Until recently, Myanmar (or Burma, as it is also known) was off limits to most due to travel restrictions. Since it opened its doors it now welcomes millions of visitors every year who are intrigued to finally explore this hidden gem in Southeast Asia. It’s a country economically on the rise, with increasing opportunities for EFL teachers.
Myanmar has a tumultuous political history. Since 1949 the country has been engaged in the world’s longest-running civil war and certain areas of the country still remain unsafe for foreigners due to ongoing conflict. Make sure to always check FCO advice before making travel plans. That being said, tourism in the country is booming and away from the troubled border regions in the north, Myanmar is a safe country for EFL teachers to work in. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office states that the majority of visits to the country are trouble-free, with most consular assistance given to those who have lost passports.
TEFL Org graduates who have gone on to teach English in Myanmar report eager and well-behaved students, friendly and welcoming local people, good salaries, and very low living costs. Largely untouched by Western influence and lacking in infrastructure, it’s a country that offers more of an “off the beaten track” experience for EFL teachers. If this sounds right up your street keep reading to find out more about teaching English in Myanmar!
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs in Myanmar: Yangon, NayPyiDaw, and Tachileik
- Average salary for EFL teachers in Myanmar: 2,000,000 to 3,700,000 MMK per month (approx £1,100 – 1,900 per month)
- TEFL qualification requirements:At least a 120-hour TEFL qualification from an accredited provider.
- Prerequisite university degree:A BA degree is a visa requirement.
- Peak recruitment months:Year-round
- Currency: Burmese kyat (MMK)
- Language: Burmese
- Age restrictions:Upper age limit of 62
- Previous teaching experience:1 year experience generally preferred, but there are entry-level positions to be found.
- Accommodation: £264 – £497 per month. Accommodation is often included with TEFL jobs in Myanmar.
- Utilities: Around £30 per month
- Health insurance: Typically provided as part of your teaching contract
- Monthly transport pass: £12
- Basic dinner out for two: £17
- Cappuccino in expat area: £1.72
- A beer in a pub: £0.86
- 1 litre of milk: £1.07
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £0.70
On a typical teaching salary, EFL teachers in Myanmar can live comfortably and even put money into savings each month. Many employers will offer accommodation as part of your contract, but not all. Yangon is the most expensive city to live in, and rent can be very high compared to other parts of the country, so it’s best to secure a teaching contract here with accommodation included.
Eating local cuisine is cheap but you’ll find that Western food is relatively expensive. Burmese cuisine is a mixture of influences from Southeast Asian, Indian, and Chinese food. Some foods to try in Myanmar include the popular lephet, which is a salad of fermented tea leaves, mohinga (the unofficial national dish), curries, samosas, and noodle dishes. The cuisine in Myanmar has a reputation for being a bit oily and not being of the standard of neighbouring countries like Thailand, but there are certainly great culinary experiences to be found!
TEFL teachers can spend their weekends off exploring. Getting around the county is easy and affordable and with more areas opening up to foreigners there are plenty of adventures to be had.
Finding a Job
Until only a few years ago there were very few opportunities to be found teaching English in Myanmar. The opening up of the country and a more pro-Western attitude means EFL teachers in Myanmar are in increasing demand. You can secure well-paid work with benefits even without previous teaching experience. As long as you have a TEFL qualification and a university degree you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding work.
The majority of jobs in Myanmar are in private language schools and public schools teaching young learners. However, there are a wide range of jobs to be found – particularly for those with some teaching experience. Jobs can be secured before arriving in the country but it’s also possible to find work on the ground and switch to a business visa once you’ve secured work and have a sponsorship letter from an employer.
It should be noted that there is currently a lack of adequate infrastructure in Myanmar, although this is continually improving. It does mean that there can be issues with electricity cutting out and poor internet connection, as well as housing. It’s recommended to find a job that includes accommodation as much of the rental housing available is poor and expensive, as the market has not been able to keep up with the rise in visitors and workers to the country.
TEFL Org students have lifetime access to our exclusive TEFL Jobs Centre, where you can find TEFL jobs in Myanmar, along with other positions worldwide. You can also find positions on other jobs boards such as recruit.net, TEFL.com, Dave’s ESL Café, and ESL base.
Student stories from Myanmar
Having taught in Italy, Vietnam and China, Holly decided to take a job in Myanmar. There she fell in love with the friendly people, her enthusiastic students, and the breathtaking scenery.
Myanmar, as a country to travel, is the best. There are many possible ways to travel while keeping to a budget. The night busses connect the country, and if you’re not up for bumpy, long drives there are flights – unfortunately, at a much higher price. The beaches down south are perfect; the waterfalls up north are incredible and everything in between … breathtaking! There is always so much to see and do that your weekends are most likely to get filled up pretty quickly. Especially with more and more areas becoming accessible to foreigners. Each state has its own beauty and locals are eager to share their own unique culture and food with you. The fresh produce at the markets are out of this world (think avocados bigger than your head!).