Photo by Alexander Weisman, Student.

Myanmar

Visions of Democracy

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
31 Days
Description

Explore one of Asia’s most diverse countries: learn the tenets of Theravada Buddhism, build core competencies in learning service, hike between the serene villages of Shan State.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 28, 2021


Suggested Ages

17-20

Number of Participants

12


Availability

Open

Begins In

51 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,650


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,135

Mandalay

Bagan

Kalaw

Yangon

Mawlamyine

Program Overview

Transition. Inspiration. Devotion.


Myanmar is a nation of warmth, beauty, and complexity, and despite past unrest, there has never been a more important time to be supporting genuine exchanges between travelers and local communities.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
  • Participate in a community driven learning service project gaining skills in adobe house building and seasonal farming.
  • Stay in a small Theravada Bhuddist monastery for three nights and participate in  guided meditation sessions and Dhamma talks with resident monks. 
  • Bike around ancient Bagan, a newly awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site, to understand Myanmar’s complex history and current political state.
  • Meet with local and international activists in Yangon working…

Myanmar is a nation of warmth, beauty, and complexity, and despite past unrest, there has never been a more important time to be supporting genuine exchanges between travelers and local communities.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
  • Participate in a community driven learning service project gaining skills in adobe house building and seasonal farming.
  • Stay in a small Theravada Bhuddist monastery for three nights and participate in  guided meditation sessions and Dhamma talks with resident monks. 
  • Bike around ancient Bagan, a newly awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site, to understand Myanmar’s complex history and current political state.
  • Meet with local and international activists in Yangon working on conflict, gender, human rights, education and conservation.

Through engagements with development professionals, activists, NGOs, and local people, we uncover significant pieces of Myanmar’s puzzle. Our journey begins in Bagan, where we watch the sunrise over the majestic Irrawaddy River and then cycle among golden spired temples in a vast complex of ancient pagodas.

Next we travel to Sagaing, the spiritual heart of Myanmar and center of the country’s Buddhist faith. We come to rest in one of the 500 monasteries scattered over the hills, and delve into Buddhist learning alongside local practitioners while also assisting on a community-driven service project.

Pressing east, we arrive at Kalaw and enjoy a day-long village to village trek through the unforgettable patchwork fields of Shan State before arriving at our rural homestay community. Here we sleep in stilted houses, learn from village elders and youth alike, and help out on the seasonal harvests.

From here, some groups choose to travel to Naypyidaw to learn about the transition from a military state; others venture into the Irrawaddy Delta to discover how local farmers are creatively dealing with water scarcity.

Concluding the course in Yangon, we wander among one of the most striking Buddhist stupas in the world and get a glimpse of the bustling former colonial capital through the eyes of young politicians, activists, and artists.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

4/5
Comparative Religion

Learn insight meditation and gain exposure into one of the most traditionally Buddhist nations in the world.

5/5
Development Studies

Multiple meetings with people in fields such as: human rights, conflict, environmental protection, gender, LGBTQIA+, water resource development etc. Offers a critical and close look at contemporary and long-term development in a sanctioned country.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Ethnic Minority Issues, Community-Based Development, Environmental Protection/Conservation.

2/5
Homestay

Staying with local ethnic minority families while completing easy to medium grade hikes in Shan/Kachin State.

1/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Exposure to many fields with independent time for individual on-ground research/interviews on a topic of choice.

2/5
Language Study

Basic and introductory Burmese. Classes during the first two weeks, optional learning afterward.

4/5
Learning Service

Approximately 10 hours of service credit earned through a combination of education (monastic school), rural development, and environmental awareness/conservation. Learning service activities may include: building adobe houses, harvesting bamboo and other seasonal crops, participating in language exchange and assisting tree planting projects.

5/5
Rugged Travel

Buses, trains, bicycles, tri-shaws, possibly boats. Expect older vehicles on pothole roads, wooden benches on daylong trains.

2/5
Trekking

Day hikes and potential for multi-day hikes (weather depending).