Experience of A Nepali student who is studying undergraduate in USA

2015-01-04

Ekantipur

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As an undergraduate student studying at a mid-sized public university in the US, and as a Nepali national, I think it’s worth sharing my experiences of being a third-world student studying in a first-world country.

While more and more Nepali students are moving abroad to continue their tertiary education with each passing year, it must be noted that even though the general assumption holds that all the institutions in the developed countries are first-class, it does not encapsulate the whole reality.   

Yes, the developed world takes education seriously. It’s also true that they spend billions of dollars in maintaining and upgrading their educational institutions. But at the same time, not all the institutions in these countries are of equal repute. So, let nobody tell you that the quality of a college/university does not matter. But having said that, don’t just go for the big brands that are out there. We cannot negate the fact that more than the brand name of a college or a university, it’s the academic environment and faculty members who play a pivotal role in shaping our destiny. There are people who have performed fabulously despite attending the so-called average institutions and there are others who have dropped out of top-tier universities. So while choosing a college/university, keep your course choice and the academic environment you require in mind. After all, institutions and big brands don’t matter much if you cannot make the most out of it. College placement is just a start of your life, not an end.

Along with the right kind of institutions, you also require the right kind of crowd to boost your intellect and perform better. Thus, while choosing a college, students must also keep in mind the kind of crowd they expect to engage with. They must act prudently to place themselves in the company of mature, benevolent, and competent people they can identify with.

Now the obvious question that comes is, what next? What are we going to do after we are done with our degrees? And the answer that always comes to my mind is: We, the future of our country, must return back to our native land and do something for it. Because, going by the condition of our country, the very fact that we can further our tertiary education abroad underscores our privileged background. Despite the fact that the quality of education in Nepal cannot be compared to that of the developed world, we’ve made it this far, and hence, after gaining enough knowledge, it remains our responsibility to use our expertise back home.

Countries like India, China, Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines, among others, were able to make a significant improvement in their economy and policy, and usher an era of a rapid economic growth, on the leverage of western-educated leaders, scholars and experts. And since the number of western-educated Nepalis has increased significantly in the last few years, it’s not impossible for  Nepal to take huge economic strides in the future if it uses its foreign-educated resources properly.

Plus, the whole point of getting educated abroad should not just be about living in a first-world country and earning tons of money. This reminds me of Oprah Winfrey’s word from her Harvard commencement speech of 2013. She said, “The key to life is to develop an internal, moral emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go….The challenge of life is to build a resume that does not tell you a story about what you want to be, but why you want to be.” So, rather than just living abroad and criticising our politicians for not doing enough, well-educated Nepali expats must make it a point to work for the betterment of this country.

And finally, to those who didn’t make it to  the institutions of their choice, life is not about how low you fall, it’s about how high you bounce back. Look at people who’ve accomplished much in life and see where they started. Hari Bansha Acharya passed the SLC examination on his third attempt, Binod Chaudhary failed an entrance exam for Chartered Accountancy, JK Rowling was a single mother living off the state welfare when she began writing the “Harry Potter” series and Winston Churchill was so slow a learner that his teachers used to write to his mother asking her to drop him out of school. So, don’t be disappointed. Just try harder.

Source: The article was originally published in The Kathmandu Post, written by Pradip Adhikari. Adhikari is a student at the University of New Orleans, USA