Quick Contact

Ronald Porter
Director of Service-Learning

Eckerd College
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711


toll-free: 800-456-9009
local: 727-864-7512


Service Learning

Burma: Winter Term '11


View photos from Burma

15 students and Director of Service-Learning Brian MacHarg ventured to Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia and Thailand for Winter Term 2011 where they engaged in community service work with various NGOs. The group spent two days in Bangkok where they met with Ending Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) and also received a briefing from a US Embassy official. They were also able to see some of the cultural sights of the city such as Wat Pho, Chinatown and Khao San Road.

The group left Bangkok for two weeks in Burma. Travelling first to the Irrawaddy Delta region by boat, the group witnessed the resilience and longsuffering of the people still recovering from the devastating effects of 2008's Cyclone Nargis. The Delta is beautiful and the people of the region are some of the most gentle and kind in the world. The group engaged with an organization dedicated to conservation and also the planting of mangroves which offer natural protection against cyclones as well as help with water issues. The group then ventured to the Mt. Popa region in central Burma where the group helped with various agricultural projects.

While travelling and serving, Eckerd students had the chance to witness the lives of ordinary Burmese people and see the majestic sights of an amazing country. The people of Burma struggle under an oppressive military dictatorship and a general feeling of suspicion and secrecy. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, recently released from house arrest stands as an important symbol for the possibility of democracy in the once-prosperous country. After days of serving and visiting with Burmese people, Eckerd students gathered many nights to discuss the events of the day, the value of service and the possibilities for Myanmar.

The group had the opportunity to end the trip with three days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where they worked for New Future for Children, an organization seeking to provide healthy opportunities for orphaned youth. The group painted a wall at the NGO's courtyard and had the chance to meet with the director and staff of the agency.

View photos from Burma

About the Course

WTI-7G Service and Freedom in Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Cambodia

Professor Brian MacHarg

Travel to beautiful and exotic Myanmar (Burma) where issues of justice, freedom and international community service will be explored. Meet with various Non- Governmental Organizations (NGO's) working on social problems that are particularly acute in Southeast Asia – poverty, refugees and human trafficking. Volunteer with various private and public schools in Burma and learn about life in this military regime while doing so. There will be time to explore Bangkok, Thailand, a major city in Southeast Asia, as well as to visit important cultural sites in Burma, such as Rangoon, Bagan, and the Inle lake region. Evaluation will be based on participation at site visit to NGO's as well as written reflective projects.

Joe Michaeloski created this video documenting the Service and Freedom in Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Cambodia 2011 Winter Term course.

Calls for Participation

Academy Prep

Volunteer with Academy Prep

Academy Prep is a unique private middle school program serving 5th through 8th grade students in a low-income area. Students must qualify for need-based scholarships to attend and must have a desire to succeed in a rigorous academic environment. Academy Prep works with students to prepare them for higher education, maintaining relationships with graduates through high school, college, and into their adult lives.

YMCA Reads

Volunteer Mentors Needed

YMCA Reads! is an after-school reading assistance and mentoring program providing opportunities for at-risk and low-income children in kindergarten through third grade to develop the reading skills they need to succeed in school.

Community Action Stops Abuse

Community Action Stops Abuse

It takes a whole community to stop domestic violence. CASA's vision is a community without domestic violence so that home is a safe place.

Edible Peach Patch Project

The Edible Peace Patch Project

The Edible Peace Patch Project is a not for profit organization whose mission is to eliminate poverty as a factor in educational success and diet-related health issues.

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

The mission of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program is to build partnerships to restore and protect Tampa Bay through implementation of a scientifically sound, community-based management plan.