Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is a beautiful country in southeast Asia with a tremendous amount of diversity, rich Buddhist heritage, and highly complex recent history. Plagued by civil war and political turmoil for decades into the early 21st century, Myanmar today has opened its doors to international educators from all over the world to help aid its human development efforts. It is a country on the rise, and making the leap to teach abroad in Myanmar will prove an incredible mutual growth experience between you and your students.
Myanmar is a fairly large country in the heart of southeast Asia, covering 260,000 square miles and home to over 50 million citizens. It has an extensive coastline which runs along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman sea to the south and west, and is bordered to the north and east by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand. Myanmar has been a major regional power for many centuries, most recently gaining independence from British rule in 1948.
Yangon (also known as Rangoon) is the country’s largest city by a considerable margin, and so not surprisingly is one of the most popular destinations where to teach abroad in Myanmar. Sitting pristinely on the country’s southern peninsula, Yangon is home to over 5 million citizens and is the major commercial hub of the country. While there is an impressive amount of ancient and colonial architecture dotting Yangon, the city remains largely impoverished and undeveloped in most areas.
Other popular destinations where to teach abroad in Myanmar include the smaller cities of Mandalay and Bago, as well as many smaller rural areas sprawling throughout the countryside. Myanmar remains a largely unindustrialized nation, so teaching abroad in a village can be a very authentic experience of what life is like for the majority of the country’s population.
Teaching Jobs in Myanmar
There are several different routes you can take to teach abroad in Myanmar. The most common, as within most regions of the world, is teaching English as a second language. Myanmar has an incredibly diverse population with many different spoken languages (Burmese being the most widely recognized), but English fluency is not altogether common throughout the countryside. There is thus an increasingly large market for English teachers to come help out in this area of development.
While the majority of teach abroad programs in Myanmar will then work to place you teaching English at a local school, there are still other possible types of jobs that you can seek out. Public schools in Myanmar generally lack the funding to hire foreign teachers (and Burmese is usually the medium of education anyway), but there are also an increasing amount of international and private schools sprouting up across the country where you might venture into teaching other subjects such as science or math.
Most international educators choose to teach abroad in Myanmar for either one or two years, depending on the type of job placement and personal preferences. Generally international schools and private schools in Myanmar will be looking for more long-term hires than local language schools that work with teach abroad programs.
Salaries & Costs
Myanmar is one of the least developed countries in the world, meaning that both your living costs and salary while teaching abroad will be quite low. Because it is so inexpensive for international educators, this is a great opportunity to save money while having an incredibly humbling experience abroad. Most teach abroad programs will pay you on a stipend, while also often covering some costs of housing, meals, and transportation.
Accommodation & Visas
Again because it’s infrastructure is largely underdeveloped, your accommodations will typically be basic while you teach abroad in Myanmar. Living conditions are obviously much different between urban and rural areas, but in both places do not expect luxuries such as hot water, air conditioning, or internet connection to always be available. Teachers generally choose to live either in homestays or individual apartments.
Educators coming from most countries around the world will need to apply for a visa in order to teach abroad in Myanmar. Either your teach abroad program or host school will generally endorse you throughout this process, but in the meantime check out our Myanmar Embassy Directory for more details about what might to expect from the process.
Benefits & Challenges
Make an Impact. Learning English is becoming more and more important to improving one’s economic prospects in countries all over the world. As a teacher abroad you will be equipping your students with an incredibly valuable skillset.
Be Impacted. On the other side of the table, your students and community will make an equally huge impact on yourself in Myanmar. This will be a growth experience like no other, within a friendly, rich, and complex culture.
Practice Makes Perfect. Even if you do not aspire to a career in education, teaching in a global setting is an incomparable way to develop effective communication tools. You will be amazed by your personal and professional progress upon return.