Previously known as Burma, present-day Myanmar is a beautiful Southeast Asian country filled with many ancient temples and human artifacts, dating back to over 400,000 years ago. Located near India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand, Myanmar is the perfect study abroad location for students looking to immerse themselves in a non-traditional destination.

Myanmar is best for students who are interested in the history of Southeast Asia, the role of the Mongol empire, human rights, community development, Buddhism, democracy, and international relations.

Photo credit: Christopher.Michel.

Students eager to spend time overseas in Myanmar while in high school can choose from the following program types:

  • Study Abroad
  • Summer Programs / Travel Tours
  • Volunteer (Service Learning)
Study Abroad

Spend a semester (or more) in a magnificent Southeast Asian country that is uninfluenced by Western culture. Through its recent government changes, you can come here and learn about political change, cultural preservation, and ecological development first hand. To further connect with the community and environment, you will have the chance to stay with host families and partake in weekend excursions.

Summer Programs / Travel Tours

Students eager to immerse themselves in the culture of Myanmar can spend anywhere from one week to a month of their summer overseas. While here, students can focus on development studies and social transformation, while living in a country that is currently undergoing both, with a new democracy in place. Certain summer programs also include travel tours that take students to multiple cities in Myanmar.

Volunteer Programs

Give back this summer by spending some time working on and learning about education and infrastructure initiatives in Myanmar. You'll stay in a volunteer house with fellow volunteers and will have the ability to connect with people in the community through your service work.

Popular Cities
  • Yangon: the largest city in Myanmar and a former capital of Burma, Yangon is filled with both ancient Buddhist temples like the Shwedagon Pagoda and British architecture.
  • Mandalay: Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar, as well as the last royal capital of Burma.
  • Nyaungshwe: Nyaungshwe is a hot spot for backpackers, boasting a laidback vibe and access to Inle Lake.
Visa

All students planning to spend time overseas in Myanmar while in high school must have a valid visa and a passport that is valid for at least six months after the intended departure date from the country. As of 2015, eVisas were made available online so that travelers no longer need to go to the consulate to obtain a visa. Study abroad program providers can usually assist students with this application process.

Housing

Housing options vary based on your program type. Students partaking in a semester exchange will get to live with a local host family, volunteers will live in a volunteer house, and short term summer programs usually offer a variety of housing options from homestays to camping.

Costs

The official currency in Myanmar is the Burmese kyat, and like other Southeast Asian countries, it is relatively inexpensive for Westerners to travel here. Myanmar has a cash-based economy, though tipping is not required, but appreciated. It is recommended that travelers leave small donations when visiting temples and other religious / cultural exhibitions that are oftentimes free of charge.

Program costs vary depending on program type and duration. A semester exchange program can cost around $13,000, while summer and volunteer programs range from $5,500 to $7,250. Travelers coming from the U.S. can also plan to spend close to $2,000 for airfare.

Packing Tips

Myanmar has three distinct seasons. The low season occurs from May to September, which is when rain and monsoons are most common. From October to November, and March to April, Myanmar experiences a shoulder season, in which temperatures sometimes reach 104 degrees. High season is from December to February, when temperatures are most mild.

We recommend packing the following:

  • Sunblock
  • Flip flops
  • Light fabric clothing
  • Shorts and t-shirts that mix and match well
  • A few fancy outfits
  • Scarves to cover your shoulders in religious buildings
  • Umbrella / raincoat
  • Sneakers
  • Power socket types C, D, F, G

Health

Currently the following diseases are active in Myanmar: insect-borne diseases (malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis), rabies, HIV/AIDS, avian influenza, and water-borne, food-borne, parasitic, and other infectious diseases (tuberculosis, cholera, hepatitis and typhoid).

It is recommended that travelers get vaccinated for the following: Japanese encephalitis, Rabies, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Hepatitis A and B, and Typhoid. Make sure to consult your doctor for personalized advice, especially if you plan to travel to multiple destinatinos.

Safety

Myanmar is still experiencing governmental changes, as a new democracy is now in place. Stay away from protests and public demonstrations, which can get out of hand quickly. Like most other countries in Southeast Asia and around the world, the only main crime is really pickpocketing, so make sure your items are safely secured while you are in public places, and take typical safety precautions as you would in any city.

Contributed by Danielle Ortiz

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