Benefits and Health

What type of benefits will I receive?

In addition to salary, teachers receive health insurance, yearly flights to your home of record, full financial support for business visa and full housing benefits for ISM contracted housing.

How much cash should we bring with us?

Internationally networked ATMs and usage for shopping is available in Myanmar. However, it is still very much a cash-based society so it is advised that you bring about $1,000/person cash to start out with as spending money. Although Yangon is changing, most household items are still relatively inexpensive and ISM apartments are fully furnished, so it shouldn't take too much money to get settled.

You should bring either $100 U.S. Dollar bills or 100 Euro bill in a brand new crisp, unfolded and unblemished state with no tears or crease. The exchange rate is less on small denomination bills and only perfect money is accepted. The government asks you to report if you are bringing more than USD $2,000 equivalent in foreign currency.

What type of shipping allowance and airfare does the school provide?

The school will reimburse teachers for one-way airfare to Yangon from the International Airport nearest to your home of record and then will provide return airfare at the end of each school year. A summer travel allowance is provided in between contract years. As ISM apartments are fully furnished the school does not provide a shipping allowance. However, ISM gives all new staff a Settling in Allowance in Kyats which is handed to you when you arrive.

What is the length of contract?

Initial contract is 2 years. Renewal contracts are typically one year but sometimes a two year contract will be offered.

What about health insurance?

The school pays for TIE Care Basic Health Insurance. The ISM insurance policy has a $500 deductible. After the deductible is met, you pay a 15% copay on health treatments and 30% on covered outpatient prescriptions. Prescriptions can generally be filled at a reasonable price in Yangon. This basic insurance policy will cover medical care in all but a few countries and is not accepted in the US or Canada. If a teacher chooses to upgrade their policy to include emergency care in the US and Canada, the teacher will need to pay the difference. There is also an option of getting full coverage in the US and Canada but many teachers find it cost prohibitive.

What if I get sick?

Health care in Myanmar has improved greatly in recent years with western trained and English speaking medical professionals on Staff at all major hospitals. For major health issues, some people travel to Bangkok or Singapore. Health care in Myanmar is very cheap. Doctor visits for minor illnesses tend to cost around $30. Dentists charge $30 for cleanings. If you have major chronic health problems, Yangon is probably not the place for you.

Please see the TIE Care website and select Provider Directory for a list of preferred health care providers which provide direct billing paperless and cashless service for the health care.

What are some issues I should know about?

There are no McDonald's or Starbucks here which may sound great but be aware that around November you may be getting very tired of Myanmar products. KFC and Korean fast-food Lotteria are both well established and serves burgers, fries and some great fried chicken. There are a number of very good western restaurants and supermarkets are offering a growing selection of products. Most ISM staff get their fill of western fast-food during their trips in Bangkok or other major Asian cities. SIM cards for mobile phones are now no more than about $2.00 and there are three main SIM card providers. There are both monthly telephone and service data plans with many users buing top up cards when the need to add to their account.

ISM will provide the paperwork for you to obtain a single entry Business visa. Once you enter Myanmar, you are given a 70 period during which you can stay in Myanmar. Soon after the beginning of school and before the 70 days expires, ISM will apply to Myanmar immigration to extend your stay in Myanmar via a Multi-Entry visa with a Stay Period valid until the expiration of the visa.

Both the country and the school have seen rapid change over the past few years. There are still occasional issues with electricity and internet connectivity and bandwidth. Teaching tools (data projectors, document cameras, etc.) and resources are fully available It is an exciting time to be in Myanmar.

Will I be able to save money?

Most people do not have trouble saving money in Myanmar. Taxis around town cost between $2 and $4 and it's less if you share with others. Dinners out tend to cost anywhere from $3-$10. There are other restaurants which offer more expensive food but at a good value. A Sunday champagne brunch goes for $25+. Groceries can be very reasonable if you buy fresh products at the markets or more expensive if you are buying more western goods like peanut butter or cereal. Obviously, the amount of money you save depends on the amount of energy you spend saving, but many teachers report saving around 30-40% of their salary while eating out regularly and going on vacations during the breaks.

What are some things I should know about adjusting to life in Yangon?

Some people love Myanmar food, others do not. There are many curries and noodle dishes. Some people say it is like Thai food with less spice and Indian food with a lot more oil. There are a number of good Chinese, Indian, Thai, Korean and Japanese restaurants in Yangon. There are also a number of western restaurants here. Chances are good that you will not go hungry. Chicken, beef, pork and mutton and plenty of fresh seafood available at reasonable prices. For a country that is supposed to be mostly vegetarian, some vegetarians find it harder to get by in restaurants than they expected. Because eating out is so cheap, many people eat out much more than they eat at home.

It is likely that you will find most things that you may need in Yangon, although sometime it may be an exciting challenge. You can expect to enjoy a few hours doing errands. Things do not always happen quickly or easily in Myanmar but the people are very kind and make every effort to see that you find what you need. If you have patience and enjoy a challenge, you will love shopping in Yangon.

The people of Myanmar are incredibly friendly and are optimistic about the future of the country. There is virtually no crime against foreigners, and it is rare to have anyone cause you trouble. There is a saying that if someone is chasing you down the street in Myanmar it's probably because they are trying to return some that you dropped. Theft is the main crime in Myanmar so remember to always secure your valuables.

The American, British and Australian embassies offer club membership to their citizens and/or citizens of other related countries. All of these clubs periodically offer open event activates where all nationalities are welcome. Sporting competitions are offered by all the social clubs in Yangon. Club membership usually requires sponsorship form a formal member and is especially nice for ISM staff with children as a pool, tennis/basketball/volleyball courts and a playing field is available.

There are many western hotels newly constructed which provided for excellent and affordable dining as well as health club memberships with gyms, pools, workout groups as well as sauna and spas treatments