A warm welcome to one of three returning alumni, Scott Harris! Scott taught Math and Chemistry at Yadi MSS in Mongar for two years and is excited to return.
Scott grew up in a small farming community in Southern Utah. He spent a couple of years in Japan and Alaska. Along with teaching math and chemistry for 2 years at Parowan High school, he worked as a pharmacist for almost 25 years. He has always loved to travel, ride 4-wheelers, hike canyons and mountains, and ride horses. He spent 2011 and 2012 as a math/chemistry teacher in Bhutan, 2013 was spent in Xi’an China as a Math teacher and now he is excited to return to Bhutan and teach again.
Today, we are happy to introduce another adventurous teacher joining our class of 2014! Bret Parrish will be replacing Brick Root at Gaselo HSS in Wangdue and will be teaching English.
Bret Parrish hails from a small town in Texas. Growing up he loved books and basketball above all else, and some things never change. College, at least the first go-around, was truly transformational for Bret, as he majored in Creative Writing and Religious Studies at East Carolina University in North Carolina, and discovered the passions, values, and sense of identity that would steer his course. Bret has studied abroad in Mexico and India, stayed for brief stints in ashrams and communes, and worked odd jobs aplenty to experience the beauty of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. He enjoys altering his state of consciousness with meditation, hatha and laughter yoga, hiking, and dancing. Bret attended Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where he received a Masters of Divinity degree grounded in Buddhist practice and philosophy. Seemingly unable to stop going to school, he picked up his teaching certification in New Mexico last year while teaching high school English on a Native American reservation. Fresh off of experiences that bridge East and West, tradition and modernity, individualism and communalism, Bret feels the pulse of Bhutan in his blood. He is psyched to check the topmost line off his bucket list.
All of us here at the Bhutan Canada Foundation wish everyone a very Happy Holiday season! The BCF Toronto office will be closed from December 25th to January 1st to celebrate the holidays. We are thrilled that in a month’s time, our Class of 2014 will arrive in Bhutan. Can’t wait to hear about all their adventures and experiences that lie ahead in the New Year!
We are happy to introduce you to new BCF teacher Carmelita Realeza, who we had the pleasure of greeting at our annual BCF celebration! Carmelitawill be teaching English at Kanglung PS in Trashigang.
Carmelita Realeza was born in the Philippines, but immigrated to Toronto, Canada with her mother and 4 siblings at the age of six. She enjoys cooking and baking, watching movies, listening to 80’s music, and travelling. She began her first overseas experience teaching ESL in South Korea. In teacher’s college, she chose to do her alternative practicum in Mexico, which helped solidify her decision to teach abroad. In 2011, after graduating from Queen’s University with a B.Ed., she spent two years teaching Grade 5 in Mongolia. During her time there, she also volunteered at a local “ger” district and an orphanage. She recently spent 3 months in Peru, helping with an after school program in Cusco. She is very excited to teach in Bhutan, and is looking forward to learning from the people and exploring the culture there.
So many introductions of so many wonderful and passionate teachers! One of these adventurous educators is Kevin Kilkuskie who will be teaching English at Bidung LSS in Trashigang.
Kevin enjoyed American University so much that he stayed straight on through graduate school. After some explorative dabbling in long-distance hiking, farming, intentional community and living history programming, he settled down teaching many different classes underneath the Humanities umbrella to youth aged 16-24 in an alternative/adult public charter school in Washington, DC. He is very excited to learn in a “traditional” school and with an age group much younger than his average student previously. Kevin knew Bhutan was the right choice when he found it creeping into his thoughts weekly over a year after he first heard of the amazing Bhutan Canada Foundation.
The school year in Bhutan has come to a close and many BCF teachers have taken the time before flying home to travel throughout Bhutan and experience all that this spectacular country has to offer. BCF teacher Andrea and her family had the opportunity to travel through Eastern Bhutan, where temperatures are more mild this time of year.
Photo Credits: Andrea Chisholm
“It’s all a bit poetical, but honestly it was exhilarating to see and feel things we haven’t for nearly a year in our home in the high mountains. It feels like we’ve entered a new country, and yet this is just another side to Bhutan and we feel very fortunate to get the chance to experience it as our days here run out.” – Andrea
Introducing new BCF teacher Ashley Lenzen! Ashley will be joined by her husband Mike, and will be the first BCF teacher at Nangkhor HSS in Pemagatshel where she will be teaching Maths.
Ashley grew up as a prairie girl in small town Saskatchewan, Canada. She always had a passion for teaching and convocated from the University of Regina with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Science (mathematics) in 2007. She spent four years teaching high school math full-time before taking two years off to backpack the world. She saw 19 countries in 21 months and fell hopelessly in love with travel. Ashley is at home in the classroom, and loves hiking, scuba diving, and just about any adventure she can find. She is excited to share her Bhutan adventure with her husband, Mike.
Today is the 106th National Day in Bhutan, which commemorates the 1907 coronation of the first King of Bhutan, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk, at Punakha Dzong. This year, celebrations were held in Changlimithang National Stadium, where the people of Bhutan gathered for an elaborate and colourful procession as well as an address from His Majesty.
Tashi Delek from all of us at The Bhutan Canada Foundation! For more photos, visit Kuensel Online.
Hard to believe that in five weeks our new and returning BCF teachers will be gathering in Thimphu! Today, we are pleased to introduce new BCF teacher, Paul Diver, who will be replacing Andrea and her family at Chumey MSS in Bumthang. Paul will be joined by his wife Justine and their three children.
Paul Diver was born and raised in England where he lived for many years before moving to The Netherlands for 6 months to work for a shipping company. One thing led to another and 6 months turned into nearly 7 years. One day, on a trip to London, Paul met an Aussie girl with a twinkle in her eye. He convinced Justine to come and live with him in Rotterdam – which she did (for a year). Justine couldn’t stand the thought of another grey and miserable winter, so she convinced Paul to move with her to sunny Sydney. She didn’t exactly have to twist his arm.
By now they were engaged and not long after they arrived in Sydney, Paul and Justine got married. Paul got back into shipping and a baby (Thomas) soon came along. All was well, but something was missing in Paul’s life – that thing he eventually realised was job satisfaction. One day Paul came home and said that he wanted to give up work and train as a teacher. With a one year old, and a new baby on the way, his timing was far from perfect, but Justine, ever-practical worked out how they could manage him going back to university. Soon Paul was qualified and working at a school in Eastern Sydney, the kids were great and he could even see the Pacific Ocean from his classroom; Paul was very content.
By now two more kids had come along – first Amelie and then Lois. Sydney was great for the grown-ups but Paul and Justine wanted their kids to have room to run around and be free. So they packed their bags again and headed for northern NSW. They found a great house with kangaroos and koalas in the bushland behind them, not to mention quite a few snakes. They found a nice school for the kids and Paul ended up working there himself. Life was good but always on the lookout for adventure, the family decided to give Bhutan a try. Paul wonders how the next chapter will read…..
In Bhutan, I worked harder than I have in any other job. Why? Because I was given the opportunity to do so! And because it meant more – the impact was tangible with the kids and with the school and that drove my motivation to take on more responsibilities and keep saying YES! – David G., Pakshikha MSS
Four years ago we were preparing to send our first group of adventurous teachers to Bhutan to carry on a longstanding tradition of Canadian support for the Bhutanese education system.
A lot has changed since then. Six teachers quickly grew to twenty-one the following year and in addition to sending Canadian teachers BCF also began recruiting teachers from the United States, Australia, Great Britain to name a few. Now, we are about to send our fifth group of teachers to Bhutan bringing the total number of BCF teachers to 68.
Taken together these teachers have impacted the lives of over 10,200 students!