MA IDS Thesis Projects


English Language Education as Tool for Empowerment Among Ethnic Burmese Migrants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis


College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences


International Development and Service

Degree Name

International Development and Service, MA


Burma has a history of internal unrest between the Burmese National Army and its multitude of ethnic groups. Many members of these ethnic groups have endured horrifying adversities and have sought refuge in Thailand. However, due to Thailand’s legal policies dealing with migrants and refugees, many Burmese individuals who immigrate to Thailand still face hardships concerning legal status as well as discrimination. Fortunately there are nongovernmental organizations that work to provide services, such as English language education programs for ethnic Burmese migrants. English language education has the potential to play a large role in the lives of these migrants by providing them with the opportunity to become empowered. The goal of this research is to determine how English courses have affected the development of empowerment among ethnic Burmese migrants living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 14 ethnic Burmese migrants who have experience with English language education programs in Chiang Mai. English language education was found to be a tool for empowerment because the English language skills the students acquire from English class contribute to their knowledge, which positively impacts empowerment.

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