By Sydney Falchook
Junior May Hlaing will be spending the summer with her grandparents. Her grandparents do not have a beach house a couple of hours away or a couple of towns over. They do, however, have a home located over 8,000 miles from New York in Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia.
This will be Hlaing’s first time visiting Myanmar since she was one year old. Her plans originally included sightseeing and spending time with family. Her plan, however, quickly changed when her father announced some news.
“My dad told me that a friend of his had established an English school in one of the provinces and needed teachers,” Hlaing said. She quickly seized the opportunity and offered to help.
For two weeks, Hlaing will be teaching students English. The school, Yenan English School, teaches students whose primary language is Burmese.
Throughout the vacation, Hlaing will also be touring around the cities of Mogok and Taunggyi, where her parents grew up.
Most students who participate in summer programs travel with a group; however, Hlaing is going alone.“By traveling alone, I hope to gain a sense of independence,” she said.
A journey to Myanmar is not something experienced by most. When traveling to a foreign country, there is an exchange of customs and ways. The experience also allows for recognition of one’s own beliefs. Hlaing said, “I hope that by going back to Myanmar this summer, I can learn some more about my own culture.”