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Here to answer your questions on Myanmar
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Saya



Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:16 pm    Post subject: Here to answer your questions on Myanmar Reply with quote

I've been living in Myanmar for over three years and in that time have worked and volunteered for language schools, NGOs, businesses, and governments.

Myanmar is about to become a very popular destination for both tourism and work and I'd like to offer myself to answer any questions you might have about living or working in The Golden Land.
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surendra



Joined: 09 Feb 2012
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello.
MOD EDIT
I think I'm happy here in Japan but always toy with Myanmar, Thai, or Laos.

1) I hear Myanmar's internet is terrible. Is it really THAT bad? Are there internet cafes (the ones to play PC games) as an alternative?

2) The companies that advertise seem to favor (not demand) British English and education systems. Are there a lot of American or neutral English jobs there?
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Saya



Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. The internet here is pretty bad, it's the bane of many a foreigner's existence...however it does seem to be getting better. I'm able to skype at home now and watch streaming videos (at certain times). There are also plenty of internet cafes.

If someone really needs very fast internet, they head to Trader's Hotel in the city, which is known for their connection speeds.

2.There's plenty of jobs that want neutral English. I wouldn't say it's a problem if you're not a British speaker. If you're a qualified or experienced teacher, you'll have no problem. (and even never teaching before, doesn't seem to be a barrier togetting work).

If you're toying with the idea of coming here, I would reccomend getting a tourist visa and coming to get a feel for the place. It's certainly not for everyone, but I know many many people who have fallen in love with Myanmar and turned quick visits into lengthy stays.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1269

PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the info. Nice website.

The negative aspects of living/teaching in Myanmar seem pretty clear.

What would you say are some of the positives?

When you say "I know many people who have fallen in love with Myanmar" what do you mean exactly?

I'd just like some clarification of this rather general and somewhat hyperbolic statement.
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Saya



Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that's a very fair question and one that does need answering. I'll give it my best shot.

I guess the main reason would be the people who live there. While I'm well aware that as a foreigner, I get treated differently, I do feel that there is a great sense of community here. People are very friendly towards strangers and generally, everyone is willing to lend a hand to someone in need. Burmese and other nationalities, while conservative in some respects (such as love relationships), are very liberal in others, such as being outgoing and friendly. One example I can give of the Myanma character is the attitude of society towards babies and toddlers. in social situations, everyone wants to coddle and play with babies. My feeling is that in the west, men aren't "supposed" to be interested in that sort of thing and mothers may even find it unusual that a stranger (especially a man) would want to dote on their child, but here it's completely normal. thereis also a strong intellectual and reading culture here too.

the other reason is the more aesthetic and historical culture. And it's important to remember that Burmese culture, is just one of the many, many cultures and languages here. Coming here makes you realise how little we really know about this area and there is an extremly rich history to the country. You could learn everything there was to know about Burmese culture, but even then, you still would have to learn Shan, Mon, Kachin, Kayin...etc..

Regarding Yangon, it's not that big of a city, so it really feels easy to navigate. with the Western ex pat community, it does feel like everyone is only a degree away from knowing everyone else, which of course has it's pros and cons.

One of the things I like personally which is very relevant now is the dynamism of the city and the country. things are constantly changing and new businesses pop up everywhere. there is also a very strong civil society and inspiring culture of volunteerism. It does feel like if you have a good idea, or even if you want to steal one thats been done in a different country, this would be a place to implement it.

Right now in Myanmar all the pieces on the board have been knocked in the air, and everyone is trying to make sure they come down where they want. that's the reason I'm here right now, it's gonna be an interesting decade.
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1269

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that info. I appreciate your response.

I'm still not particularly convinced though regarding your statement above:

Quote:
Myanmar is about to become a very popular destination for both tourism and work


Tourism... ok, sure, but I'm not so sure about work, at least teaching work.

As you describe it, Myanmar sounds quite similar to most any other Asian country, especially its neighbors in ASEAN (VN, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, mostly).

So, I guess what I am wondering is what would make moving to Myanmar worth it for "old hands, long-termers and veterans" of SE Asia, in spite of a the difficulties and deprivations?

I mean I want to like Myanmar and think of it as a viable option and the "new frontier", but I am having trouble doing so. Am I missing something?

Any additional input from you as someone on the ground there would be greatly appreciated. Cheers! Cool
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Saya



Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, my line of thinking is that if there are more tourists here, a lot of them might want to return for a longer period...

I don't know much about VN, Laos or Cambodia, but yes I imagine it is pretty similar. But there is huge upheaval here right now, which is what gives Yangon and Myanmar the edge for people wanting to move to an interesting SE Asian country. The boundaries of what is possible are being tested right now, and many things that are common in other countries (fast and vibrant internet, 24 hour shops, large art scenes, etc) are now starting to emerge. It's a very exciting time to be here and lacks the staleness of other countries.

I'm not an old hand by any means, but I'd imagine that those who are, could use their knowledge and skills to position themselves quite highly in the growing education system, as managers or even as business owners.

I will say one thing, which is that there is a huge demand for (foreign) teachers right now, but not enough teachers or foreigners in the country willing to do it. here's a current sample of what's available, though at the moment most jobs are advertised through word of mouth and "expat forums" MOD EDIT

my guess is that the schools are going to have to end up offering more money to stay competitive..or even go the uncharted route of managing to stick up for local teachers (there are many well trained ESL teachers).

happy to answer your questions! feel free to post more, if I didn't quite get what you were aiming for.
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mfinna



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Saya,

In the OP you mention working for businesses (teaching I presume). Wondering what you might know about the pricing structure for out-service corporate English classes. The pricing structure seems different than what am accustomed to.

In Bangkok, language centers have an in-house price (at the language center) and out-service price (client site). As a rule of thumb, out-service price is roughly twice the in-house price, maybe or maybe not inclusive of travel expenses. An in-house 1-on-1 course might be 30USD/hour, and the same course at the client's office would be roughly 60USD/hour. Won't mention group rates because that is where it really seems to differ, but still roughly double the in-house price (in Bangkok).

In Yangon, according to the BC website for example, it's 5166 kyats per student per hour for an in-house General English class (16 student max). 16 students x 5166 kyats = 82,666 kyats in total per hour for the group. Please correct me if I'm wrong or if the BC is unique with such a per student pricing structure for groups.

In Yangon, what might the relative adjustment be or how might the price differ for the same 16 student GE group to study at the client's office? Realise you don't have exact figures. The BC is just an example, but just something relative, such as 10% more, or as in Bangkok, double the in-house price, or maybe it's the same as the in-house price plus travel expenses. Not looking at this from the teacher's rate perspective, but what the BC, for example, would charge a corporate client to study in that client's office, given the example in-house base figures from their website to extrapolate from.

Any thoughts or insight would be greatly appreciated if I haven't worn out my welcome with my housing inquisition (rant) from the other thread.

Thank you.
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Saya



Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the BC are unique, as you say, and are the most prestigious language school offering corporate classes here.

to be honest, I don't really know much about the pricing structures for in and out-classes, but I highly doubt in would be twice the price of in house training, especially with other language schools.

For freelance work, it's likely to be a standard price plus travel expenses (and maybe a tiny bit extra)
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mfinna



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Saya, knowing that the freelance rate for an out-service is the standard rate plus travel and maybe a slight increase is helpful for me to know too!
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bazzap1976



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 74

PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:03 pm    Post subject: working without a degree Reply with quote

I'm interested in information about working without a degree, visa information and earnings and savings potential for a frugal spender. I have a TEFL and have been to Myanmar once before. Lovely people. thanks for your help.
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Saya



Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you've got a tefl but not a degree that's not a problem I would imagine. People really need teachers here right now and even though it's bad for the profession, anyone can get a job teaching. With a TEFL, you'll stand an even better chance.

Visas are easy to get, all you need is a letter from the school and you can even sort it all out before you enter the country.

It is getting harder to save money. But when a filling street meal (or low budget restaurant is 1-2 dollars, it can be easy if you are thrifty. Taxis are becoming a big expense and a headache due to rising traffic, so it's good to live fairly close to where you work.

Earnings can range from 10-20/hour or full time work usually starts at a 1000/month rising to 1500-1800 for more prestigious language schools. International schools pay anything from 2000-3000 (pus lots of added extras).


This FB group is good fr making connections if you want to share an apartment or just get some more info. https://www.facebook.com/groups/307122865994971/

you can also check here for current jobs..MOD EDIT
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mfinna



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 32
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Saya,

Recently read in the newspaper that foreigners with valid Myanmar visas can now enter Myanmar through a few land border crossings (Mae Sai -Tachilek, Mae Sot, and Ranong) for what sounds like unrestricted onward travel to Yangon and throughout Myanmar.

My question relates to these 70-day trips out of the country we all have to make. Currently have a 6-month visa, so no need to get a new visa, just leave Myanmar and come back in. Before reading this article, it seemed leaving the country by air was the only option. Do you know or have you heard anything about us foreign workers exiting Myanmar by land via, say, Tachilek, to Mae Sai in Thailand, then immediately (same day) coming right back in order to reset the 70-day clock again? With this recent change, it sure would make these 70-day visa runs cheaper and less of a hassle.

The article was just published a few days ago, but it sounds official.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/366962/myanmar-visa-holders-can-enter-the-country-via-land-border

Thanks for your continued input Smile
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Saya



Joined: 16 Jun 2013
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well from what I can gather, it seems like it would be possible, though at the moment everyone I know is waiting for a test subject to try it out. when it comes to Myanmar border issues, nothing is certain.

There is a thai company called Hongsawadee travel and tours who are offering Yangon-bangkok tours by rented car, I've asked them if they will do a borer run, but so far no response, will keep the situation updated here.
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simon44



Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

The companies that advertise seem to favor (not demand) British English and education systems. Are there a lot of American or neutral English jobs there?


Just to comment that I taught in 2012 at schools/vocational colleges in Yangon which were using a U.S. (California) curriculum and textbooks.

Both of those institutions have now changed over to teaching British curriculum.

I'm about to return to work in Myanmar with an international school that has also recently changed from U.S. to U.K. curriculum.

Make of that what you may Smile

Simon
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