“Wait, you aren’t Bhutanese? The most common response I get for running an online Dzongkha learning platform. Originally from California, I got to study abroad in Korea. There, I met my girlfriend who was from Bhutan but living in Hawaii. With her, I tried dalley chilli for the first time & got hooked on spicy foods. I wanted to learn Dzongkha but couldn’t find any good study resources. Soon, she had to return. I didn’t want things to end that way, so I applied for a university in Hawaii with no expectations to get in. Surprisingly, I got accepted. In order to save for the tickets, I even skipped meals & sold my guitar. Since then, we’ve been together for 10 years. For some time, I thought I’d never learn Dzongkha, but one day I decided to create the Dzongkha learning materials myself. With insights from native speakers, I developed grammar lessons & even taught myself to build a website & make videos. I named the platform ‘Tharingsa’ from a song & also for its deep meaning: learning Dzongkha & teaching it at the same time was a far-away dream for me.

Studying and practising without the extra work of making lessons may have been faster to get fluent in Dzongkha. However, I wanted to even help those who wish but find it hard to learn Dzongkha. Recently, I finished an entire series covering all the alphabets. My friends and girlfriend recorded over 600 audio to accompany the text lessons. For now, it’s only Bhutanese who know my work. Eventually, I want the international community to find value in Dzongkha & appreciate all that Bhutan has to offer. By reducing the barrier of language, I hope that my project helps to elevate the work of all the amazing influencers, musicians, artists, poets, etc from Bhutan & allows them to be discovered by a greater audience.

My dream is to either move to Bhutan or find someone to support our project so that I can build a team & create more engaging content. However, I’m unable to find work in Bhutan at the moment. Although I’m not a Bhutanese & didn’t grow up speaking Dzongkha, I’m still teaching this language with the hopes to inspire people to pursue their own improbable dreams, no matter the qualifications or the education.”

#humansofthimphu #humans


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