There is one color that shines brightly throughout Myanmar: the glittering gold of thousands of pagodas and temples.
We are proud to offer this unique opportunity to teach English to monks and nuns in Myanmar and to be immersed in the Buddhist culture in Yangon, Myanmar. If there is anywhere to experience authentic monastery / orphanage life, Myanmar is it.
For those who only have 10-14 days to travel … we can provide this experience for you. If you have longer to give, this program can run as long as 8-weeks.
Volunteer teachers from GeoVisions help to contribute to the education and personal development of both novice and full ordained monks and nuns in Yangon while still supporting the culture and Buddhist practice. Many of the novice monks and nuns are orphans. Some choose to leave the monastery / orphanage, when they are older, therefore any additional enhancement in their education will help them in their future lives, which is crucial for them and their culture.
English language skills are valuable not only to those who may leave the institution in the future, but also to help future monks and nuns build ties with monasteries and Buddhist organizations in other countries as well as other faiths and also to draw attention to the urgent need for support. When Myanmar Buddhists speak to their counterparts in Thailand, Vietnam or anywhere else in Asia, the use English as the bridge language, so it is very important skill even within faith-based communities.
The main duty of volunteers for this program is to teach English. The age of the student novices [monks and nuns] will range from 5 upwards. The overall general level of English is very low. Attendance at classes is voluntary and class sizes will vary from day to day, so this program demands volunteers who are extremely flexible and patient.
When not teaching, the volunteer teachers are responsible for planning lessons, conducting workshops, and organizing games and other activities. If you happen to be teaching just the novice monks and nuns, outside of class time you may also be asked to help supervise extra-curricular activities, depending on where you are placed.
In addition to teaching monks or nuns, volunteers may also teach at schools run by monks and nuns whose classes including disadvantaged or orphaned youth. This will be part of the volunteer’s experiences in addition to teaching actual monks or novice monks, and nuns.
Attendance at classes is voluntary and class sizes will vary from day to day, so flexibility is important. Volunteers are often left to their own devices when not teaching, and will be responsible for planning lessons, conducting workshops, and organizing games and other activities. Volunteers may also be asked to help supervise monastery chores or additional activities depending on where they are placed and the needs. If this does occur, it will only be in limited instances.
If you have an interest in traveling to a new frontier, understanding more about Buddhism or teaching English to children, Monks and Nuns, this is a perfect program for you. Living in a monastery for a time as a volunteer teacher is a once-in-a-lifetime experience..
Classroom experience with novice monks and nuns, adult monks and nuns we well as orphaned students, teaching English, working directly with a head of a monastery or monastery school. Add an international reference to your resume in order to help with future job applications or enhanced certification using your experience teaching English abroad in Myanmar.
- Consider traveling with a friend or as a couple. This is a great program if you are traveling with friends, family or a small group.
- 2 to 8 weeks.
- $1,509 for 2-4 weeks. $1,819 for 5-8 weeks.
Below please find the budget break-down. All prices and fees are displayed in USD. The applicant should convert to the local currency to get a better idea of the fees and budget.
Weekly budget while volunteering
Budget Items and Cost
- Entertainment based on moderate expenditure $10 – $15
- Transport (based on public transport fees) $10 – $20
- Miscellaneous $20 – $30
- Food (optional and during down time) $20 – $40
- NB: The above budget does not account for travel around the country. If you are planning on doing some traveling, it is best to bring additional funds.
Prices can vary around the country and expenses change regularly, and will increase drastically in tourist hot-spots (especially accommodation).
Local transport Transport will likely be taxi in Yangon and bus, motor-cycle or foot outside of the main city, as some of the villages are in the mountain ranges.
Very rarely will a full meal and drinks cost you more than USD $5. But this is for local Burmese food. Western food can easily run you double or USD $10. Most meals are provided at the monastery.
There are several items that you will likely need to bring additional funds for. This would be for things like toiletries and other personal items.
- Soap – 50 US cents
- Shampoo – 80 US cents
- Cigarettes – 70 – 90 US cents
- Large plate of fried rice – USD 2
- Toothpaste – 40 US cents
- Large Bottle of beer – USD 1.5
- Taxi in the city – USD 2.5 – 5.0
- Tri-shaw – 30 cents – USD 2
Your Duties and Responsibilities
- Teach English to novice monks and nuns, adult monks and nuns. Your primary reason for being there is to teach your students basic and conversational English.
- Using GeoVisions’ teaching materials that you download and bring with you, and your free Internet subscription to the online ESL Lounge along with your creativity, provide creative, fun and informative language sessions. If you get stumped and need specific help, our personalized Help Me Teach desk is always there for you to use. In addition, the full time staff who work with full-time English teachers GeoVisions sends to Myanmar each year can help you through almost anything.
- Keep your room tidy and clean. Sleeping late everyday, spending your days in your room and not being accessible to the school is not respectful. Nor is it respectful to be on the Internet, your iPad or cell phone most of the time.
- Manage your own personal expenses (telephone bills, clothing, entertainment and spending money).
- Police background check.
- Willingness to be flexible and to learn another culture, maturity, be able to work independently and patience as the levels of English at all the placements is very low.
What You Receive For Your Program Fee
- Personalized volunteer placement through our staff in Myanmar with a pre-screened school. In other words, a place to call “home” in Myanmar.
- A comfortable, safe place to live in Myanmar, included in your program fee.
- An experienced U.S. based GeoVisions Program Manager who will serve as your coordinator and liaison with our in-country staff in Myanmar.
- Pre-departure information pack.
- Comprehensive orientation with language lessons and cultural excursions. Assistance by local staff we work with year-’round to offer help with any issues that may arise. A 24/7 local contact number.
- Onsite training- if required (consisting of informal lesson preparation guidance from our TESOL/TEFL instructors.
- A toll-free 24-hour emergency hotline in the U.S. Call collect from France. Our emergency line is manned by real people.
- Premium online membership at the ESL-Lounge for access to game, flash-cards, worksheets.
- Unlimited access to GeoVisions’ exclusive Help Me Teach desk, to assist you with ideas that relate to your situation.
- Airport transfers.
February 27 [ 2 – 4 weeks]
May 1 [2 – 4 weeks]
June 3 [2 -4 weeks]
September 4 [2 -4 weeks]
November 6 [2 -4 weeks]
Note: Intake dates are around the school holidays so that the volunteer can teach local poor children as well as novice and fully ordained monks and nuns.
Volunteers may be asked to work on weekends, as this is at times the most convenient period to teach at our partner monasteries and nunneries. If you are flexible, your time in Myanmar will be easy and rewarding.
This program will give you a very unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in life at a Buddhist Monastery. Volunteers will be living on site in local monasteries, where they will be able to live as the monks and nuns do for the duration of the program. The typical day for a volunteer may look like this:
5am Prayer time
6am Shower and breakfast
8.00 Teaching *
1.30 Teaching *
5.00 Evening meal / meditation / prayer time
Note: that there may be evening teaching required if students are in school or in religious study during the day. The monasteries are linked to orphanages or the local community and provide education opportunities where the level of public school education is very low or where opportunities for schooling are limited. As the local children (as well as novice monks and nuns) typically attend school from June to February, the key times for the program need to focus on the main public school Holidays (March to June), in the evenings or during the weekend. The volunteer must be willing to teach evenings and weekends. The teaching schedule may vary depending on the students’ schedule. Although participants do not have to partake in everyday activities and will have significant free time, the experience would be more rewarding if you become fully immersed. Don’t worry too much about the language differences; a smile and gestures go a long way.
Comprehensive orientation with language lessons and cultural excursions.
Onsite training- if required (consisting of informal lesson preparation guidance from our TESOL/TEFL instructors).
A one-week, mandatory online prep course in teaching English to beginners is offered before you depart for Myanmar.
This program is open to all English speakers. If you are not a native English speaker, you will need to take a 30 minute English Conversation test online.
Any English speaker may apply for this program. If you are not a native English speaker, you will need to take an English Conversation test that last no more than 30 minutes.
Candidates can complete an in-class TESOL in either Thailand or Myanmar before starting their placement, or complete an online TESOL, depending on the departure date. We do allow volunteers to complete this project without any teaching experience or a TESOL if you prefer not to obtain one.
These monastery schools are located mainly in and around Yangon.
On September 1, 2014, the Government of Burma announced an eVisa program for tourist visas. The program allows tourists to apply for a visa online rather than physically applying at an embassy or consulate. Tourists are generally notified within a few days about whether they have been approved for a visa. You must present the approval letter at Immigration when you enter the country. Once tourists are approved for the visa, the visa needs to be used within three months.
Your continued good health and your safety are paramount to GeoVisions. Access to medical treatment keeps you safe, healthy and participating on the program.
Extensive medical and accident insurance along with emergency evacuation, baggage loss and delay, trip delay and LiveTravel™ emergency assistance is included for US citizens as long as you are on the program.
Under the current insurance laws in the United States, we are unable to insure participants outside the US on our policy, which we have obtained from Travel Guard. However, if you live outside the US we hope you will still participate with us. You will need to scan your proof of insurance and send it to us.
Yeah. We know. These laws make no sense to us either.
Included. You will stay at the monastery or nunnery.
Accommodation will be basic: a bedroom may be shared, but female volunteers will have separate rooms. Showers are usually cold water, and most toilets do not have toilet blocks. Food is prepared in outside cooking areas and you will be expected to eat alongside the monks or nuns. Drinking water is always available. You may be asked to supervise chores or activities outside of the classroom. If not, don’t be afraid to just try and join in. Remember, the more you put in to the experience, the more you will get out of it.
Breakfast and lunch each day are provided.