Kinmen's history is rich with remnants of an earlier time and ongoing cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan, while still living in a modern time. Because of its distance from Taiwan, it is a unique experience and those who are lucky to be placed here will know that what sets Kinmen apart is well worth it.
Kinmen is a subtropical climate. The summers are long and hot and the winters are chilly and foggy, but it is still a beautiful island with beaches, forests, and mountains to explore. It is important to be prepared for rainy season because it can get very humid.
Number of ETAs
Number of Schools with ETAs
A Brief History of Kinmen
This island has been inhabited since the Tang Dynasty, but it wasn't called Kinmen (金門) until the Ming Dynasty when a local official named it "Golden Gate" for its strategic importance. During the nineteenth century, many Kinmenese men emigrated to Japan and Southeast Asia and sent money back to family members in Kinmen to build many of the large "western-style houses" scattered throughout the island.
On October 24, 1949, some 8,000 troops from the People's Liberation Army were defeated by 40,000 troops of Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist army in the Battle of Guningtou (古寧頭), which effectively halted the Communists' advance. In the following decades, Kinmen became increasingly wrapped into the larger global politics of the Cold War era. Because Kinmen was located on both a military and ideological border, it was often referred to as the "West Berlin" of Asia. In 1955, U.S. President Eisenhower and Congress passed the "Formosa Resolution," authorizing U.S. forces to defend Taiwan, Penghu and any other territories controlled by the R.O.C. (including Kinmen). During the two Taiwan Strait Crises (1954-5 and 1958), Mao and the People's Liberation Army shelled Kinmen; during the 1954-5 period alone, nearly 60,000 shells were fired on Kinmen leaving 61 civilians dead and 2,000 homes destroyed. Kinmen came to the forefront of American politics when it was a source of topic in the second Nixon-Kennedy presidential debate of 1960.
In 1960, after shelling had stopped, the R.O.C. restructured Kinmen as a "Three Principles of the People Model County," and the local military shifted their policies to focus more on civilian social and economic development. It wasn't until 1992 when the island was finally demilitarized, a civilian government restored, and the island opened to trade with neighboring Xiamen.
Many remnants of Kinmen's pivotal role in the Taiwan Strait Crises and cross-strait relations can be found all over the island. We highly recommend reading Michael Szonyi's Cold War Island: Quemoy on the Western Front as one of the best English resources for learning more about Kinmen's history.
Teaching in Kinmen is particularly special because many ETAs will spend half of their classes teaching with the assistance of a homeroom teacher instead of a local English teacher. This means that they have the freedom to choose their course content. Class sizes also tend to be smaller with only 10 - 15 students, although larger schools do exist as well. Kinmen’s small size uniquely allows for a Fulbrighter to be placed at almost every elementary and middle school, creating a strong culture of English learning.
Living in Kinmen is unlike any other location. Because of the small population you can expect to be fully integrated into the community in Kinmen. Expect frequent teacher dinners and to see students all over. Being such a small island, there is always a beach in sight. At the same time, it still has all necessary modern amenities including two movie theaters, a luxury mall, Starbucks, and multiple import stores, and Xiamen, China is only a 30 min boat ride away.
Name: Carrie Chen
Hello! My name is Carrie Chen. I graduated from National Quemoy University. I have worked with Fulbright since 2015.
Advice for incoming ETAs:
Welcome to this beautiful island, Kinmen! We have beautiful beaches around the whole island. The secret of military history would take you to the past. The peaceful pace on this island and smiles on the Kinmenese faces are all the pretty scenery here.
Hi All, I'm Ann Peng, one of the Kinmen coordinators. I graduated from Tamkang University B.A. English Language and Culture. I have worked with Fulbright since 2015.
Advice for incoming ETAs:
Kinmen is an island rich in Taiwanese and Chinese history whose beaches, forests, and hills beg for a sense of adventure and whose smiles and laughter of its people and children ring through the air.