Story By Tom Crain
“In the beginning, I was really freaked out,” confesses ninth grader Sabbitri about her first couple months transferring mid-year from a Nepali refugee camp school to Akron’s North High School. “I couldn’t get the combination on my locker to work. The other high school girls had beautiful makeup and clothes and wild hairstyles in all different colors. They were always laughing and texting each other. They were so much happier and prettier than I was.”
The transition from Nepal’s refugee camp schools to America’s public schools is a challenge for most Bhutanese students like Sabbitri. The Nepali government places a strong emphasis on its monastic-style of teaching where its Bhutanese refugees go to school, providing nine years of free education for them. Lessons are taught in British English and Nepali.