Myanmar Diary Entry#1

Entry 1 John Bowen with students

Professor John Bowen (center, back row) with graduate students at Yadanabon University in Myanmar. Every Monday and Friday, people at Yadanabon wear Myanmar formal wear, Here he wears, for the first time, traditional Myanmar clothing.

CWU Geography Professor John Bowen will be sharing his experiences of living and working abroad in regular dispatches appearing on He and other Wildcats Abroad will be featured in the Spring 2020 issue of Crimson & Black, CWU’s alumni magazine, available in May.

In Myanmar, university students and faculty take off their shoes and socks before entering a classroom (or a teacher’s office). Teaching barefoot is just one of the many differences between the Geography Department at Yadanabon University in Mandalay, Myanmar and my home department at CWU.

I am in Myanmar on a Fulbright grant and will spend the next several months teaching undergraduate and graduate courses here. Fulbright, which is funded by the State Department, is the largest US government international exchange program of its kind and has had strong bipartisan support in the US Congress for more than 60 years.

The program sends US scholars, professionals, students, and others overseas and brings people from other parts of the world to the US. The main purpose is to advance US geopolitical interests by encouraging closer connections between people. In my case, the idea is that the hundreds of students, faculty, and other people I’ll interact with here will learn about the US from me and will gain a more positive view of America. Additionally, I will bring back what I learn to my students at CWU.

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