What are some of your main roles at OCENET?
SO: I feel fortunate to wear several hats at OCENET. My primary role is supporting the students and teacher advisors in the International Certificate Program, a voluntary program that recognizes and honours students who demonstrate a commitment to being motivated, engaged and active global citizens. This role has me hosting workshops, arranging events and sharing opportunities (local and international) for students to engage with the global community. My other roles relate to increasing global connections within our schools through student exchanges.
What experiences do you bring to your position as International Education Coordinator?
SO: In addition to working in three different schools in Ottawa during my 21 years as an educator, I've been able to learn about other cultures by living and teaching in Ecuador, Portugal and China. These experiences have highlighted for me the importance of communication, collaboration, flexibility and patience working with students, parents, colleagues and community members in these varied locations. I also love learning languages and in addition to English I am conversant (I don't think I would ever say I'm fluent) in French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, some basic Mandarin and am now learning Japanese.
What aspects of the job do you enjoy the most?
SO: I love having the opportunity to meet and work with students and adults from different backgrounds in a variety of settings. Whether it's supporting students and parents involved in the ICP or our exchange programs, or getting inspiration from our amazing team of ICP teacher advisors and students, I find that each day presents new opportunities, new moments of joy and new puzzles to solve. I feel very grateful to the amazing team at OCENET who have welcomed and guided me over the past few months.
What new projects are you working on at OCENET?
SO: I hope to build upon the success of the International Certificate Program and work with our International Education Advisory Committee to bring new opportunities for developing global competencies to the elementary panel. There are some amazing learning engagements happening in our schools and I would love to develop a way to share these ideas and inspirations across the district. I'm also working with our ICP teacher advisors to further grow our ICP program in our high schools - sharing recruitment and retainment strategies, encouraging more students to sign up, and providing more opportunities for ICP students from different schools to learn from one another.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
SO: I love spending time with my family, and our time living overseas followed by a year-long sabbatical to travel the world was a highlight of my life so far. We continue to explore travel and cultures near and far, and look forward to one day living overseas again. Closer to home, volleyball, badminton and biking around the city to and from work (even in the winter) keeps me active and invigorated. I love food in all its forms (eating, preparing, and eating). Building things out of wood and learning from my many mistakes in the process is something that also provides me with joy (and some frustration!).