During our recent travels through Myanmar we had the incredible opportunity to spend a week living at a monastery, teaching monks English with GoEco. We have been volunteering around the world on and off for two years now and this school is one of the most incredible schools we have ever taught English at!
The novice monks in Mandalay are some of the friendliest people we have ever had the pleasure to live with and we are already making plans to return as soon as we can! Haven’t heard Myanmar or didn’t have it on your radar? We didn’t either, but trust us when we say it’s the new Cambodia (before Cambodia got hit by the tourist bug).
Why Choose Myanmar?
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a beautiful country in Southeast Asia that has only just recently opened it’s doors to tourism. After travelling to many Asian countries, Myanmar has got to be the most authentic and untouched we have ever visited.
By choosing to volunteer abroad in Myanmar, you can truly make a positive difference in a community. By volunteering with young novice monks they not only get the benefits of improving their English skills, but you will also learn more about their culture and lifestyle. Working alongside and interacting with local Burmese people will give you a better understanding of everyday life in this compelling country.
Volunteering with Monks: What To Expect
During our time at this project we stayed at an authentic Buddhist monastery school located in the unique city of Mandalay. The school was founded in 1993 by two monks who wanted to provide support to children from poor families. Today, the school provides support and free education to over 6,000 students between the ages of 7 and 18 years, from all different backgrounds.
An aspect we absolutely loved about this monastery is that it also plays home to approximately 1,000 people, including monks and novices. Many of our students were pre-university students, which meant our class was full of super keen teenagers that truly wanted to learn English and would practice conversations with us any chance they could get!
As a volunteer on this project our main tasks were:
to help students improve their English language skills by teaching English classes and having conversations with students outside of class.
to assist the local staff with quality support and help improve their English also.
to give you an experience of intercultural exchange.
Not only can you volunteer by teaching English, if you are more of a hands-on kind of person they also have a construction and carpentry volunteer project you can get involved in. All the furniture within the school has been built on campus. They have their own wood work & metal work room where novice monks who are interested in carpentry can come to and learn how to build and create things.
This is a seperate project, perfect for those who want to help out but don’t feel comfortable in a classroom environment.
During your time at the monastery you also spend a week exploring Mandalay with the other volunteers. Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar with over 1 million inhabitants, is the cultural and Buddhist center of Myanmar – a place definitely worth exploring.
We spent our days exploring pagodas, hiking Mandalay Hill, watching epic sunrises & sunsets, riding ox drawn carts in Mingun and standing in the middle of the largest book in the world!
Organising Volunteering Abroad
If you are interested in volunteering abroad we feel the best way to do this is with an organisation that can set you up with a project of your choice. We teamed up with GoEco who help people that want to volunteer abroad do just that. You simply tell them what kind of volunteering you are interested in experiencing and what country you would like to travel to and they will help find you your perfect project.
If you are interested in the volunteer project we experienced check out the Myanmar Monastery School Teaching project with GoEco.
As always, we filmed our entire experience here at the project. If you want to see exactly what it’s like to work with monks in Myanmar you can watch our experience below.
Have you travelled to Myanmar? We would love to hear about your experience!
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