WOW | Coffee Break

The search for a new way of life and study

Every year thousands of Nepali students travel to foreign lands to receive a degree in their choice of study. Some go for a new experience and some in search of a better education. A new country, people from different cultural backgrounds and a different lifestyle welcomes them. Three students experiencing life on foreign lands tell us why they chose to study abroad and what makes this experience enriching.


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SUBIR MAN TAMRAKAR

Currently enrolled in Central Queensland University, Sydney

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I have been studying and working in Nepal all my life, I just wanted to experience something new. This was a good opportunity for me to experience what I had been missing when I was in Nepal – a different way of understanding things, meeting new people, getting to know different cultures. To get into this University, I went to educational expos, did research on the net, and got help from my consultancy.

Did you have to make any cultural or other adjustments initially?

Well there were several factors that made it completely different from Kathmandu, but in a positive way. No blackouts, clean water, very clean place, good transport system, and a lot of Nepalis as well. As for the cultural shock factor, I just thought there would be a lot more Aussies than I actually saw. The mix of culture here is so rich and diverse and the way of living here is totally different. coffee break THE SEARCH FOR A NEW WAY OF LIFE AND STUDY Every year thousands of Nepali students travel to foreign lands to receive a degree in their choice of study. Some go for a new experience and some in search of a better education. A new country, people from different cultural backgrounds and a different lifestyle welcomes them. Three students experiencing life on foreign lands tell us why they chose to study abroad and what makes this experience enriching.

What are the pros and cons of studying abroad?

Pros: Experience of a whole new life style. Freedom. You decide what you want and what you do.Get to meet so many culturally diverse people. The demography is just amazing.See and experience new places You learn self-control, there is no one to tell you what you should or should not do. You control your life.
Cons: Cost of living is expensive but if you get a good job it’s okay. Since most students work as they study, you need to properly manage time. Not being able to do so will be the worst thing ever. Remember besides University and work, you still need time for leisure and most importantly, rest. Miss home. Miss the festivals.

Do you think there will be adjustment issues once you return to Nepal?

I do think there will be adjustment problems. First of all there are no light cuts, no fuel shortages, no water shortages or strikes as we do. People actually stop their cars to let you cross when you are in a zebra-crossing, and riding a bike or driving a car is much civilised, people actually follow all traffic rules. So, when coming back getting adjusted to the traffic conditions may take some time. This also includes the public transports which is very systematic. If you have a smart phone, getting anywhere is no problem. Everything is very clean. From the tap water that’s used for drinking to the food that you buy and the markets are carefully controlled. And the environment is very clean too, at least Sydney is. There is proper garbage disposal system and the people themselves have a ‘keep everything clean’ mentality. So back in Kathmandu one may face some health adjustment issues. Finally, carrying cash around is not a hassle because everything is paid by credit or debit cards. From getting paid to grocery shopping to buying lunch and using public transport, everything is electronic. I have met people who don’t even carry a wallet, just a phone and a card.


Smriti Rai_Rai

SMRITI RAI

Currently enrolled in Changwon National University (CWNU), Gyeongsangnamdo Province, South Korea

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because my major is Special Education and it is a subject which has only been introduced very recently in Nepal. I know that TU recently opened a Special Education department but other than that, there are hardly, if any, universities or colleges in Nepal that offer this subject. When it came to choosing the university, I learned about full scholarships being given to Nepali students to study Special Education (MA and PhD combined course) at CWNU so I decided to apply and luckily, I got accepted.

Did you have to make any cultural or other adjustments initially?

I came here just seven months ago so I’m still learning about the culture but it has been interesting so far. English is hardly spoken in Korea so for me, it is very important to learn the language. I have learned basic level Korean but I need to be fluent, so I am working hard on improving my Korean language skills. It also took me about a month or two to get used to the food here. Initially, I didn’t find the food too appetising, especially sea food but now I seem to have acquired the taste for it.

What are the pros and cons of studying abroad?

Studying abroad expands our knowledge of the world as we not only get to study in a good world-class university but we also get firsthand experience of life in a foreign country. We get to meet students from many other countries and make friends from many parts of the world. We learn to become more independent as we have to fend for ourselves.
On the flip side, there are many students who struggle due to financial, cultural and academic issues so it is very important to do adequate research about the university you’re applying to, the culture and lifestyle of the place, the course structure and requirements, living facilities etc, and if you are going to a country where English is not the first language, then it helps to learn at least some important words and phrases, if not more, in the new language before leaving Nepal so that the language barrier is reduced to a certain extent.

Do you think there will be adjustment issues once you return to Nepal?

I don’t think there will be any major adjustment issues as such. Of course, it might take some time readjusting to load shedding, the chaotic traffic and things like that but since I have spent the majority of my life in Nepal, I am well aware of what’s in store for me once I return. I do hope for positive changes in Nepal, but since I know that changes won’t occur overnight, from a practical point of view, I am mentally prepared to face those issues.


Samiksha Koirala (2)

SAMIKSHA KOIRALA

Currently enrolled in University of Oslo

Why did you choose to study abroad?

At PhD level, you don’t have many choices and there are very few institutes who are willing to enroll you on the topic of your choice. Besides, Oslo University is one of the best institutes for media research and I am very proud to be associated with the institution.

Did you have to make any cultural or other adjustment initially?

When I went to Oslo, it was my first visit to Europe. Although I have travelled to many countries, it was very different in Norway. I did my masters in Dhaka University, a city which is very crowded and very economic. It’s a lot cheaper than living in Kathmandu. However, Oslo is one of the most expensive cities. So, it was a bit of a shock. But, after a few months I forgot the conversion rate. As my stipend covers my cost of living, I don’t complain much about it now. Plus, Norway is very different than rest of the world as Norwegians want to live very close to nature. Skiing, hiking, camping is very much part of their lifestyle.

What are the Pros and cons of studying abroad?

Pros: You learn a new culture, a complete new way of living. It makes you independent and more career centric.
Cons: It can be expensive and you may have to work very hard to pay your bills. You can’t visit your family whenever you want to.

Do you think there will be adjustment issues once you return to Nepal?

When I came back from Bangladesh, I didn’t face many issues as we are very similar culturally. In case of Norway, as I am travelling back and forth for my research (as my fieldwork is based in Nepal), I don’t think I will have much problem. Besides, I am often updated with the help of social media and online news regarding what is happening on a regular basis. However, I am aware I will have problems in adjustment up to some extent. It is irritating when you come back from a very organised and clean city, and you are welcomed by pollution, loud horns.