By Luna Erica
Meet Bianca: an anthropologist, a teacher and a mother who aims to use her years of travel experience to reform education. Starting from her native Canada, she has ventured and volunteered around the world and witnessed first-hand many educational practices that she hopes to integrate into one holistic system to support children’s learning.
The key thing, she says is learning outdoors: “I made myself live outside a lot. In Africa, I worked in the forest and lived in tents. At times, arriving in a new place, I couldn't find an apartment – but it didn't stop me. I get a lot of inspiration, strength, and love from those situations. Being in nature allows us to feel whole, and it can give us a new perspective on the pressures of our modern society – like how we feel the need to always be working or owning a car or pursuing the highest level of education to be successful. We need to learn from what’s around us, and that’s why I want to do Outdoor Education.”
Bianca admits that there were hardships in the choices she made. She struggled, at times, with the fact that the expectations of the world around her were different from what she was doing: When she was “meant to be” in school, she travelled; while she raises her child, she isn’t married. But, she says, she couldn’t be prouder of herself of how she resiliently followed through with what she describes as her “unconventional lifestyle”.
She goes on to explain how she learned that in Kenya, many children don’t have access to school due to the fees. The fact that some places do not have the privilege of free education spoke to Bianca fundamentally. “Those children were educating themselves by going to the beach in the morning and learning new foreign languages. They were sometimes fluent in seven languages even though they didn't go to school. There’s something there, you know? There’s something we learn from just living.” In part, it was experiences like this one that drove her to the Master’s programme in Outdoor and Sustainability Education in Sweden.
With all her knowledge, Bianca is thrilled to move to Sweden. She will use the scholarship provided by Studyportals to settle in there with her daughter and finally study what she is so passionate about. With her background and that extra push, she is ready to transform education for many young people around the globe.