Burma: It's a Small World
By Julia Hursh
In Myanmar I decided to travel with 3 other friends to an area less
populated by Semester at Sea students, or anyone for that matter. I got
off the ship and headed to the airport. My friends and I bought flights
to Ngapali Beach for only about 65 USD. We had already booked a hotel
called the Bayview Beach Resort and were pleased to find our hotel
concierge waiting for us at the airport when we arrived. We got to
talking and it turns out the hotel we were staying in was co-owned by
Germans and Burmese. The man who picked us up at the airport was German
and had moved to Myanmar about one year prior to work for the hotel. I
asked if his move was temporary and he said no. He said he would stay
there as long as he didn’t miss his home in Germany. It turns out the
hotel was run by mostly Germans who had migrated for work.
It was nice to stay at a place with very few people around us. There
was a tiny village nearby that we rode bicycles around to explore the
local culture, but otherwise the area was very remote. Which is why it
was very shocking to hear someone yell hello in perfect English to us.
As we looked over at the bar where it was coming from it turns out it
was a woman who attended college with Jered, one of my travel friends.
She was from Seattle and they had been in the same photography class
about 3 years prior. We went over to socialize with our fellow American
friends. It turns out she had moved to Myanmar to teach English for a
year but ended up meeting a Burmese man, got married and decided to
stay and live there for longer. She said she would like to eventually
go back to the U.S. but she was happy and content with her situation in
Yangon, where she resided.
I was shocked to find so many signs of migration in the tiny beach town
in Myanmar. I was traveling away from the big city to relax and explore
a different side of the country, yet I found more signs of migration
there than anywhere else I visited in the country! All of the readings
assigned for class mentioned that Myanmar is a migrant sending country,
not a migrant receiving country. According to the article Migrant
Domestic Workers: from Burma to Thailand millions of people have left
Myanmar for Thailand because of conflict, militarization, and minority
persecution. It was interesting to find a flow of migration into
Myanmar from both Germany and the U.S.