In July 2000, my son Felipe headed off on a journey that was about to change his life. He had just finished his BMus at the University of Victoria, along with a TESOL course. He packed his bags and headed to South Korea with a couple of his buddies from the music department to teach English in a small private academy called ECC. This was supposed to be a short term stay, but ended up becoming his home. He now has a wife and 2 children and they have built a beautiful house not far from where he works today.
In an effort to remain connected, Felipe and I often talked about the possibility of students coming to Campbell River to visit. His boss' son was travelling to Nova Scotia for English immersion, so why not the west coast? Conversations began to put into motion plans to make exchanges possible in some of the Campbell River schools during the winter break in Korea. Felipe became the liason between the principal and our district.
I still remember when the first group arrived. It was snowing and the plane couldn't land on our little airfield. It had to return to Comox, (about a 40 minute drive away) and then the students and chaperones ( the principal's husband, Felipe, and his wife) had to be transported by shuttle to Campbell River. Their first experience in Canada was a snowy one.
I had the privilege of hosting one of the girls in my home as well as one of the boys in my classroom. The chaperones stayed with us as well until they were sure the students were settled with the families. Then they returned to Sokcho. They returned at the end of the 2 months to escort the students back home. This began a tradition in Campbell River that continues today.
The principal had a dream to create an international school that would be linked to a community in BC and provide Canadian curricula.
Felipe continued to act as liason between her and Campbell River. The Sokcho International School became a reality a year and a half ago. It is slowly growing and the students are learning the BC curriculum. They are connected with the Campbell River school district and the current principal of the school was a former principal in Campbell River. Felipe is teaching the music there as well as helping out with the business side of things.
Needless to say, it is exciting to have this connection with my son, especially when he lives so far away. It is also great to see that my grandson is attending the school now. I enjoy seeing the photos of some of the work that he is doing courtesy of his teacher who posts updates on her facebook page.
Sometimes it is hard to see our children travel to other places to work, but it is rewarding to see that they are making a difference.
I would love to hear your stories about teaching across the world and remaining connected with home.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother or 8, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.
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