Alumni Tour to Myanmar (Burma): A VIA civil society and development tour
The "Discover Burma" Tour will take place in the summer of 2013, June 15 - 29. As part of VIA's 50th Anniversary Celebration, VIA will be leading special anniversary tours in the countries where VIA works. Alumni and friends of VIA are invited to join! Please see below for more details:
Experiencing Southeast Asia’s “no-longer-hidden” country
||There is an Asian nation that has:
- More than 54 million people
- A rich cultural heritage, including Bagan, an area with over 2000 temples and pagodas built 800 years ago
- A wide diversity of people and cultures—from the majority population (Burmans) to Chinese, Indians and many local ethnic groups
- Has had very limited contact with the larger world for many years
Dates: June 15 to June 29, 2013
Cost: (Estimated) $3,350, excluding airfare. This price includes a non-refundable donation to VIA.
Leadership: The program will be led by Tim Clark (Indo '72), who has been involved with several previous trips. VIA founder Dwight Clark (who visits Burma 3-5 times a year) will join the trip for three days in Yangon.
Information and applications: Contact Tim Clark at
. Download the application packet here. Check out the full itinerary here. The application deadline is April 8, 2013.
Despite its attractions, this nation is understood and visited by very few people. Traditionally called Burma, it was re-named Myanmar by its present government. It offers the visitor—and especially any interested student of world affairs—a fascinating exploration of culture, development, ethnic diversity and important questions of economics and politics.
Participants will experience some of Myanmar’s most important places, but the true advantage of this program is its emphasis on people. In a country whose government has discouraged close contact between foreigners and its citizens, participants will meet a wide range of people:
- Our guides in Yangon will be students of the Pre-Collegiate Program, which helps promising high school grads hone their critical thinking and English skills to win admission to U.S. universities. VIA has had a volunteer at PCP for five years, and we'll meet the current vols in Yangon.
- We’ll visit three homes (something rarely done by foreigners): the Yangon home of one of our student guides, the home of one of the students of a Mandalay English tutoring school and the home of an artisan in Bagan.
- We'll visit the Paung Daw Oo school, which offers K-12 classes for 6,000 students - without tuition. Buddhist monk and founder U Nayaka is the charismatic man behind this endeavor.
- From Mandalay, we float down the famed Irrawaddy River to see the shrines and temples of Bagan, then to Inle Lake (the setting for the Amy Tan novel 'Saving FIsh from Drowning') to explore the floating villages or trek through the hill villages.
You can read an account from the 2012 Myanmar (Burma) Tour here, and the 2009 Myanmar (Burma) Tour here.
Alumni Tour: Experience Vietnam on a VIA study program
Dates: May 28 - June 9, 2013
Cost: $3,250 per person, which includes transportation in Vietnam, lodging, most meals and guide services. The program fee does not include: trans-Pacific airfare, passport and visa costs, or travel/medical insurance. The program fee includes a $1,000 tax-deductible contribution to VIA - payable as part of a non-refundable $1,300 deposit. Avia Travel Agency will work with participants to book economical trans-Pacific air travel. Lodging is at centrally located, 3-star hotels. Supplement for single-occupancy rooms = $370. If the trip is oversubscribed beyond 20-25 participants, VIA will maintain a waiting list.
Leadership: Peter Zinoman, Assoc. Professor of SE Asian history at UC Berkeley, was in the first group of VIA volunteers in Vietnam after the war. He will provide historical context and explanation based on years of travel/research in Vietnam. With a large network of contacts, Peter provides access to a Vietnam that most tourists never see.
Information and applications: Contact Mia Clark (VIA '72) at
. Download application packet here.
Highlights of the Vietnam trip include the opportunity to travel with a Vietnam scholar who will share his extensive understanding of the country, the chance to meet current VIA volunteers, and the opportunity to visit homes, NGOs and universities to learn about social changes in Vietnam. The trip includes visits to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Can Tho, Cao Dai and the Cu Chi Tunnels, and Ho Chi Minh City.