The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Connecting the Mekong through Education and Training is a five-year program activity that enables teachers to better prepare youth for employment in the Lower Mekong countries of Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam through the use of innovative training approaches. USAID works to bridge the gap between the private sector, universities and vocational centers to build up the supply of skilled workers to meet the demands of local businesses. The project partners with local education providers to utilize available technology, online learning and traditional in-person workshops to promote learning and regional networking in targeted Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries in ways that help residents from rural and marginalized areas access educational services.
VIA COMET fellows are trained in a given curriculum that they will then implement and train others at Universities throughout the Mekong region.
In 1980, VIA became one of the first foreign organizations to send American teachers to China after 1949. Since then, our program in China has evolved to combine English-teaching with work at grassroots NGOs focused on community development, health, and education. Posts are available in seven provinces, from urban areas in eastern and southern China to rural locations in central and western China.
- Ouyang Yu (OYY) Experimental Middle School & Dr. C.J. Huang Fellowship Changsha, Hunan
- GETCH, Guangzhou
VIA builds on over 40 years of experience in Indonesia. Our current long-term program includes posts at environmental and community development NGOs, as well as English-teaching positions at universities. Fellows work to improve the English skills of local NGO staff, design and implement community training modules, act as liaisons between staff and international funders, translate project reports, and conduct research.
VIA’s position in Japan is a key part of our strategy to connect our Asia and Silicon Valley Programs. Our fellows are based full-time at a partner school and support the pre-departure and post-program activities for students traveling to programs in the U.S.
Myanmar is in the throes of rapid change, and our Myanmar fellows have the extraordinary opportunity to witness this transformation first-hand. As the political landscape shifts, educational access has never been more important – offering dynamic teaching opportunities at innovative institutions, including a bustling monastery school in Mandalay, a vocational school in the middle of the famous Inle Lake, and several rigorous English-language programs in the country’s lively capital of Yangon.
- Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School (PDO), Mandalay
- Pre-Collegiate Program, Yangon
- Inle Heritage Hospitality Vocational Training Center, Inle Lake
- The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Yangon
VIA’s post in Thailand is in Chiang Mai, where many migrants and refugees from Myanmar have settled. Fellows teach English to Burmese migrant students and design curriculum to meet students’ needs in a rapidly changing region.
VIA began sending volunteers to Vietnam in the early 1960s but paused its program during the Vietnam war. In 1990, five years prior to the resumption of formal relations between the governments of Vietnam and the U.S., VIA was invited to resume sending fellows. Our Vietnam fellows teach English at universities or work at NGOs on anti-trafficking, environmental protection, or community development programs. VIA currently supports fellows at several posts in the Mekong delta.