knowledge and experiences to help get you through the rocky moments you’re going to face. Keep a sense of humor, make sure you stay connected with people back home, and don’t worry if you’re overcome with random food cravings that take you on hours-long bus rides to Costco during your days off (yes, there is a Costco near Taipei). It happens. There are also some great ex-pat forums online that can help you with other problems, so be sure to check those out as well.