International Teachers Visit Chico

International teachers at PVHS take a group photo by Amy Besnard

From October eighth to the fifteenth, PVHS was lucky enough to have foreign teachers from all over the world come to explore their campus, take part in their classes, and experience the Viking Family. The foreign teachers were here for a total of six weeks.

Amy Besnard, English teacher and coordinator of the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) program at PV states, “We have been hosting this program for over 10 years.”

PVHS has been participating for a long time, bringing diversity to their school.

TEA has many requirements and is a very vigorous and competitive program since it is funded federally. The teachers need to have at least five years of teaching experience in Math, English, Social Studies, Science, Special Education, and EFL and a degree that is equivalent to a Bachelors.

Usually, the teachers who apply teach high school or middle school. All the foreign teachers know at least 2 languages, including English, and some even know more. Clement Niyrenda (Nui-rey-nda), a Malawian teacher, mentioned he could speak English, Swahili, and Chichewa. The ability to speak another language is really impressive and makes it much easier for people to communicate even if there are barriers.

Clement Niyrenda (Tina Thao)

According to Besnard, there were sixteen foreign teachers in Chico with PVHS hosting eleven of those foreign teachers. Chico High hosted two foreign teachers, Chico Jr. also hosting two, and Marsh hosted one foreign teacher.

Many of the foreign teachers were excited about being here at PVHS and enjoyed the time they have spent here. They also were surprised about how welcoming PVHS was. It was a big culture shock for them.

Prae Polkaew (Tina Thao)

Prae Polkaew (Prae-aew), a Thai teacher, mentions that many students would greet her with “good morning” when walking down the halls and in class. She was surprised since she had only seen Americans portray this gesture in movies.

Day Imprae, a Thai teacher states, “I wished I could have been here when there was no COVID”. She mentions that she was accepted into the program about two years ago but because of COVID it was stalled until this year. Thankfully they were able to come this year but it would have been a different experience if there was no COVID.

Many of the teachers were impressed with the technology and resources here. Prae and Day mentioned how they like how students here can choose their own classes.

Prae states, “In Thailand, we have strict curriculums.”

Day Imprae (Tina Thao)

Students in Thailand could choose a curriculum to learn off of but they don’t have the ability to learn other subjects that aren’t within the curriculum they have chosen. Students in the US have a much more diverse schedule and can explore more subjects.

Regarding extracurriculars, many were amazed to see how incredible our sports teams are. Niyrenda mentions that he had gone to most of the PV games and was surprised that PV had won so many.

He states, “I must be the talisman.”

He also mentioned that he would attend the 50th Anniversary of the Almond Bowl so PV could win which they did.

Accordingly, the cultural exchange goes both ways and many teachers have brought elements from their own countries and lives back home that can serve as inspiration to students at PVHS.

Jimena Sanchez, an Ecuadorian teacher states, “I like to volunteer.”

Jimena Sanchez (Tina Thao)

She mentions that back in Ecuador, she and her family have a social project to help native students move up to the next year (in school) and help them meet their goals. Given the resources that each of us have at PVHS, it’s important that we work hard to give others an equal opportunity as well.

Hopefully, the foreign teachers and many students were able to interact together and learn new facts about each other’s lifestyles and school systems. 

Thank you to all the foreign teachers that were able to make the PV campus a little brighter!



List of the foreign teachers and their host teachers that were at PVHS:

Mrs. Gregoire: Ms. Jimena Sanchez Celi (Ecuador)

Mrs. Martin: Ms. Marina Yurovskaya (Russia)

Mr. Barber: Ms. Day Iamprae (Thailand)*

Mr. Garrett: Mr. Theo Dusenge (Rwanda)

Ms. Burton: Mr. Clement Nyirenda (Malawi)

Mrs. Besnard: Ms. Tracy Lee Edwards (South Africa)

Mrs. Brennan: Ms. Ivannia Arias Zuniga (Costa Rica)

Mrs. Morrissey: Mr. Bassanio Gumpo (Zimbabwe)

Mrs. Garrett: Ms. Prae Polkaew (Thailand)*

Ms. Hanson: Ms. Bridget Awaadem (Ghana)

Mrs. Duran: Mr. Sachin Paul (Bangladesh)


*(Many Asian cultures place their last name before their first name.)


At Chico High, Chico Jr., and Marsh: 

Travis Chews: Mr. Falah Wannas (Iraq)

Karen Washington: Mr. Tin Nyugen (Vietnam)

Christina Fisher: Ms. Esra Poyraz (Turkey)

April Hislop: Ms. Fazz Nurul Faznur (Malaysia)

Sean Stephens: Mr. Ousmane Ba (Burkina Faso)


More information about the Full Bright Teaching Excellence and Achievement at these websites: