My life was amazed amidst love and enthusiasm of students. Sharing an experience about a journey to a foreign country is a hot subject for students and youth in Myanmar. From a semester in a U.S. university, which lasted nearly four months, I learned a lot about the culture and the educational system of U.S. and gained many experiences to share back in my country, Myanmar. Since it is my passion that students in Myanmar should be upgraded to a more internationally educated person, I have so far gone to three universities in different states to share and inform students about the Global UGRAD scholarship, along with other available scholarships, as well as how to prepare for them. There I saw the students’ motivation to experience higher education, commitment to learn, thirst for educational opportunities, as well as leadership potentials. Those made me realize how much my country is in need of scholarship-like opportunities to build a better educated and democratic society. It also made me think critically about how to provide those opportunities.
Because of this, I have started teaching English to adults in my small town where educational opportunities are scarce and youth have a hard time learning English, partially due to to financial constraints. Three months ago, I organized 12 students to join intensive English language training combined with my experience in the U.S. higher educational system. I opened their minds that a student’s role is to ask questions when something is not understood, not to be content with what the teacher teaches due to the cultural barrier of respecting the teacher and not asking questions to them. I tried to give insights that while students and teachers have respect, the student should have a chance to ask questions in a humble manner about what they do not understand that is being taught, because I believe it is the best way they can really learn. Questions are part of learning and those can give real learning. I believe that in that way they can gain critical thinking to sail toward a better and adventurous educational journey.
Written by Ye Mo Oo (Myanmar), Global UGRAD 2016-17 at Saginaw Valley State University