About Me

I am a New York City public high school ESL teacher at Brooklyn International High School who became interested in the background and experiences of refugee students. In July of 2010, I spent a month at the Bhutanese refugee camps in eastern Nepal learning more about the educational system there. I am a non-Nepali speaking American who visited 8th-grade classes in seven schools in five of these camps. At several of the camps, I also assisted in the adult spoken English classes.

With 8th graders at Timai camp.
I believe that an increased understanding of the refugee experience will help school personnel better serve the students and families who come to our country seeking a new life. This blog represents my efforts to spread understanding of the Bhutanese refugee community and to improve the educational experience of these children and their families both in Nepal and in the United States.

I hope that this blog honors the experience of my amazing Bhutanese students in New York who inspired me to take this journey as well as the several thousand Bhutanese refugees I met in the camps in Nepal. Special thanks to the students, teachers, counselors, and CARITAS staff in Nepal who generously shared their time and insights. The Sisters went above and beyond to help me. This would not have been possible without the logistics support of the Bhutanese Refugee Education Program (BREP) Field Director Father PS Amal Raj and BREP Education Coordinator Loknath Pokhrel, International Rescue Committee Educational Services Officer Liz Demchak in New York City and United Nations Associate Resettlement Officer Amy Buchanan in Damak, Nepal. I am very grateful for the financial support of the Fund for Teachers, whose grant made my trip a reality. Last but not least, I am blessed to have the enthusiastic support and encouragement of my colleagues and administrators at Brooklyn International High School.

To my Bhutanese friends, I hope this will serve you and your community on your journey, wherever it may take you.

Erin Collins
New York City

All of information pages reflect the understanding of the author, Erin Collins, who takes sole responsibility for any of her errors. She welcomes you to contact her at erin.collins@gmail.com.