Kezang Wangmo has worked at Bhutan Canada Foundation since May 2018. Based in Thimphu, Kezang’s work is instrumental to helping BCF’s programming and initiatives come to life. Keep reading to learn more about Kezang!
Can you describe what you do at BCF?
As a Program Manager, I arrange the logistics so our programs can run smoothly. This involves a variety of activities including corresponding with the Ministry of Education on teacher selection and placements, arranging visas through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, working with Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines to book flight tickets, orienting new teachers, booking accommodations and transportation, and more. I work alongside the Field Director, Karma Tshering, to help out on new and existing programs.
How have you been impacted by COVID-19?
I think this pandemic has affected everyone worldwide. We have all been affected in various ways, on a social, economic, and individual level. As an organization, we could no longer continue some of our work, such as arranging teacher placements due to travel restrictions. We’ve had to shift in new ways to focus on what we can do, such as the Trans Bhutan Trail initiative. I am positive that as soon as the situation settles down, we will be able to safely continue and build upon our work.
What do you like best about your role?
In my role, I get to deal with different people from all over the world as well as different stakeholders in Bhutan. It’s interesting for me because I get to learn new things and knowledge. For the international placements I get to guide them with shopping and sightseeing. It’s a great experience for me too as I get to explore new places myself.
Can you talk about one of your favourite work moments?
I feel like every moment of my work is memorable. Dropping international teachers at their specific school placement is always special to me. I get to interact with the local teachers and principals, learn more about the school community. I also get to connect people together, so I feel that’s a great thing I do as a part of my work.
What is one of the biggest challenges at BCF?
My biggest challenge is when international teachers cancel their placement. In Bhutan there are a lot of strict processes that have to be followed in order to approve international volunteers. When we make all the visa arrangements, airline bookings, school e-introductions, and more it can be difficult to cancel at the last minute. I understand things happen and we try to support teachers as best as we can. We’re grateful for all the teachers who can come and volunteer here.
What is the most important skill that you have?
My work has a lot of social interaction with international teachers, government stakeholders, private businesses, staff, and more. I feel like my communication skills help me a lot in my role.
Can you talk about how education has changed since you were a student?
During my time in school, education felt mostly one sided. Teachers would lecture and were the only ones who used to speak in the classroom. Currently, I see a lot more new and different approaches to teaching that encourage interactive classes. Also we did not have the opportunity to host foreign teachers. So I feel students nowadays are lucky to have this kind of experience with teachers from different countries.
In your opinion, what is something that has transformed education in Bhutan?
I think with the modernization all over the world, Bhutan has evolved in every sphere. Education is one of the fields that have made the greatest advancement. The introduction of technology has brought many changes in students’ lives. Textbooks are not the only source of information, now students can learn by watching YouTube and other media platforms. Youth today get more opportunities to increase knowledge of theories alongside practical experiences. The workloads on teachers have also been reduced, which has also helped teachers in their role as educators.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I like spending my time meaningfully, so when I am not working I’m usually spending my time with my family. We do hiking and other recreational activities.
What is your favourite place to visit in Bhutan?
I feel all the places in Bhutan are worth visiting but personally I like Bumthang, Merak Seteng and Laya which are all high altitude places. I like to enjoy the tranquility these places give us and also the fascinating culture they have.