A Myanmar gap year gives you a unique opportunity to live in a country which only recently ‘opened its doors’ to the outside world.
Myanmar (pronounced MEE’-an-mar), formerly known as Burma, borders India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand.
Myanmar is a beautiful and culturally rich country which has, for decades, endured an oppressive regime. A green landscape scattered by gilded pagodas, it seems no hill is left unadorned by these beautiful bell shaped stupas. Whilst it is physically and geographically beautiful it is the people who are likely to be the highlight in Myanmar. Friendly and warm, you will be greeted by smiles wherever you go and will get used to being asked for selfies!
Project Trust Volunteers in Myanmar are based in temples in Mandalay and Sagaing, in Upper Burma, straddling the banks of the Irrawaddy River.
The city of Mandalay is a bustling hub of monasteries, markets, teashops and pagodas whilst Sagaing is a quieter site of religious pilgrimage which it surrounded by lush green hills topped by golden stupas.
Mandalay and Sagaing both give you the opportunity to learn a lot about Buddhism. Half of the country’s monks live in this area of Myanmar.
Burmese culture is incredibly hospitable and although mobile phones, 3G and social media have become accessible, Western chain stores are still rare and your students, colleagues and local friends will wear traditional dress every day.
Volunteers teach TESOL in temples in Myanmar. The majority of the students will be young Buddhist monks and nuns.
You will also have great opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities- there are lots of opportunities to share your skills and learn lots. You may be asked to help out with teaching other subjects too!
Myanmar Volunteers should be flexible, mature and resilient.
You will need to be enthusiastic and motivated to teach TESOL. English is seen as important for Myanmar to succeed on a global scale. It can be especially important for ethnic minorities who may be denied the right to university and English is seen as an opportunity to work with tourists.
If you have any additional skills (such as sports or music) there is a lot of opportunity to set up clubs, teams and extra-curricular activities.
Rosie MacGill | India 07/08Country Coordinator for Myanmar
Rosie is a Returned Volunteer (India 07/08) who spent some time travelling in Myanmar in 2010. She was really struck by how kind and warm the people were and how magical the pagodas of Bagan were at sunrise and sunset.