Hailing from Bhutan, Sonam Wangdi (’16) went on to receive a scholarship from the University of Brighton specifically for Pestalozzi alumni. He graduated with a Masters in Civil Engineering and is currently a Graduate Geo Technical Engineer. Sonam has completed the Hastings Half Marathon several times and in doing so raised valuable funds for Pestalozzi. Whilst on his gap year in Bhutan he built a house for his mother, although he now says he would certainly do this differently after all the skills he has learned on his course! Sonam has also ‘paid it forward’ by supporting the further education of a friend in Bhutan.
Without a Pestalozzi scholarship my world wouldn’t be as big as it is now. I live with people from half way across the planet and work with people from all over the world, which allows me to learn about them and their cultures. Without the scholarship, I would still be waiting for the many small things that make me smile today like Sunday league football, sharing food with friends and my indoor plants.
Civil engineers construct, maintain and alter the built environment, most of the things we are surrounded with. At present, I am involved with replacement of footbridges, repair of a quay in the River Colne, and construction of buildings, which are a part of an affordable housing scheme in London.
I am currently working towards becoming a chartered engineer, which will help me to develop my engineering skills for when I return to Bhutan. After gaining experience in civil engineering here in the UK, I hope to take and use those skills at home. For now, I try to give back through mentoring some students from my village and have also taken part in half marathon runs to raise funds for Pestalozzi. It’s important to support a person when they are in need, even if it is in a simple and small way such as helping them with school subjects. Try to inspire them to see themselves as a force of change.
Education can fill most of our shortcomings, build bridges figuratively and literally, and equip us to be more active participants in society and contributors to the planet’s future. As a Pestalozzi alum, I am keen to be an ambassador and do what I can to support the charity’s work.
Pestalozzi allowed me to have that foothold in life from where I could jump to the places I am now. It gave me more confidence, which I’ve used to get forward. There were a lot of staff focused on helping you to succeed and there was always someone to rely upon. Pestalozzi immensely helped me to grow and develop as a person.”