Exchanging Between Cultures

Photo © David Ho

About 30 students from the Nelson Waldorf School and Kugluktuk High School (KHS) in Nunavut came to the Ashram for a day-trip in April as part of a school exchange program. KHS teachers Liam Clarke and Danielle Scarlett brought 14 students to Nelson for a week. Liam, originally from England, talks about his experience.

Coming to the Ashram is a huge learning opportunity for us teachers and students alike. “Ashram” is a word that most of the students from Nunavut had probably never heard before. Being able to actually come here solidifies the learning in a way that being up North and talking about an Ashram never could.

We’ve been having conversations about incorporating yoga and mindfulness into our school. Having some of the students here experiencing it means they can spread the word of what it’s like with their friends since most of them had never done hatha before.

As well as coming to the Ashram, during our week in Nelson we visited the Sinixt people, had a scavenger hunt around Nelson and experienced a day in the life of a Waldorf student, including a sleepover at the school.

Amidst minus 58 degree weather, about 15 students from the Nelson School came up to us in February and got to experience igloo building, animal skinning, Inuit stories, sledding and Inuit arctic games. Unfortunately it was too cold to take them ice fishing.

Teaching in Nunavut has been an incredibly rich experience. With 24 hours of darkness and then 24 hours of light, the Northern Lights and minus 65 degree weather, it’s a completely different world. For the students to experience an exchange with such completely different backgrounds and cultures is quite something. They’ve made friendships that I can see lasting for years. That in itself is a powerful thing.


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