International Student of Month for March, Shashijaa Bhattarai
Each month, Office of International Students and Scholars introduce one international student by presenting their cultural background, personal experience in both home country and U.S. It is our hope that this mini introduction will help Lehigh community to have a better understanding of the international students and scholars on campus. We encourage every student to participate in this activity. If you would like to be featured, send your message to email@example.com.
This month, ISS Graduate Assistant, Aftan Baldwin, interviewed Shashijaa Bhattarai, a graduate student from Nepal, pusing MS in Economics. The following is the interview and pictures that Shashijaa shared with us.
Q: First Shashijaa, would you briefly introduction yourself? Tell me what you are studying at Lehigh and when you will graduate.
A: Hello! This is Shashijaa Bhattarai and I am an international student from Nepal. I am pursuing MS-Economics at Lehigh University. I did my undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Business Administration) in Nepal. I came Lehigh with my husband as a spouse. Before that I was in Eastern Illinois University where I took prerequisite for MS-Economics. I love to make friends, play and take pictures.
Q: What do you think about Lehigh? Like the campus, the dorm, the courses... What's the most obvious difference between Lehigh and your home universities?
A: I have been around Lehigh for last two years. I really like the environment here. People around here are friendly.
I live in Graduate Student Housing, Saucon Village, with my husband. As a married student, Saucon is quite convenient and more over Goodman campus is at walking distance.
There is huge difference in teaching method in Nepal and here because we used to focus on the underlying theory there. We generally follow textbook and teachers are expected to teach, guide and help whatever they can. But here not only theory you have to be more vigilant about what is going on outside. You are supposed to work independently and hard. Here, Professors do ground breaking research and students come from all over the world, which take your learning in different level. I am very happy and proud that I got this chance to study at Lehigh University.
Q: Describe what daily life is like for you in Nepal?
A: In Nepal, life is much easier. Daily life is not as stressful as it is here; probably it was because I was close to my family. I used to spend my time with my parents, brother, sister and friends. Watching movie, shopping, playing, chatting was part of life. I used to have time for relaxing even while I was studying or working. In Nepal, generally, family member do their dinner together and spend some quality time either sharing daily experiences or watching TV.
Q: What do you miss about your home country?
A: Obviously, I miss my family. Moreover, I miss them during festivals like “Dasain” and “Tihar”. I recall fresh and home made food made by my mom. I miss all who love me there, all belongings and all places where I used to feel good.
Q: If someone was going to visit Nepal, what would you tell them to do there?
A: Nepal is a small country but very beautiful and naturally gifted. We have Mount Everest, the highest peak of the world, Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha (Light of Asia). Kathmandu itself is known as city of temples, so you can see lots of ancient places, and temples with Pagoda style. Some other attractions around capital are Pokhara, Chitawan, Patan, Bhaktapur. If you like adventure then you would love to visit Mugu, Mustang and Dolpa. Nepal is famous for mountaineering, hiking, rafting, bungee jumping, zip flying and paragliding. You should visit Nepal if you have time. it is amazing. It is a different world, do not expect skyscrapers or clean regulated highways but you can see incredible nature, culture, and people. Within 125 miles (breadth wise), you literally can go from plain to hill and mountain and can see how diverse the culture is in this small country.
Q: What do you like about American culture?
As: Living in US means trying to accustom with variety of people and their culture. I am proud to be a part of this diverse culture. Here, people greet you even if they do not know each other, and even they keep door open for you. This was the first courtesy of culture I learnt here and I like that. In this culture, we do not have to show too much respect to elders and people in higher position. Here, everyone is treated equally nobody is inferior. People respect every work here, but in our country we have discrimination of work. Favoritism and nepotism is excessive. It is hard to get a job without political influence. While in school, I read a quote by Jefferson, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. I did not understand it before, but spending few months in US, I actually felt it.
Q: Did you join any activities being held by ISS and what was your impression?
A: Yes, of course. I love all programs organized by ISS. Especially International Bazaar is my favorite. I am taking part in this program from 2011. Last year in 2012 I danced in Nepali folk dance, took part in photography competition and fashion show. I am also excited about upcoming Bazaar in which I am volunteering. ISS trips are also impressive. I got chance to see New York just after coming to Lehigh. It was affordable and convenient as well.
Q: Is there anything else you would like everyone to know?
A: Believe in yourself. If you are focused and working continuously toward your vision, you will get great opportunities; meet amazing people and full of encouragement to achieve your dream. Sky is limit.