The spread of English as a global language has contributed to the trend of recruiting native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) through government-funded schemes around the world, particularly in East Asia. In Taiwan, the NEST scheme has been recently expanded because of the national policy for a bilingual Taiwan in 2030. However, the NEST scheme in Taiwan has the strictest selection criteria and the least attractive incentives in the region. As these unfavorable conditions could affect the recruitment and effectiveness of the NEST scheme, this study explored the advantages and challenges perceived by NEST participants through in-depth interviews with 24 NESTs working in Taiwanese public schools to identify the factors that could influence their attrition and retention. It was found that most advantages were associated with the participants’ schools, such as the provision of resources and a sense of achievement, rather than from outside the schools. However, most of the perceived challenges also occurred inside the schools, such as the lack of collaboration with colleagues and class sizes. These findings suggested that the issues and agendas at the participating schools had the greatest influence on NEST decisions to stay or leave Taiwan. The implications for policymakers and school leaders are discussed and relevant suggestions are made.
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