While visiting Burma (Myanmar) students signed up to participate in a one-day, impact field program that would visit the Phayangyi Mingular Monastery, an orphanage school located in the Twante Town¬≠ship, just outside of Yan¬≠gon.
Here, Semester at Sea students and children from the monastery met each other with waves, smiles, excitement and curiosity. Even though there was no shared common language, there was definitely no lack of interaction.
The young girls and boys at the monastery were quick to jump into games and crafts with the SAS students. From a game similar to ‚Äúduck, duck, goose‚Äù, to absolutely new, unheard of games (for the SAS students that is), enthusiasm and joy was present among every person in attendance.
As the boys chose to play ball games outside, the girls opted to stay indoors to braid hair and face paint with thanaka, a type of cosmetic cream found in Burma made from ground tree bark to protect against heat and sunburn.
After leaving the Phayangyi Mingular Monastery, University of Arizona student, Shannon Graves, reflected on her experience, ‚ÄúI was overwhelmed with emotions, knowing these children don‚Äôt have parents to go home to at the end of the day. But I also felt great happiness, knowing these young children were left in good hands, and that not only was I able to make a positive impact on their lives, but they greatly impacted mine forever, through the tremendous laughter, smiles, and new friendships created. Everyone was so involved in interacting with the kids and allowing the girls to braid our hair and put clay on our faces, it was about making a difference in each others day.‚Äù
Logan Weiss, also from the University of Arizona, shared her experience, ‚ÄúMy time at the orphanage school in Burma hit me on deep level. I created such strong connections with the young girls, and felt their age was a big factor in the sense that they were old enough to interact with us, have fun, and even though they spoke a different language, we were still able to have a good time by playing games and making new friendships.‚Äù
It is often said that Laughter is a universal language ‚Äì¬† there is absolute evidence to the truth of this statement, found that day in Burma at the Phayangyi Mingular Monastery.
Semester at Sea offers a number of impact programs in every country in an effort to give students an opportunity to learn a ‚Äúgreater understanding of global issues and to create an understanding of a community, its people, culture, history, and challenges‚Äù.