For thousands of youth in Nepal, going abroad for studies is a cherished dream. These days it has become more of a trend and every other person you know is either planning to go abroad or is already there. Given all the problems our country is facing at present, it is understandable why youth would want to opt for foreign countries. The hope of a better future and better living standards are reasons enough to lure people. For some, getting an opportunity to live and study/work in a foreign country of one’s choice is a dream come true while for others, it may turn out to be a nightmare. Therefore, it is necessary to do adequate research about the course you are planning to study, the country you are planning to go to, the culture of the place, the expenses that you have to bear etc. before going there, so as to minimize the risk of encountering unwanted situations.
For this article, I decided to talk to people who are planning to go abroad and I also got the opinions and advice of people who have already been there, done that. This is what they have to say:
Sanju Chaudhary: “I would like to go abroad as a foreign degree holds greater value as compared to a Nepalese degree and it would give me better opportunities in terms of job perspectives. My exposure to multi cultural, multi ethnic and multi lingual environment since my childhood days gave me strong interpersonal skills and an ability to establish and maintain effective partnerships among people from different backgrounds with sensitivity and respect for diversity. I come from the Terai region and belong to the Madhesi society where girls are educated for the sole purpose of getting a good spouse. Although there are a lot of educated women in my community, they end their career after getting married. As I feel that the society is largely male dominated, I want to pursue my studies in the field of gender and social inclusion initiatives for livelihood improvement. Therefore, I want to get quality education to expand my horizons and in order to continue my studies, the countries that I prefer are India, Australia, the US or any European countries. After completing my studies, I want to return to Nepal and serve my country.”
Chetan Shrestha: “We all know that Universities of South Asian countries- mainly developing/underdeveloped countries are less recognized in the international arena. In this context, a foreign degree certificate would wing me to compete in the global market. Education imparted in universities of developed countries are far more sophisticated, practical and research based whereas, traditional/ theory based education is seeded in colleges of Nepal.
I want to pursue my further studies in the field of “Financial Planning and Control” specializing in Non-profit organizations’ sector. The countries that I find favorable to continue my studies are Philippines, Thailand and Australia. I am more interested to join foreign Universities through scholarship programs of development agencies. Given a scholarship, I would like to do my masters from “Asian Institute of Management” in Philippines or Bangkok. It is one of the best universities in Asia and there I could groom my knowledge in a homely environment. University fees in Australia are comparatively higher and Universities there are less likely to provide full scholarships for Asian students. Why not the United States? Obviously it is a dreamland for many of us but I think it is a little unsuitable at present due to the recent economic recession. As far as returning to Nepal upon completion of my studies is concerned, honestly I cannot say anything at the moment. It all depends upon the incentives and opportunities offered by the host country.”
Malati Maskey: “I want to go to Australia as my brother is already there and it will be convenient for me. Besides, I plan to study Master’s in International Community Development and the course is available in Australian Universities. I already have 2 Master’s degrees from Nepal so I think a foreign degree would add value to my educational qualifications. However, I don’t have any interest to settle down abroad in the long run as I am very happy and satisfied with my life in Nepal and I want to serve my nation with the qualifications I have received.”
Ashwin Bista: “I want to study Culinary Arts and since Nepal does not have any good institutions for the subject, I am planning to go abroad to pursue my dreams. The countries I have looked into are the US, Australia, the UK and Singapore. Nepal still has a long way to go in terms of offering varied choices of subjects and foreign countries are definitely a good option for people like us who want to try something different.”
Apekchya Rana: “I studied in Costa Rica at the UN Mandate University for Peace. Before going there, I got my undergrad degree in Law and I also worked in India for a year. I always knew that if I wanted to return to Nepal, I would have to study a subject that is relevant to the context of the country and therefore, I opted for peace studies. As I’d been away from home for too long I don’t want to go abroad at the moment and I am very happy and satisfied with my life in Nepal. Being away from home definitely has its own pros and cons but getting to live close to my family and being able to contribute to the peace process of the country outweighed all the other reasons to stay away from home. From my own experience, some words of advice that I’d like to give to students who want to go abroad or are studying abroad is that, if your family is financially stable and is capable of financing your studies abroad, I think it’s a good idea to return to Nepal after completing your studies. You get plenty of career opportunities here and our nation really needs well educated young people. However, we can’t generalize as all people come from different backgrounds and for some, it might be a better idea to stay abroad if it helps you financially and if you get better opportunities there.”
Gayatri Amatya: “I went to the USA to get exposure, expand my horizons and to get to experience independent life. I studied Master’s in Global Development and Peace at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. I am very happy and satisfied with the experiences I’ve had and it was indeed a great opportunity for me to be able to study in the USA. I must say that the experience of studying in a foreign country was very much what I had expected it to be. I got to meet people from all over the world and learnt many new things. To all those who are aspiring to go abroad, I would suggest to do proper research and I don’t think it is wise to go without receiving any kind of scholarship or financial aid, unless your family can afford to fully fund your studies. If you think that you’ll go abroad, work and earn enough to fund your own studies, chances are that’s not going to happen; it’s next to impossible. You might be able to earn some money to fund your living expenses but that won’t cover your entire tuition fees.”
Paritosh Bantawa: “I studied in the USA; Dallas, Texas to be precise, and for me it was a wonderful opportunity to get to study abroad. Just living in Nepal, we’ll have a very limited view of the world. Going and living in a foreign land, our knowledge and understanding of the world expands. The benefits of studying in a foreign country are that, the education system is totally different from that of Nepal. Secondly, we can lead an independent life and our decision making skills improve. We also get to meet other people, learn about their culture and learn to embrace the differences and live with it. All in all it’s a big learning experience. We also learn to appreciate our own culture and realize its importance when we’re in a foreign land. On the flip side, sometimes it’s easy to get sidetracked from studies. No one will be there to guide us and to tell us what to do and what not to do. We’ll be completely on our own and it’s more of an individualistic lifestyle. At the end of the day, you realize that if you don’t look out for yourself, no one else will. It might also take time to adjust to the new environment. However, once you get used to the lifestyle, you might start to enjoy your new found independence. Lastly, I’d like to say it’s a life changing experience and if you get the opportunity to study abroad, you should definitely go for it.”