I know that education is the key to giving my family hope and a future.
I was born to a world of bamboo huts, food rations, and dirt roads. My family was in Beldangi 2, a refugee camp in Nepal. We were floating there, in a kind of limbo, unsure of who we were and what our future held.
We belonged to no country, kicked out of Bhutan and living in the confines of Nepal’s camps. There were few jobs, poor opportunities for schooling, and even food was sometimes scarce. Our family of six shared a cramped living space, with little privacy from the neighbors. I often cried, fearing that my life would never change.
In 2010, that change I longed for came when I moved to the United States with my family. I soon realized that this “promised land” was also a land of struggle, the biggest one being the language barrier. Growing up in Nepal, I only learned how to speak Nepali, so the English language was brand new to me. I began to use my own style of sign language to communicate with teachers and students.
Even a simple task, like getting permission to use the bathroom, was difficult. I remember asking the teacher if I could go to the “toilet.” When my teacher gave me a pass for the “lavatory,” I did not realize that these were the same things. I was confused, but too embarrassed to ask again. Instead, I waited until I got home from school to use the “lavatory.”
Language was not the only barrier to overcome. I soon learned what it was to be bullied for being different. Despite being from Nepal, I was called a ‘nasty Indian’, as if all Indians belonged to some lesser, gross racial group. When I began to learn English they bullied me because of my accent. They would laugh, humiliating me and making it difficult to practice my choppy English.
I thought that leaving Nepal was the best thing to happen to me, but it did not seem to be turning out that way. I remember telling my father that I wanted to go back home and that I wish we never moved to the United States. I missed the simplicity of life in Nepal and the way that somehow, despite being without a country, we had made a home. The place that had seemed so hopeless suddenly held a new meaning for me.
After some time, I realized that I could not allow my emotions and struggles to dictate my future. Instead I needed to use them to fuel my determination to progress. I spent hours studying and learning my new language. I wanted to show everyone, including myself, that I was capable of anything. My ability in English grew and I developed confidence in my work.
Now, as one of the top students in my high school, I can look back knowing what it means to work hard for something you truly want and believe in. Now that I think about college, the future and a new chapter in my life, I am much more optimistic. I plan to dedicate myself to learning and furthering my education, because not many people from my home country have the opportunity to go to college.
When I think about those bamboo huts, dirt roads and sad schools, I remember how blessed I am to be where I am today. I think of the responsibility that is mine, to make something of myself, and to use the opportunities I have been given to make an impact for others. This is the primary reason that I want to go to college. I know that education is the key to giving my family hope and a future, and if I can contribute to that, I will work as hard as I can to make it happen.
Listen below to Bishnu Khatiwada's story:
Bishnu Khatiwada is a senior at Hartford's Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School. She is part of CPBN Learning Lab's multimedia journalism after-school program. This essay was featured on WNPR's Where We Live about refugee resettlement in Connecticut. Student reporting is made possible in part by support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen initiative.
Nepali Language Training Course
Many aid workers, expatriate communities and volunteers come to Nepal to serve local people and need to learn about Nepali language, culture and society. Volunteer Society offers Nepali language and cultural training to help expatriate volunteers and research students to learn about Nepali and other indigenous Languages, and about Nepali Culture and Society. Volunteer Society Nepal has highly qualified and experienced tutors and up-to- date learning materials. The tutors have had many years’ experience teaching expatriates for the United Mission to Nepal (UMN), the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) and the Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT) and teaching American university students.
We aim to enable learners to achieve proficiency in their target language, and to understand local culture, enabling them to communicate effectively. The center will allocate the most appropriate tutors, curricula, resources and learning opportunities for each learner. The center is open to members of international organizations, college students, researchers and others.
We offer both long and short language training courses. People planning to live in Nepal long- term are encouraged to join the 4 to 8 week course. Short-term volunteers will probably find a 2-4 week course effective. We also offer 2 week long full time courses. However, customized courses can be arranged according to individual needs and length of stay in Nepal. The VSN courses are ideal for anyone whose work or personal circumstances make it difficult to attend scheduled courses. Full- and part –time courses are available in Nepali and Hindi.
VSN’s experienced professional tutors have a learner- centered approach. Tuition takes place in a comfortable, friendly and relaxed environment at place and times which is convenient for the learners. VSN has its own course books and modules, enabling learners to meet short- or long-term goals. VSN Nepal guarantees the learner will be more confident with the new language after just a few days of lessons.
VSN provides cultural orientation with lectures, discussions, videos, fieldwork and visits. The orientation course focuses on Nepali culture, history, religion, festivals, society, politics and daily life. Learners are advised on how to adjust to life in Nepal everything from basic shopping to complex staff management.
Class size is generally limited to two or three in the Basic Course. Each learner is given equal opportunity to learn and practice.If someone has a special learning preference or difficulty, individual classes can be arranged. Additional Classes can be arranged for those who prefer to learn at a slower pace.
VSN arranges accommodation with Nepali families living near to the Centre, for students wanting to experience life in a typical household. This provides an excellent opportunity to practice language and to get to know local culture first – hand.
VSN uses Strategies- Based Instruction (SBI), a learner-focused approach to teaching which emphasizes explicit and implicit integration of language learning and use strategies in the language classroom. The underlying premise of the strategies-based approach is that learners are given the opportunity to understand not only WHAT they can learn and use the language they are studying more effectively and efficiently.
The initial language program is designed to assist learners to communicate effectively in the target language. The course is taught in English and Nepali and includes coverage of the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing and a balance between communicative activities, structure practice and grammar appropriate to context. VSN’s methodology and courses expose the learner to real- life dialogue in real-life situations from the earliest stage. This helps to sustain the learner’s interest and to teach language which can be used immediately.
Learning Preferences, Styles and Strategies
We believe that each individual learner has his or her own learning styles and preferences. Individual’s dominant learning styles and preferences have a great impact in learning the language. Learning is more effective when learners find things out for themselves, so VSN encourages and helps learners to develop their own strategies based on their own learning styles. At the beginning of the course, learners are introduced to the concept of learning preferences and styles and their in the learning process. They are then given guidelines on various strategies of language and cultural learning suitable for their own learning styles and preferences. This helps learners to acquire and use language more effectively.
The core textbook for the basic course is the introductory Nepali Course written by Dinesh and Rekha Rajbhanari, which is accompanied by CDs the curriculum is applied flexibly to meet individual needs and assist each person to reach his or her language learning potential.
VSN uses the following text books and modules for intermediate- and advanced-level students:
The Nepali Reader- A comprehensive textbook.
For one person VSN offers a fee of 15 euro per 2 hour class and a 50 euro administration fee.
For two or more persons VSN offers a fee of 10 euro per 2 hour class and a 50 euro administration fee per person.
Examples of morning or afternoon only courses are:
|Duration||Total No. of Class||Amount|
|1 Week||5 Classes||75 Euro|
|2 Weeks||10 Classes||150 Euro|
|4 Weeks||20 Classes||300 Euro|
|8 Weeks||40 Classes||600 Euro|
|Duration||Total No. of Class||Amount|
|1 Week||5 Classes||50 Euro|
|2 Weeks||10 Classes||100 Euro|
|4 Weeks||20 Classes||200 Euro|
|8 Weeks||40 Classes||400 Euro|
Example of full-time day courses are:
|Duration||Total No. of Class||Amount||2 Weeks||20 Classes||300 Euro|
|4 Weeks||40 Classes||600 Euro|
|Duration||Total No. of Class||Amount||2 Weeks||20 Classes||200 Euro|
|4 Weeks||40 Classes||400 Euro|
According to these calculations we can completely customize your language learning experience to suit your needs.
Cross- Cultural Orientation
It is in the interests of expatriates who come to Nepal to serve local people not only to learn the Nepali language but also to learn about Nepal’s culture, people, customs and institutions. VSN organizes cross- cultural orientation sessions which enable learners to adjust to life in Nepal. Cross cultural orientation classes have the same fee structure as language classes. We recommend people to take a combination of language and culture in their first and second week in Nepal (depending on the amount of time he/she stays).
The orientation course includes:
- Sessions on Nepali culture, religion, history,
- People, politics, daily life, festivals etc.
- Security issues
- Health and safety
- Life and work
The orientation course is done through:
- Practical Assignments and Feedback
- A handbook & workbook
For more details and a customized program, contact us at email@example.com