We offer our in-class TESOL course and teacher placement in the beautiful, mountainous Myanmar. Not many people know too much about this hidden gem, so, in this article, we’re giving you an introduction to a country that many don’t get the chance to see. Teach in Myanmar and experience this enigmatic culture first-hand.
Explore Inle Lake
A famous spot in Myanmar is Inle Lake. Inle Lake is over 900 meters above sea level and has become very popular due to the Inthas, the native lake dwellers, and their unique way of fishing. They fish standing on one leg, all while simultaneously steering their boats, balancing and looking out for fish. This area of Myanmar has a population of about 150,000 people who live alongside the lake in houses on stilts over the water.
While visiting Myanmar, if you pass by young kids playing in the street, or hear of a big competition going on in the city, then they might be playing chinlone. Chinlone is the national sport of Myanmar, and can be considered a mix of football and dance. It’s played in teams of six people who form a circle. The football is danced around the circle for as long as possible before hitting the ground. The purpose of this game is to showcase your technique and performance and Chinlone is not about scoring goals like in British football. The objective is to perform the best tricks. If you teach in Myanmar, don’t be afraid to jump in and show off your best moves too!
There are many cultural habits that feel a little strange to most westerners, but, to the people of Myanmar, this is their way of life. For example, in western countries the ideal way to get a waiter’s attention is to catch their eye or by waving your hand towards them. In Myanmar, however, it’s customary to make a kissing noise in the direction of the person you are trying to gain the attention of. This is very different from western culture, and is another example of how unique Myanmar’s culture can be.
Another cultural tradition in Myanmar is for men and women to wear longyi. Longyi is a piece of cloth made of cotton, worn around their waist, similar to a sarong. The men will often wear plain, checkered or striped patterns and will hold the longyi in place by tying a knot the size of a tennis ball. The longyi can be worn in many different ways; people can also fold their longyi in between their legs like shorts for certain activities.
Women also wear a form of longyi called Htamein. This piece has a black band that borders the top of the cloth which cascades down into beautiful and unique patterns.
While visiting Myanmar, as you walk through the city, you are bound to see many people wearing a clay mask on their faces. That clay mask is called thanaka. Thanaka has been used in the Burmese culture for over 2,000 years. It’s made by grinding tree bark until it is the consistency of a paste.
Many Burmese people use thanaka as a sunscreen to protect them from the beaming sun rays. It can also be used for makeup and in your everyday skincare routine. Additionally, the paste can be used for cleansing purposes, anti-acne, to control the amount of oil forming on your skin throughout the day, and for many other purposes. While you teach in Myanmar you can purchase thanaka in cream or powder form, or even the bark itself to try making your own from scratch.
While you teach in Myanmar it is important to note that the country uses the imperial system rather than the metric system. Instead of measuring distance in kilometers, it is measured in miles. Instead of measuring weight in grams, it is measured in pounds and so on. There are only three countries in the world who still do this; the United States, Liberia, and of course Myanmar.
The country also has more than one hundred different ethnic groups, making it even more diverse than the United States of America. Of the 100 plus tribes in Myanmar, one of the most famous is the Kayan Tribe, specifically the Padaung Long Neck Women. The women wear brass coils around their neck to make their neck appear longer, starting at the age of five.
Myanmar’s National dish is mohinga. Mohinga, a rice noodle and fish soup, is an essential part of the Burmese cuisine. Considered by many as the national dish of Myanmar, it‘s made up of at least three species of fish: ngaiji (a small freshwater catfish), ngakhu ( another type of small freshwater catfish) and ngapali ( a snakehead fish). This dish can be eaten at any time of the day, but is usually eaten during breakfast time. If you pass by a street stall, you are sure to find mohinga. The sellers often carry a long wooden pole on their shoulders with two pots on the end, one pot for the broth and the other carrying the noodles. You can find all the ingredients from the sellers as well, making your dish complete.
Another traditional meal you can find in Myanmar is laphet thoke. This dish is considered a symbol of generosity, sharing and loving. Laphet is fermented tea leaves, accompanied with crispy beans, fried chickpeas, fried garlic, roasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and dried shrimp.
Help the Community
Pala-U Orphanage in Thailand is also home to Karen children. Located in Pa Deng Village in Petchaburi, close to the border of Myanmar, it was founded about 16 years ago by a 19-year old volunteer teacher. The children in his care have no relatives to take care of them and they don’t have access to education or medical help. XploreAsia are proud to support the orphanage and if you would like to volunteer or donate to help, please contact our CEO: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to experience and explore this beautiful country, then join XploreAsia as an ESL teacher. We provide a one month in-class TESOL course, accompanied by a cultural orientation week. Upon graduation, you will receive an accredited certification and our lifetime support. It is sure to be the experience of a lifetime. For more information on our TESOL course visit our website, and don’t forget to check out our Instagram and Facebook pages to see what our teachers in Myanmar have been up to!