International Field Experience


Background Information on Fulbright TGC

The Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) Program is a yearlong professional learning opportunity and short-term exchange for educators from the United States. This program opens teachers to prepare students for a competitive global economy by bringing an international perspective to schools through training, experience abroad, and global collaboration.

Teachers complete:

  • a rigorous, semester-long online course focused on best practices in global education

  • gather for an in-person professional development workshop in Washington, D.C.

  • travel abroad for two to three weeks to immerse themselves in another country’s culture and education system

  • participants create a global education guide that serves as a resource in their local community to share the skills, experiences, and resources they have developed throughout the program.

Oh, WOW!

To say I was excited to receive this email would be a great understatement!

The cornerstone and my lifelong dream of a Fulbright scholarship was inspired by my high school English teacher. I planned to apply once my youngest daughter graduated high school so that I didn't miss any time with my children during school vacations. However, at the uncertain onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the world shut down and Maui closed itself from visitors, I felt the urgency more than ever to submit my application. I dreaded the thought of never applying if the world were to end. I was hungry for the opportunity to explore my curiosities about global competencies and gain new insights for the next phase of my teaching career both in and outside the classroom. I spent weeks writing and editing my application; I was overjoyed and beyond honored to receive a spot in the 2020-2021 program cohort.

Oh Covid-19, you infectious disrupter!

There was much turmoil and uncertainty as we navigated the steps of preparation for international learning and travel. Hawai'i is six hours behind East Coast timezone and some meetings coincided with my teaching schedule. We were also fully remote for the 2020-2021 school year. My school campus struggled with navigating remote teaching, specifically because we had been primarily paper and in-person based. Computers were old, outdated and not utilized with students, but they were better than none. I organized a computer lending program, created a contract for parents to sign, and even spent afternoons dropping off laptops at student homes. Armed with laptops and hotspots, students could access learning.

Prior to this year, I was curious about the flipped classroom concept and spent two years researching the flipped classroom model. With mandatory remote learning, I decided to fully implement this flipped teaching strategy during the 2020-2021 school year. There were many stumbles along the way but the Teaching and Leading for Global Education Fulbright course saved my teacher soul! I learned from my fellows about new platforms such as ActivelyLearn, an incredible resource to supplement reading and learning units, about Padlet for student interactions and reflections, as well as TalkingPoints for smoother communication with parents, especially parents who spoke a different language. Covid-19 threatened to disrupt learning but in actuality, it allowed my students and I to explore a new, richer, method of interaction, learning, and connection.


In my application I did not choose a preferred travel location. I love to travel! I was hoping for acceptance and I have no international teaching experience, so any place was just as good as another!

When I received France, I was somewhat relieved because I've been to France many times and while not fluent, I can navigate the language.

Just kidding... CANADA 🇨🇦

There were definite rumblings about the Canada location. I have never been to Canada so my excitement did not fade with the changed location. I was limited in my travel timeframe because my youngest was in her senior year of high school. I did not want to miss the Fall/Winter of college applications, nor Spring with prom and graduation preparations, so the only time I could travel was summer.


Saskatoon... hmm, never heard of it! Apparently, also known as, the Paris of the Prairies, so there was a slight connection to the original location.

** The Canadian cohort is the first of its kind with teachers serving as cultural ambassadors while experiencing the Canadian education system.

Quick Insights About CANADA 🇨🇦

  • Canada is the second largest country on Earth and spans more than half the Northern Hemisphere.

  • The city of Toronto is considered one of the world's most culturally diverse cities with over 140 countries represented in the population.

  • The population of the United States (336 million) is 10 times greater than the population of Canada (36 million).

  • Canada is many nations in one; descendants of British and French immigrants make up about half the population, followed by other European and Asian immigrants. First Nations peoples make up about four percent of the population.

  • Many Native Canadians live on their traditional lands, but many moved to cities across Canada. First Nations artwork is widely recognized and is seen as a symbol of Canadian culture.

  • The USA and Canada have a deep and long friendship spanning over 200 years. America did go to war with Canada in 1755 and 1812.

  • The border between Canada and the United States is the longest undefended international border in the world. The terrestrial boundary is 5,525 miles (8,891 km) long with 119 crossing points.

  • To enhance American interests and presence in Canada, there is one US Embassy in Ottawa and seven American consulates sprinkled in other Canadian regions.

  • 20% of Canadians are new immigrants, referred to as newcomers.

  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada published 94 "calls to action" to address First Nation concerns and injustices, urging all levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial, aboriginal) to work together to change policies and programs in a concerted effort to repair the harm caused by residential schools. The "calls to action" are divided into two parts: legacy (1 to 42) and reconciliation (43 to 94.)

  • Canada has two official languages; English and French.

International Field Experience Guiding Question

How does Canada support and promote the teaching profession; what career successes and setbacks have teachers experienced through the Covid-19 pandemic?

Rather than a daily breakdown of the IFE experience, I will be sharing my experience of the trip through the lens of value. I was absolutely blown away by the learning, the friendships, and the inspiration this experience provided. I hope to somehow capture snip bits here as both a memory and a reference.

Education has been my life's work and I experienced this trip as a lifelong learner and educator. My working definition of value in this context is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.

The Structure of Canada's Education System Across Provinces

Canada is considered one of the most educated countries in the world and it was interesting to witness and learn about the specific structures within the system. Education in Canada is for the most part provided publicly, it is funded and overseen by provincial, territorial and local governments. Education is within provincial jurisdiction and the curriculum is overseen by the province. The education system in Canada is similar in its setup to ours in the United States. The school year runs from September to June with 190 days of school, Quebec is an exception with 180 days. The category division is also akin to ours with primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Each province houses a ministry of education that oversees and designs curricula that district school boards administer as educational programs in schools.

Canada’s system of education has four general levels: pre-elementary, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Most jurisdictions offer one year of public pre-elementary education as kindergarten. Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta offer additional years of free preschool education.

Primary education in Canada is compulsory for all children, usually beginning at age 6 or 7 with Grade One. Students in the primary grades typically study under only one instructor for the entire school year and receive that instruction in a single classroom. Students receive six years of primary education—Grade 1 through Grade 6—typically broken down in the following manner:

  • Grade 1 (ages 6–7)

  • Grade 2 (ages 7–8)

  • Grade 3 (ages 8–9)

  • Grade 4 (ages 9–10)

  • Grade 5 (ages 10–11)

  • Grade 6 (ages 11–12)

Secondary education in Canada consists of two distinct levels: intermediate or junior high school; and high school. At this stage, students attend different classrooms throughout the day and have different teachers for every class. These teachers are considered experts in the subject they teach and must obtain a single-subject teaching certificate indicating that expertise. The basic goal of intermediate education is to prepare students to enter the next phase of secondary education or high school. Intermediate school is a two-year educational stage, broken down into the following two grades:

  • Grade 7 (ages 12–13)

  • Grade 8 (ages 13–14)

Post Secondary, also referred to as high school is a four-year program and by law, students must remain in high school until at least the age of 16, regardless of their grade, except for Ontario and New Brunswick, where students must remain in school until age 18 or until they successfully complete high school and are awarded a diploma. High school breaks down in the following way:

  • Grade 9 (ages 14–15)

  • Grade 10 (ages 15–16)

  • Grade 11 (ages 16–17)

      • CEGEP is a publicly funded college exclusive to the province of Quebec's education system providing technical, academic, vocational, or a mix of programs; following graduation from Grade 11. Typically students continue studies at a Cegep for two years, then at a University for three years.

  • Grade 12 (ages 17–18)

      • In the Province of Ontario only, students can take advantage of a fifth year of high school, usually referred to as Grade 12+.

In order to successfully complete high school, students must pass provincial exams in several subjects. These are written by the provincial government to assess whether students have learned everything the government considers important. Failing to earn passing marks on provincial exams can bar admittance to university and failing to pass these exams creates a social taboo that can limit one’s ability to find work.

There are four types of public schools:

  • French Secular - French Immersion schools are in an English-speaking province that teaches students entirely in French to perpetuate Canada’s second official language. Popular with highly ambitious parents, the programs fill up quickly and there are often long wait times before a student will even be considered.

  • English Secular - In the French-speaking region of Quebec, English schools are equally popular, but a child’s ability to enroll in one is severely limited by provincial laws designed to discourage their use. Only children of parents who were also educated in English are able to enroll.

  • English & French Catholic - most faith based schools must be private with the exception of Catholic schools, which are publicly funded in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. There's a holdover from when Catholics were a small and persecuted minority in Canada, so it was considered important for the government to protect their right to educate their children in their faith.

Bilingual schools are built on an immersion model following the success and popularity of the country-wide French immersion program. Despite some differences, in general, each bilingual program type respects two fundamental principles: (1) additive bilingualism is the assumption that acquisition of a second language brings personal, social, cognitive, and economic advantage without negative effects on first language or academic development, and (2) learning a language when it is used as a medium of general curriculum instruction.

  • English/French - French Immersion (FI), originally mainly for English-speaking majority students, but now also populated by learners from nonofficial minority language backgrounds

  • Heritage Language (HL) programs for students with backgrounds in nonofficial languages such as Ukrainian, German, and Mandarin.

  • Indigenous Language programs for aboriginal students of Inuit, Mohawk, or Cree backgrounds.

Academic streaming has been a practice in Ontario since the 1980's; this process divides students into differentiated groups based on their perceived academic ability and/or prior achievement test scores. Students entering high school take hands-on applied courses or enter an academic track that sets them on the pathway to postsecondary studies. Both formal and informal practices were utilized to divide students into three pathways:

  • Essential pathway limited students in this category to workplace placement

  • Applied pathway had the opportunity to attend college or workplace

  • Academic pathway with the most opportunities to university, college, or workplace

Upon inspection, data indicated students of color, special needs, and low-income families to be the highest percentages in the most limited, Essentials category, whereas students with high-income families earned placement in the Academic pathway with the most opportunities for movement and learning. As a result, Ontario students entering Grade 9 in September 2022 will no longer be offered the option of taking Applied or Academic courses.

Other Canadian education system priorities and initiatives are centered on inclusive pedagogy to address equity, diversity, and inclusion in culturally responsive forms. Students in grade one are exposed to STEM coding classes and asked to answer questions about what problems they want to solve, rather than what they want to be. Fourth graders take financial literacy classes, and in 2021 ninth grade mathematics was de-streamed from pathway tracking with science following in 2022. High school students are also required to take two online courses as part of the graduation requirement to prepare for hybrid and remote work environments.

Emphasis is to not use textbooks but instead cross-curricular and integrated learning to expose students to new sports like lacrosse, sciences that explore water crises on reservations, and math that uses indigenous numeric systems to offer culturally inclusive pedagogy. In addition, teacher training emphasizes indigenous education; knowing the history of Residential Schools, and land acknowledgments to honor those who were on the land first. Posters around schools about social-emotional well-being and the inclusivity of everyone seek to perpetuate strength-based approaches that connect to land, country, art, belonging, and self-determination for everyone in the school community.

The Value of Education in Canada

Value: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.

It was difficult to narrow my guiding question, there were so many aspects of this trip that I was looking forward to and I did not have a good foundational knowledge base about Canada. After some research, I was shocked to see how prepared Canada was for handling the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2020 report about preparedness by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization with 38 member countries, Canada not only trains teachers for remote learning as part of the training process (71%) but 94% of students have equitable access to information and communication technologies (ICT). These numbers are in stark contrast to the data at schools across Hawai'i. The value of education is emphasized in teacher training so that teachers are prepared for classrooms of any format, and this preparation is met by students who are provided access; very clear highlights of the value of learning in the Canadian education system.

Emphasis on education was eminent from our very first meeting with consulates as a cohort on Tuesday, June 7th. Helen VonGohren of the US Embassy of Ottawa and Diane DelRosario from Public Affairs provided an overview of the US/Canada partnership and Foreign Policy focus between the two countries. Both nations have:

  • strong interests in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,

  • want to support underrepresented minorities through global diversity and inclusion,

  • advance the climate change missions,

and of course, both countries have shared security and defense goals. Cultural Affairs Officer, Daniel Stewart, provided further history and insights about Canada. I had no idea, 40% of the population lives in Toronto, and 20% of Canadians are new immigrants. Canada received and welcomed many US enslaved people, which created deep historical traumas that spurred the 94 "Calls to Action" by The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to address First Nation concerns and injustices. The main emphasis on schools is the Decolonization of Education and shift to Indigenous Knowledge (IK). This term Decolonization of Education arose at each location we visited.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) consists of 473 elementary schools and 110 secondary schools for 250,000 students and 16,000 teachers. Anne Chirakal, a new principal at the Central Technical School shared her desire to create an equity continuum through an equity audit that authentically reviewed school climate and classroom instruction as well as integrated parent and community connections through the driving questions; What are the most powerful ways for kids to thrive? and How is student voice authentically engaged? As the presentation unfolded, it was evident that the stakeholders in the room placed high value on education and were invested in students.

The district sets the curriculum and there are tracks that students take toward university, apprenticeship, workplace, and college. The long-standing tracking system is in review and it was mentioned that Ontario is de-streaming/de-tracking for the benefit of students. I really connected to a quote from Mike Gallagher, Superintendent of Education "teachers have a voice, but students do not, and they deserve our very best." I couldn't agree more! In my experience, I've seen students suffer through situations, and teachers, where their needs are neglected. These students are at a detriment because many are unaware of their options or afraid to speak up. It was enlightening to hear a superintendent openly embrace and frame a student-centered approach this way, not to mention make time to meet with us visiting teachers!

According to Suzan Joueid, Principal for ESL, Library Learning Resources, Social Studies, and World Issues, multiculturalism at TDSB is part of the instruction and not considered a modification. The school district has also seen an influx of students from Afghanistan and Ukraine which requires extensive testing for streaming and tracking. The streaming and tracking system varies across grade levels. At the k-8 grade levels, students are streamed informally as well as formally. Students in grades 9-12, are placed in one of three tracks: Essentials (workplace), Applied (college and workplace), and Academic (university, college, or workplace). The destreaming effort was spurred from evaluation of skewed data for Essentials in black, special education, and students from lower income families (avg. $67,849), while students from higher income families (avg. $104,871) streamed into Academic tracks. Strong emphasis is on education for teachers to meet student learning and TDSB has seen access for studetns increase from 76% in 2014 to 94% in 2022.

Jason To, Coordinator of Secondary Math/Numeracy explained nn interesting aspect of TSB, the six Legacy Boards; specialized programs and schools focused on student interests with specific specializations and admission criteria. Data review demonstrated that minorities and underserved populations were underepresented in these specialized programs. As a multi-year strategy, TDSB is revising it's Legacy Boards to move towards interest based admissions criteria and centralized random selection process with no entrance exams, no report cards, no admission requirements, and no application fess. By removing known barriers to access and prioritizing access to commuities with under-representation, programs will support the success of all interested students, not just students with demonstrated and supported abilities.

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) serving 45,500 elementary students and 19,870 secondary schools hosted our group on Wednesday, June 8th at the Iroquois Ridge High School, student population 1,550. Vice Principal Michelle Lemaire and Principal John Stieva introduced the school, its programs, and served as tour guides throughout our walk through. Iroquois Ridge High is a very high achieving school; grade 9 is de-streamed, grade 10 and up still use the streaming (academic, applied, & workforce). 92% of students from this school continue onto university and 50-60 students join the workforce.

The Value of Teachers in the Canadian Education System

Value: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.

Discerning the value of teachers in the Canadian Education System is not a straight forward path. During our visits in different districts, the major topics, presentations, and discussions centered on students. While there were windows to speak with teachers, most sessions were large group oriented and presentations focused on meeting student needs. The most valuable experience to collaborate with teachers and experience a school first hand came from my visit at Iroquois Ridge High School (IRHS) in the Halton District School Board (HDSB). During this visit, I sat in on a senior English classroom where students were working on editorial projects and end of year English portfolios. Ms. M is a young teacher and is very grateful to have been provided with a contract at HDSB this year. In addition to seniors, she teaches 10th grade English. The curriculum is provided and she collaborates with grade level teams to execute units and lessons as designed. She voiced the importance of not straying from the provided/mandated curriculum so that all students received the same lessons and instruction, no matter who taught them. Prior to this year, Ms. M was moved without much notice from school to school, sometimes considerable distances, as a substitute. This is a typical tale of new teachers in Canada, and many travel overseas to teach for a few years to gain teaching experience. Most Canadian teachers return to families and hometowns in Canada, from abroad, with a few years of teaching experience which directly translates to better opportunities and teaching contracts.

In addition to my discussion in the classroom with Ms. M, I also met with two teachers in the teacher break room, Ms. T and Ms. S, who shared similar stories of volatile substitute schedules as new teachers. Ms. T moved with her husband, who was also a teacher, fresh out of teacher's college to Asia in search of teaching experience. The couple taught overseas for three years and returned home to start a family. Ms. T has been at IRHS for six years. Ms. S, on the otherhand, stayed in Canada to be close to family and was also moved without much notice as a substitute teacher after she finished teacher's college. Ms. S is now in her second year permanent contract at HDSB.

The three teachers I spoke with all shared feeling valued and grateful for their teaching positions. Each seemed genuinely passionate about teaching and voiced love for students, the school, and the district. They all agreed that Covid-19 was rough all around, but the recent contract receivers voiced that the pandemic was also a catalyst in securing their permanent teaching positions because many teachers retired, thereby creating opportunities for new teachers to be hired.

My discussions with Principal John Stieva of IRHS is where I learned the most information about the teaching profession in Canada. As my cohort fellow, Tunde, and I listened to him share the appreciation and value that is placed on teachers, I couldn't help but feel strings of jealousy for the benefits and respect teachers receive in the Canadian Education System. Teaching is a valued and respected profession with very little turnover because of the attractive salary, employment insurance, various leave periods, and attainable teaching grants. During this conversation, both Tunde and I wondered why we never considered exploring teaching in Canada when we were exploring the teaching profession.

In Saskatoon is where the value of teachers in the Canadian Education System truly manifested. Candance Wasacase-Lafferty (an absolute Goddess!), Elder Roland, and Poet Skydancer all shared and reinforced the importance and value teachers play in not only teaching youth but in passing down heritage to younger generations, with emphasis to hold strong to relationships and honor them. Much focus is on "lifting communities and not individuals," so that when negative things happen, there is an inherent knowledge and understanding that there is always someone "who loves me!" As matriarchs, women are the water and firekeepers. As a profession with majority female teachers, women educators are highly valued in the indigenous regions I witnessed.

Spending time at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park with Candance truly opened my appreciation for the work that is transpiring at the Saint Frances Cree Bilingual School. The Cree bilingual and English program started in 2002 with a focus on nehiyaw language and culture in elementary age students. The school draws from 57 neighborhoods in Saskatoon and 55 First Nations, of the 74 total, with a parent advisory committee. The school not only delivers the provincial curriculum, but incorporates land based learning, indigenous STEM, and a teacher who literally shakes the building during drum circle lessons with students. This visit incorporated meetings with parents who broke down during their share, "everywhere she goes, and everywhere she looks, she sees herself," shared one of the moms who is also a school advisory board member and parent of six children who have and currently attend this elementary school. The teachers we observed were passionate and very encouraging of students during our classroom visits. The administrators leading our observations proudly explained that teachers also speak different dialects of the Cree language (N, Y, TH) and this creates inclusion of all students from the many indigenous tribes and communities. This school very much thrives on the value each teacher brings to student learning in the academic setting, which in turn perpetuates the lives of students in their individual indigenous cultures.

Overall, the value of teachers in the Canadian Education System is staggeringly evident in the focus on teacher education and teaching experience in smaller outskirts and larger school districts. Teachers are especially valued as mentors and models for passing down knowledge, language, and culture to younger generations. Some districts embody the melting of provincial and indigenous curriculums and others are in the initial phases of incorporation, but overall teachers voice feeling valued, and in turn administrators demonstrate mutual respect and value for educators in the classroom. Two weeks and a handful of school observations cannot sum up an entire country's value of teachers in the education system, but it was poet Skydancer that said it best, "it's the skeletons that will move you and propel you forward." It was evident in the schools and discussions that overall, Canada is addressing the skeletons that caused much turmoil between communities. There is much learning and changes to educational practices transpiring across the entire country of Canada, and this is a value that teachers, communities, and stakeholders openly share and continue to work towards in refining the overall education system.

The Importance of Language & Culture in Canada's Education System

Language: a principal system of communication, in this context, specific to words used in a structured and conventional way and conveyed by speech, writing, or gesture.

Language is of utmost importance, as seen in land acknowledgments, emphasis on indigenous teacher training to understand the past, and the reconciliation (for Canada) and reclamation (for indigenous people) of culture. Education encompasses more than rote learning, there is strong focus and insistence on student sense of identity and quality of life during their education journey.

The public school systems take pride in putting student needs and understanding at the forefront, this is evident in the approaches to de-stream and remove the invisible language that limits certain students from opportunities. In addition, as we learned at the Toronto District School Board meeting, focus on culturally inclusive pedagogies takes into consideration minorities and underserved populations so that all students have access and representation at every level of education; specifically in places like Legacy Boards with their own specializations and admission criteria that served as barriers previously. Changes such as interest-based admissions criteria, centralized random selection processes, and removal of entrance exams, report cards, audition requirements, and application fees have leveled access for all students.

The dismissal of known barriers to access significantly decreases the under-representation of groups of students and speaks the language of inclusivity for all students and community stakeholders. Focus is on designing programs to support the success of all interested students, not just those with demonstrated and supported abilities. In addition to providing priority to communities that are under-represented, students will also have access to programs locally, rather than having to travel to different schools when programming is available at their local school.

Overall, Canada's Education System is taking bold steps to reconcile and provide reclamation through multi-year plans that encompass visions with spirits of inclusion.

Revised: International Field Experience Guiding Question

How does Canada support and promote the teaching profession; what values and substructures are available for teachers to grow within the profession as educators and community stakeholders?

What Can We, As Educators, Learn From Canada ~ IFE Reflection

As we were creating guiding questions, Covid-19 was still very prevalent in all aspects of life, so this guiding question seemed appropriate as a spark or light for my upcoming Fulbright International Field Experience. As a teacher leader, new teacher mentor, experienced teacher, and (at the time) Department Chair, my curiosities centered on how other education systems educate, value, and treat teachers. As we moved from place to place and spoke with different stakeholders, I realized that my questions focused more on teacher experience, rather than how Covid-19 affected schools. We were informed during the planning phases that our questions might evolve and change during our experience. This was true for me and in light of the unfolding experience, my reflection will address what I have learned and how I hope to bring my new learning into my classroom and my life in general. Hence, my revised International Field Experience Guiding Question: How does Canada support and promote the teaching profession; what values and substructures are available for teachers to grow within the profession as educators and community stakeholders?

Education is a value I hold as my top tier, right next to family and authenticity. As an educator, I struggle and strive to expose my students to imagine and discover what is possible, even when it seems impossible. Nietzsche's "where there is a will, there is a way" is always at the forefront of every approach. As a lifelong learner, I am constantly amazed by how knowledge and experience inform and ground me.

I am honestly at a loss for words about how incredible of an impact this Fulbright opportunity has had on me. From the very first Zoom class with our instructor Deanne, to instant connections with Joseph from Texas, and interactions with fellow reflections, I was blown away! The depths of inspiration seemed unending, every class meeting brought a myriad of resources I immediately incorporated into my teaching and personal life. My best year of teaching was in the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic because of the inspiration my Fulbright Global Education course stirred within me; a direct result of the incredible teachers I had the honor and privilege of learning and collaborating with.

In my more than twelve years of teaching, I have had the privilege of collaborating and creating with wonderful human beings, many have become friends I hold dear, but as a group, our Saskatoon cohort takes the medal for the most incredible and memorable. We all clicked and easily interacted, inspired, and supported each other. Each individual's spark enhanced our collective group, and Ahlam wrapped us all with her incredibly warm and grounding heart! I have never had a teacher, during a professional conference/cohort, or otherwise, drop snacks at my door in the middle of the night, just because! As an orphan who starved most of my childhood, snacks are precious, and Ahlam's gesture completely floored and enchanted me!

In many ways, this International Field Experience was a very triggering experience for me. From the bead and needlework at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada to the white metal bed in the middle of the room at the Remai Modern Museum, it all generated memories from my childhood in Transylvania. Sitting in these moments of reflection, reminded me of all the resources I was not exposed to and the privilege of education. Communist Transylvania did not afford reading for pleasure, we hid books filled with nursery rhymes in outhouses so that upon inspection, soldiers believed them to be used as toilet paper. Textbooks were filled with propaganda and inaccurate information about our leader, our country, and the world beyond our national borders. As a diligent student, I thrived at school, reciting the propaganda and proudly wearing my decorations to show my commitment and love of everything I was taught to be true. To say that shame accompanies these memories would be an understatement, but that is the power of education on a young mind. These experiences have shaped me as an individual and especially as an educator, I am very cognizant of the material I introduce to my students because I know the power I hold as a teacher.

As educators, we can learn a great deal from the Canadian Education System. While there are disadvantages, overall, I saw a country that is working collaboratively with community stakeholders to serve the best interest of its young generation. Administrators, teachers, parents, and community advocates campaign fiercely for inclusive pedagogy and an upheaval of systems that no longer serve students. The elimination of the pathways speaks volumes for inclusion and mirrors the way American educators utilize differentiation to meet the needs of all learners in the classroom. The focus on teacher training, specific to indigenous cultures, to educate about the past and bring to light the concepts of reconciliation and reclamation so that the younger generation is provided insight and knowledge about indigenous traumas is inspiring; especially when witnessed through the testimony of its positive effects from the tears of parents whose children connect to language and culture they were barred from in school.

While America has made strides in many areas of educating our youth, Covid-19 served as a catalyst to truly highlight our inadequacies in access and equity, specifically addressing our indigenous populations. It is Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an influential indigenous environmentalist, cultural, and human rights advocate from Quebec who truly sums up all we can strive towards in an effective education system, "[it] must consider community needs, including self-government, cultural preservation, and development of community and regional infrastructure... it must also, as a means of empowering our children, seek to improve self-management skills, heritage, and cultural survival skills, analytical skills, and community and economic skills. Our students also need to acquire global cultural access -in other words, they need to learn about the world beyond their own doorstep, including environmental, political, economic, and business issues -so they could see global changes coming their way and interact with the world more effectively. Global cultural access would be an important part of giving them a sense of control. By making ongoing changes and reforms with the required political commitment, leadership, and determination, we could empower ourselves and regain control over our lives and our communities. In other words, to amend the education system, we recommend changing everything." (The Right To Be Cold, 113)

I cannot express in words how this Fulbright, specifically the International Field Experience, has inspired and revived my soul on all personal and professional spectrums. I am truly humbled to have been chosen as part of this incredible cohort of passionate, intelligent, loving, supportive, respectful, open-hearted and minded, fun, energetic, quirky, and hilarious beings. I felt inspired and gratefully embraced Candance Wasacase-Lafferty's positive enthusiasm as she shared of her culture and the trauma her people have endured. Elder Roland's smudging ceremony left me speechless yet grounded at the University of Saskatchewan; such an honor to have received an invitation to grow through the wisdom spurred by our group breakdown, which in turn cemented our cohort bond. I loved all the blooming lilac bushes, my absolute favorite flower -one that does not bloom in Hawaii, spread throughout Saskatoon, and the ease of the city bikes to explore Toronto. On my last day of the trip, during my final bike ride on the streets of Toronto, as the sun set between the skyscrapers, a ladybug landed on my bike and moved onto my arm. It stayed with me for the remainder of my trip back to the hotel, and I could not help but give grateful thanks; I am indeed a very lucky soul! Thank you for the experience of a lifetime; it inspired my spirit, revived my devotion to education, and provided me with unimaginable friendships. I am grateful and in awe!