Originally from Nova Scotia, and raised in Ontario, Richard Oliver along with his wife, Amp, and son, Maximilian moved to Peace River from Bangkok, Thailand in June. Richard has spent the last 25 years in Asia, living in Japan, Taiwan & Thailand.
Where do you work?
Richard: I work at Northern Lakes College as the Chair of Community Learning Support and Corrections Education. I am tasked with supporting the community with educational needs. Plus, I oversee educational programs at the Peace River Correctional Centre. I am proud to work for NLC; we are a college made by communities for communities.
What’s your story?
I started my educational journey at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, ON, studying political science and Indigenous studies. After I finished my degree, I went to Japan to teach English. I spent four years falling in love with teaching and new cultures.
I backpacked around Southeast Asia for a year and landed a teaching job at an all-girls Catholic high school in Bangkok, Thailand.
Then, I decided to get my first master’s degree in international teaching from Framingham State University based out of Massachusetts. The professors came to Bangkok and taught the modules. During that time, I worked at an American international school in Thailand; the school had over 400 students and 32 different nationalities. I worked there for 15 years.
Two years ago, I decided to crack the books again. This time I did a master’s degree in educational research, writing my thesis on effective educational leadership.
After a lot of thought, my wife and I decided to move to Canada to give our son a Canadian education.
Why did you relocate to Northwestern Alberta?
I was fortunate enough to find a position at Northern Lakes College in Peace River.
What were your first impressions?
My wife and I find Peace River to be a close-knit community. The people are very friendly, and they are willing to help others.
Compared to where you came from, how does Northern Alberta differ?
Bangkok is a very modern and fast city with constant traffic that goes literally 24 hours a day. In contrast, Peace River’s traffic is not like that, and there is always a place to park.
Have you had any interesting wildlife encounters here?
The whole family loves watching the deer, especially my son Max. He stares out the living room window in awe.
What is unique about Northwestern Alberta?
Although we’re coming from Bangkok, a metropolitan city with many different nationalities, I find even in the small population of Peace River there are many unique cultures represented.
As a whole, it’s very uplifting to be here. We’ve never been to Alberta before, but we feel part of the Peace River community.