APU Students-Volunteer teachers in Nepal
The first time ever field trip to Nepal from APU has just been concluded. From February 15 to 28, 2015 an entire two weeks volunteer teaching trip was organized by Connext ASEAN’s Nepalese circle members.
Connext ASEAN is a circle in APU, completely student-body run that aims to it aims to strengthen international relations like SAARC, ASEAN Community and promotes international mutual understanding. Addressing to the issue that most youth in many developing countries lack exposure to the international community it came up with a plan to build and create awareness to be part of the international community, help the youth of developing countries understand the potential opportunities of being in a multicultural environment. Thus, through its volunteering trips to rural areas in different parts of the world for students to go in as volunteer teachers with an ‘experience by learning’ attitude.
With the combined efforts of Alisha Tuladhar (APM, 4th year) and Anurodh Tamang (APM, 2nd Year), the planning of the camp content and logistics arrangements were successfully done. Furthermore, the involvement of Rabinah Adhikari (APM, 1st Year), Sijan Dhungana (APM, 1st Year), Ritu Poudyal (APS, 3rd Year), Monica Lama (APS, 3rd Year), Sabin Puri (APM, 1st Year) and Jensa Prajapati (APM, 2nd year) during the camp in Nepal contributed to the smoothness of activities as they were assisting as Nepalese volunteers. The international participants who joined us in this trip were as follows:
Mayu ISHIKAWA (Japan)
Aoi KUGA (Japan)
Indah Abudiman (Indonesia)
Eugene Timothy (Indonesia)
MASSARAT Suksai (Thailand)
JINTANAN THANASIRICHAROENPHOL (Thailand)
NGUYEN Thu Giang (Vietnam)
Ditsaya Srisattha (Thailand)
Supasin Chunhachachavankul (Thailand)
SHIN Dong Uk (South Korea)
Gimo Sousa Manungo (Mozambique)
Emika MURAKAMI (Japan)
Miwa Tani (Japan)
These 13 foreigner students from 7 nationalities: Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, America, Vietnam, Mozambique and Japan; were an amazing enthusiastic and open-minded group. This group safely landed in Kathmandu, all geared up to volunteer in a rural school in Baglung, Vidya Mandir School, spending their leisure time and pocket money for this trip. This trip was the first ever field trip to be held in the past 15 years of establishment of our university.
On their third day in Nepal, we drove a bus full of 25, a roadway of 8 hours and made our way to Baglung Bazar. This ride wasn’t easy: few felt sick, pukish, motion-sick, yet none of these university students complained. Looking forward to the next day, we concluded our day with a short class preparation meeting and planning for the next day.
The morning of 18th Feb, 2015, was the morning of a whole new experience for all international volunteer students from APU. For most, this was the first time in a rural area, or stepping into South Asia, it was a whole new experience for all. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone, the morning began with an inaugural ceremony where a formal program was conducted in dual language so our international friends do not miss out. The volunteers were welcomed with tika (a red powder on forehead) and kada (a cloth-garland). Just on the first day, the APU volunteer teachers were already impressed by the level English these youngsters (17-18 years old) could speak, and the level of keenness and warm welcoming positive vibes coming from them.
The 22 APU students did a tremendously commendable work as volunteers. Believing in the art of sharing, we had divided into three workshops: Art & Music, Presentation Skill-up and Languages. So in rotation of three times, all 180 participants in this Winter Camp got to sit down in each of these 2 hour session workshops. Details of how these sessions ran are as follows:
a. Art and Music: This session was all divided into two parts: Art and Music. For Art, the organizers of the trip purchased all the required painting materials for the students to learn watercolor painting. To our surprise, this was the first time for the students to use watercolors. We were very glad that our team could provide this opportunity for them to try something new. Moreover in the Music section, the students were exposed to music and movies, where they had to unleash their creativity and do the drama exercises.
b. Presentation Skill-up: Inspired by APU, where presentation skills are essential, this program too tried to promote the essence of presentation. So the way this group held their sessions was, they first started by showing a PowerPoint presentation of three countries Srilanka, Japan and Thailand, so the students have a clear idea of what and how presentations are done. Then, there are tips and dos and don’ts on how to showcase a good presentation. Once the theory part is covered, the rest of the time is given to students to form a group of four in each and showcase a poster presentation at the end. The students creatively designed their posters and came up on stage to show case their talents.
c. Languages: A total of four languages were taught: Korean, Thai, Japanese and Indonesian Bahasa. The students in Nepal were taught to introduce themselves in these four different languages. In addition, with an aim of introducing culture, the students also learnt about famous food, famous sport, famous place and traditional clothes of these four different nations. This session concluded with a 10 minute discussion, question and answer sessions on language and culture.
d. Final day presentation:
As the last day approached, we asked the 180 students to divide themselves into groups and perform a skit on the theme “Tomorrow’s Future”. It was really impressive these young minds addressing issues like women empowerment, deforestation problems, technology addiction and unemployment problems. The purpose of this short skit presentation was to encourage students to envision their futures, and to showcase the world they want to live in tomorrow, could be in an international or a national boundary context. Some of these skits touched the hearts of many APU students as they addressed some international stories.
After the four day camp in Baglung was over, the trip went on until 28th February as the group travelled to Pokhara, a touristic destination, where everyone did Paragliding and enjoyed the scenic beauty that Nepal had to offer.
Soon, on the final day, we concluded the trip with a rafting and a farewell dinner and cherished all the memories that this trip had. This trip had an impact on many, for some it boosted their confidence to be in a developing country, for some it challenged them to speak in a different language, and for some it was an experience that they will never forget.
APU is all about international understanding, and with this trip we can say, it was a fruitful successful trip where stronger international bonds were built, where the international spirit came alive and where the international community made a difference. To prove this point, some of the feedback we got from the students in the school that APU students visited were as follows:
“Thank you for being in Baglung and teaching us about many things and for these unforgettable memories. We are aware of a slogan ‘Unity in diversity’ but you helped make it a reality. (Anita Chettri, 15 years)
“I learnt to confidently speak to foreigners.” (Geetu, 16 years)
“I learnt different things from the Connext members that how to interact, introduce and cooperate with foreigners. Thank you for your efforts.” (Puja Bardwa, 17 years)