About TIEs

TIEs’ (Two-Way Intercultural Exchanges) mission is to improve teacher capacity worldwide through two-way exchanges of ideas and insight between American and foreign educators.

In particular, we aim to better prepare teachers for today’s classrooms by introducing new approaches to education and developing their intercultural competence: the ability to successfully interact with people of backgrounds different from their own.


TIEs believes that teachers in every country bring unique strengths to the classroom, so we take the “Two-Way” approach to volunteer teaching abroad:

American and foreign participants meet as equals for a two-way exchange of teaching ideas and cultural insight.

Both groups share their expertise by co-planning and co-teaching lessons, observing each other to provide feedback, and leading professional workshops. We believe this approach empowers all educators involved by valuing them for their expertise.

And by meeting as equals, neither party is imposing their ideals of how education should be. Instead, we can co-construct a future for what education can become.


How is TIEs different from other teach abroad programs?

  • We view neither the American nor foreign teachers as having superior expertise; both parties are expected to learn and grow from each other
  • We emphasize professional development for teachers, rather than direct instruction of students in the host country
  • We establish partnerships between American and foreign teachers
  • We require both the American and foreign participants to lead cultural and professional trainings
  • We run 2-4 week programs during summer breaks so that American teachers can participate without having to take time off work
  • We provide a structured itinerary of daily activities, so participants can ensure that their time will be spent efficiently

Learn more about our current project and how you can get involved!


Meet the Team

The TIEs project team includes members from the U.S. and Nepal.

Tim Kobus works discusses techniques during a teaching workshop.

Tim Kobus

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

Tim Kobus is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher with over 12 years’ experience, including teaching in Senegal, Nepal, Cambodia, Peru, and U.S. public schools.  Tim has a Masters in Education from the University of Maryland and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University. 

Tim first came to Nepal as an English teacher in 2008, an experience which inspired a passion for education and cultural diversity.  Tim hopes to share these passions through the TIEs program and help teachers develop their own understanding of the link between culture and learning.

Guruma speaking to students and teachers.

Nyanawati Guruma

Nepal Project Coordinator
Lalitpur, Nepal

Nyanawati Guruma is founder/director of Bhassara Secondary School in Lalitpur, Nepal, and a retired math teacher with 22 years experience in Nepali public schools.  She has been a Buddhist nun in the Theravad tradition for 33 years.  During her time as a math teacher, she began working on her dream of opening Bhassara – a school that combined standard academic subjects with Buddhist teachings as moral education. 

Nyanawati hopes that through the TIEs project teachers will exchange culture and teaching experience and that American teachers will better understand Nepali society and see the beauty of Nepal.

 Abha Awale during the botanical gardens visit.

Abha Awale

Nepal Project Coordinator
Lalitpur, Nepal

Abha is principal of Bhassara Secondary School in Lalitpur, Nepal, and has 15 years of social studies teaching experience. At Bhassara, her goal is that students develop good character and the skills to succeed at any work or place in the world.

Through the TIEs program, she wants Nepali teachers to know about American teaching methods and culture, and American teachers to better understand Eastern culture and education.

Edward Kobus reviewing paper at sitting desk.

Edward Kobus

Washington, D.C. USA

Edward Kobus is a marketing creative with over 7 years experience delivering web development, video, print and social media.

Edward is responsible for the design, development and management of the Ties With Teachers website and associated crowdfunding websites, design and production of our press package and print collateral materials, and final production/editing of our online videos.

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