Work and Travel in Burma (Myanmar)
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BURMA (MYANMAR) FOR TRAVELLERS
Travel in Myanmar automatically conjures a variety of images you see on the news now. But anyone who has decided to work and travel in Myanmar, or Burma as some know it, will tell you it’s not how it is portrayed in news outlets across the world.
This Far East nation is steeped in history and is a place that, quite frankly, most people don’t know too much about. If you want to take advantage of the volunteering opportunities in Myanmar, this is the travel guide to Myanmar for you.
Are you ready to challenge yourself through the unknown?
1. Join the United Nations (UN) Youth Volunteer Network in Myanmar
The UN is making major overtures to bring Myanmar into the Youth Volunteer Network. The idea is to help mobilize the youth of Myanmar through spreading awareness and ensuring that peace building opportunities can commence.
There’s also the chance to join UN volunteer programmes with the Rohingya refugees, but you will need to be highly skilled to qualify for a programme like this. It’s certainly not a kind of backpacking job in Myanmar.
2. Become a Healthcare Specialist in Yangon
If you want to check out the energetic city of Yangon you can help out with the healthcare situation from there. As a developing country, healthcare is sadly lacking in application and awareness.
You don’t need to be a trained healthcare professional to work in Burma in this role. Many backpackers who work and travel in Myanmar have worked as simple healthcare educators.
In short, there’s a place for you!
3. Become an English Teacher in Rural Myanmar
Even though this was once a British colony, English isn’t widely used. However, this is changing as more and more young people decide to learn English.
You could become an English teacher in rural Myanmar and get a taste of what it’s like to really travel Myanmar. Head to villages in the most isolated parts of the country and teach English in Myanmar.
It’s highly rewarding and you’ll leave knowing that you’ve made a real difference.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BURMA (MYANMAR)
Myanmar is an extremely secretive country that’s naturally suspicious of foreigners, particularly after recent developments. If you want to work and travel in Myanmar, you’re guaranteed to need some form of approval. The only visa-free countries are other countries in Southeast Asia.
If you want to travel in Myanmar the chances are you’ll have to go through the eVisa system for tourism and business. This applies to the vast majority of nationalities.
Few countries can enter without a visa but equally few countries actually need a formal visa. These tend to be restricted to the poorest African nations.
Despite what you may think, the eVisa system is actually just a mobile toll, where you have to pay a fee to enter. Nearly everyone is approved by the system within three working days to visit the country.
Take note that if you intend to go to one of the four restricted areas in the country, especially areas where active military action is being undertaken, you will need a permit. And you may be required to take a formal guide.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BURMA (MYANMAR)
The hot season takes place in the spring and the humidity can be quite unbearable at this time of year around the country. Thankfully, it only lasts throughout the two months of March and April.
During this time you should consider picking up volunteering opportunities in Myanmar that take place in an indoor setting. Popular options revolve around education and healthcare.
This is a good time of year to be in Yangon to teach English in Myanmar.
Like most tropical countries, the summer season is the rainy season. It’s highly recommended that you stay well away from the rural areas at this time of year. Roads can be washed out and it’s not uncommon to become stranded for days in certain areas.
Again, try to stick to the cities.
To coincide with the Western summer, a lot of projects to support street kids pop up at this time of year. These skills are in high demand, so if you want to work with children this is the time to do it.
Most of the autumn is covered by the rainy season. The same backpacker skills available in the previous section continue to apply here.
Remember that this applies until the beginning of November then you should refer to the following section.
The cool season that covers winter is arguably the best time to work and travel in Myanmar. To work in Burma at this time of year gives you pleasurable temperatures without any major obstacles.
Many construction projects and other development opportunities in rural areas become available through the winter months.
It’s a great chance to really get to know the country. The best part is you don’t have to be qualified to get one of these roles. As long as you work hard and have a desire to initiate change in the area you’re assigned to, that’s good enough for most projects.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BURMA (MYANMAR)
There are two images of travel in Myanmar. First of all, you have an oppressive government that’s constantly criticised by the outside world for its brutality. This is justified, but it unfairly puts off foreign tourists from visiting the country.
The people are not the government and they don’t necessarily agree with what the government does. Most people in the country are delighted to see foreigners.
And their attitudes are liberalising and resemble those of other countries in the region, such as Thailand. You’ll be surprised at how friendly the people are.
Luckily, you don’t need to worry about the hawkers and the touts as the lack of a developed tourist industry means ripping off tourists has yet to become a business. It’s truly one of the few untouched nations in this part of the world.
Do you have what it takes to work and travel in Myanmar?
- Edited on May 23 2018 by Roman