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Alumni blog: Kishore’s gap year fills the education gap for others

23 October 2013

Kishore Chandra Patra graduated from Pestalozzi earlier in 2013 with a fantastic International Baccalaureate (IB) result of 43/45. He is taking a gap year and is working as a pastoral mentor to the students at Oaktree International School in Kolkata, India.

Kishore (centre) visits Mussoorie with Oaktree students
Photo: Kishore (centre) visits Mussoorie with Oaktree students

I was initially worried about doing a gap year because I thought I might lose the momentum of the academics. However, now I challenge not only my beliefs but the attitudes of many others in India who scorn the gap year idea. This is an opportunity forme to explore my own country with different dimensions. Now the person sleeping on a footpath makes me think of the story behind him. I have been seeing more diverse cultures and taking my understanding of the societies to a more profound level.

The feeling of being in a professional world is also exhilarating. My role as a pastoral mentor is to help the Oaktree IB students with my guidance through their studies and general well-being. I assist them with ideas regarding the coursework and I generally help them out with any problem they may be facing. As well as engaging with the students, I help out at the library. Although I’m not a voracious reader, I enjoy working at the library. The presence of books makes me feel like they are speaking to me and I cherish the unique story each book has to share. My role is similar to the volunteers who helped me at Pestalozzi. The multi-cultural experiences I had at Pestalozzi helped me make an easy transition into the multi-national student body at Oaktree International School. I have now made more international friends from Bangladesh, Nepal, Poland, Germany and Zambia.

Pestalozzi has always been a source of inspiration to me and as a result I am one of the initiating directors of a registered NGO, based in Delhi, with the name of ‘Little Scholars’. We aim to train 11-12 year old poor rural children to gain Indian government scholarships at the institution where I had the same scholarship. Our objective in the long run is to guide the students throughout their education and help them realise their potential.

I have realised one very important thing: Pestalozzi is the best place in the world to work. The cheerful faces you see, the friendly atmosphere and the energy the students put in is incredible and may not be found anywhere else in the world. I personally think I have often underestimated my abilities, but the Pestalozzi education has helped me realise my hidden potentials and helped me grow from the age of innocence to the age of experience.

I really miss my Pestalozzi family and I hope to see everyone soon – or at least sometime in the future.

Update: In 2014, Kishore received a glowing reference from Oaktree. You can see it here.

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