Bhutan Photo of the Week: Festivals

Tsechu are annual religious Bhutanese festivals held in each dzongkhag of Bhutan and act as large social gatherings. The Drametse Ngacham (Dance of the drums of Drametse) in Mongar Province is a particularly beautiful festival.

Huge thanks to Maureen de Camp who captured this photo in December 2011.

Keep the photos coming! Email us at info@bhutancanada.org with your pictures and credit information.

Applications to teach in Bhutan in 2013 open May 1st. Apply online at www.teachinbhutan.org.

Teacher Interview: Keira Loukes, Part II

Keira (fifth from the left) and the BCF Class of 2010

Part II of BCF’s interview with Keira Loukes. Keira recently returned from Bhutan having spent two years teaching at Phuyum Higher Secondary School in Lhuentse.

BCF: Having spent two years in Bhutan, what do you think will be your most enduring memory of your time in the field?

This one is easy – being surrounded by a loving community. Especially the students. Really. Now that I’ve been away, all of the difficulties and frustrations that come with living and teaching in a totally foreign community go away. I remember how generous and kind my students were – this is the image etched in my retinas. I was always so taken care of.

BCF: What was the most challenging aspect of living in Bhutan?

Emotional isolation. I said before that I was surrounded by a loving community, and I had many very close Bhutanese friends, but still, we sometimes feel alone just because we often carry some different values and ideas. We face different difficulties than our Bhutanese colleagues. It was good to have other BCF teachers to be in contact with while we were over there.

The other challenge was of course teaching in a system that we didn’t understand at first. As we come from a different culture, we need to be perceptive and figure out what things could be changed in the school, and what things shouldn’t be. There are some things that we should definitely not change. Figuring this out was a big challenge, but an important one to tease apart.

BCF: How does it feel to be back in Canada?

Overall, it is definitely great to reconnect with those people who I missed so much while overseas. Overwhelmingly, people have been incredibly supportive of me, and have tried to help me in whatever way they can.

However, it does feel different, and I have been a bit shaky in getting on solid footing. Having been immersed in a very different culture for two years, it’s not easy to get back into North American life, nor do I necessarily want to. It is great to reconnect with friends and family, but we come to realize how busy everyone has been here, and that their lives may have taken them on many different pathways. Also, for me, returning meant looking for a job that can pay off my student loans and a place to stay. It’s a little bit stressful in that regard.

The other difficult thing is trying to understand everything that has changed since I’ve been gone. Friends are all over the place, or married, or working on building stacks of degrees on their desks. When we are in Bhutan, we understand that our lives are not the same as our colleagues. But when we come home, we can’t quite understand why our lives are so different from our friends. Also, while teaching and traveling, we run into other North Americans who have similar ideologies, life goals and values. We feel like we can relate to those people best. When we come home, it is difficult to find those people who share those common ideas. It can feel a bit lonely and isolating. However, this all depends on where you land.

 

I’ve been back for 7 weeks now, so maybe my experience will change after a few more! I did miss Canada, and the spring is certainly more inviting!

Applications to teach in Bhutan in 2013 open May 1st. Apply online at www.teachinbhutan.org

Interested in Teaching in Bhutan? Join our Information Session!

Interested in living and teaching in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan but have some questions that need answering? Join us to learn how you can work in an education system that is in the midst of an exciting and innovative transformation in a country virtually untouched by the modern world.

On Tuesday May 22nd at 6:00pm EST, BCF will be hosting an online webinar to answer all your questions. From finances to the application process, from accommodations to curriculum, this interactive information session will allow participants to ask their questions and get all the details needed to prepare for this unique opportunity.

If you’re interested in teaching in Bhutan in 2013, this is the perfect chance to learn more!

RSVP by Friday May 18th to jenna@bhutancanada.org.

The opening of recruitment 2012 is one week away!

The count down to the opening of recruitment 2012 has officially begun! In one week, on May 1st, we will begin accepting applications for the BCF Class of 2013. 

 
Who we are looking for:
  • Qualified teachers with either a) Degree in Education; b) Three full-time years of relevant classroom teaching experience; c) Teacher certification (provincial, state, or equivalent)
  • Native English speakers
  • Ages 21 – 59
  • Primary, elementary, and high school math, science, English and special education specialists. 
  • Adaptable and enthusiastic adventurers who are looking to make a difference!

If you think that you fit the bill, check out our website Teach in Bhutan on May 1st to apply!

Time line of events:

May 1: Application opens
June thru August: Interviews to be held in Toronto and via Skype.
End of August: Successful candidates are presented to the Ministry of Education in Bhutan.
October 1: Ministry of Education approvals are finalized. Successful teachers are given offer of employment.
January 20, 2013: Class of 2013 arrives in Bhutan!

Travel a world away. Make a world of difference. Teach in Bhutan!

Become a Billet Family!

The first Bhutanese Student Scholars, Gaki and Yeshi.

Over the past two years, in conjunction with Blyth Education, The Bhutan Canada Foundation has had the pleasure of hosting two Bhutanese students, Gaki and Yeshi, as they completed their high school education at Blyth Academy Yorkville. It has been a wonderful and memorable experience for all involved and it saddens us to see both students head back home but we are very excited to see what their futures have in store.

In September 2012, we will be continuing this program, offering the opportunity for two new Bhutanese students to live and study in Toronto and we need your help!

The Student Scholar program is made possible in part through the generosity of billet families who are willing to provide room and board for these students. This is a wonderful opportunity for all involved, to learn new cultures and create lasting friendships, while making a huge impact on these young students.

Are you interested in billeting Bhutanese students studying in Toronto? Click here to find out more.

Teacher Blog of the Week: The Chili Conundrum

The excitement and challenges of travelling and living in a new place can be witnessed in adapting to the unique cuisine that the region has to offer. It can take some time to adjust, but once you do, you’ll never look back!
Photo Credit: Sarah.
Now a little bit about me; as my family and friends will attest, I have never been one to really enjoy spicy food. Don’t get me wrong, I am somewhat of an adventurous eater, and am willing to try anything, but have always gravitated to the minimal spice level of things on the menu…When I found out I was coming to Bhutan, I started to force myself to eat food that was spicier, to try and prepare myself for my diet here…And as fun as all of my preparations were, I knew deep down that nothing could really prepare me for the Bhutanese cuisine, and I was right.
See how well Sarah has adapted and excelled in the joys of Bhutanese cooking in The Chili Conundrum.

Seeking Lecturers: Institute of Language and Culture Studies

View of ILCS, Trongsa

The Institute of Language and Culture Studies in Bhutan is seeking lecturers for their English Department. Year-long contracts would begin July 2012. More information as well as instructions on how to apply are below. For more information contact: ilcs@druknet.bt.

Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS)
Royal University of Bhutan
Taktse, Trongsa: Bhutan

Terms of Reference for Faculty


Institute Background
The Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS) is Bhutan’s foremost center for preserving and promoting the national language (Dzongkha) and Bhutanese culture. The institute is now situated in a new campus in the remote and scenic Trongsa district, a half-day drive from the capital.

General Information about the Vacancy
The Institute of Language and Culture Studies (ILCS), a part of the Royal University of Bhutan, is looking for Lecturers for their English Department. Opportunities for these year-long contracts begin in July, 2012.

Duties/Responsibilities

  • Plan, teach and assess EAP classes (B.A. level) for the English department.
  • Provide students with opportunities (inside and outside of class) to practice academic writing, learn about APA citation and referencing norms, gain academic skills, and improve their confidence in using the English language in formal and academic settings.
  • Coordinate extra-curricular activities on occasion.
  • Participate in staff/institute meetings, initiatives and functions.
  • Additional responsibilities commensurate with candidate’s level of experience and qualifications upon agreement with the ILCS Director.
Required Qualifications
  • M.A. in TESOL or closely-related field required (PhD in related field desired.)
  • Relevant Experience that demonstrates a record of success and professionalism.
  • Flexibility and willingness to adapt to unexpected situations and sudden changes in a professional manner.
  • Ability to work well with and perhaps mentor colleagues.
  • Interest in preservation of languages/cultures and Bhutanese culture.
Compensations and Entitlements

The Institute of Language and Culture Studies will provide hired lecturers:

  • A local salary which should cover all living costs (approximately US$ 700-750 per month.)
  • No housing is provided but the college can help find a place to stay which would cost around US$ 100-125 per month. Taktse is a small community which is 23 kms away from the District town. It is a newly built college. Infrastructures are new. Location is quite interesting, overlooking the black mountain range and the communities at the base of the range.
  • Basic facilities for teaching/learning purposes
  • Assistance in obtaining all paperwork needed for work in Bhutan
  • 2 months of vacation in a year as per institute norms.
  • Assistance in finding suitable and affordable accommodation.
  • Access to Bhutan’s national health care system in the case of any illness or accident (evacuation insurance not required but recommended in case of any serious incident.)

All other expenses will be the responsibility of the lecturer, and working conditions will be the same as those of regular faculty members of ILCS. Note that the new campus of ILCS is still under construction, and while it is improving every day, one can expect a degree of challenge in living & working conditions. The position also gives lecturers unprecedented access to learning about Bhutanese culture/ languages, and, of course, to see stunning scenery and sites around the country.

Application Deadline and Contact Information

May 1, 2012


Lopen Lungtaen Gyatso, Director


Email:  ilcs@druknet.bt


Tel:      +975 7 260299 (Office).

All interested applicants may kindly contact the aforementioned at the earliest possible. We look forward to work with you.

Teacher Blog of the Week: First Day of School

For this rendition of Blog of the Week, we wanted to hi-light Sabrina’s take on her first day of school. All of our teachers are constantly wondering what actually teaching in Bhutan will feel like and what surprises are in store.

Photo Credit: Sabrina Soares.

“The months of anticipation leading to this day felt like the longest roller coaster ride of thrilling emotions.  Therefore, I was beyond ready to discover what exactly I had signed up for or what my life would look like for the next year.”

To continue reading, First Day Of School In Bhutan.

Student Travel to Bhutan: An Interview

In 2010, The Bhutan Canada Foundation had the pleasure of running a March Break community service trip to Bhutan in association with Blyth Education. Brittany Chan, a participant on this trip, was happy to lend us her time to speak to her experience.

March Break in Bhutan!
1. How did you learn about Bhutan? What inspired you to travel there?
Learning about Bhutan was actually all about chance for me. I was looking for a mix of study abroad and a high school course I was interested in and I landed on a program that would take me to Bhutan during March Break. It took very little convincing, if any at all, for me to go. With just a little knowledge of Bhutan and my own desires to travel, Bhutan was an obvious choice for me.
2. Bhutan has a very unique culture and interesting customs, what did you find most fascinating, or what shocked you most?
I think the most fascinating thing was the magnitude of the Bhutanese people’s hospitality and kindness. Although many other cultures around the world are also very hospitable and kind, the Bhutanese hospitality and general happiness radiates and is quite frankly, unique. There’s a mix of humility and wonder that the Bhutanese people possess that makes each person incredibly approachable. I don’t remember meeting one person in Bhutan who wasn’t genuinely kind.
3. You got to teach and work one-on-one with students in Bhutanese schools, what did you learn from these students?
The children I worked with in Bhutan were incredibly responsive and enthusiastic. Even though they didn’t have the state of the arts equipment and programs that students in the “First-World” have, they were always really interested in learning. On top of that, they weren’t only interested about academic or scholarly learning, but they were also interested in learning about us, as foreigners, and the places we were from.
4. What would you say to other students considering traveling to Bhutan?
Don’t think twice about going to Bhutan. If the opportunity presents itself, it will be an experience you’ll never forget. Go there with an open mind, and the Bhutanese will definitely teach you something about being happy.
Thanks for sharing!