The following interview was conducted via electronic mail with an individual who taught in Nepal through the United States Peace Corps.

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nepal: Peace Corps Nepal : Web Sites for Nepal RPCVs: The following interview was conducted via electronic mail with an individual who taught in Nepal through the United States Peace Corps.

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 10:10 am: Edit Post

The following interview was conducted via electronic mail with an individual who taught in Nepal through the United States Peace Corps.

The following interview was conducted via electronic mail with an individual who taught in Nepal through the United States Peace Corps.


The following interview was conducted via electronic mail with an individual who taught in Nepal through the United States Peace Corps.


1. Are you currently teaching and if so where and what grade level?

-in a Nepali school, no. But I was teaching 6 and 7 grade science in a

government school 2 hours outside of Kathmandu. This fall I will be teaching

science and math at the international school in Kathmandu.

2. What made you decide to go to Nepal?

-I wanted to explore aspects of life and teaching, find out; how what I had

been learning and trying in the US would transfer to another culture. I just

saw myself as a science teacher who happened to take a job in Nepal. I knew

there was more out in the world to explore than I would find in a suburb of

Dayton, Ohio. Regarding Nepal, specifically, I had been studying yoga for several years as

well as Eastern philosophies, and wanted to go to India, but the PC has no

India program, and Nepal was the closest I could get.

3. What were your reasons for becoming a volunteer for the Peace Corps?

-See above!

4. Was Nepal your first choice for the Peace Corps?


5. What did you do in order to prepare for your trip to Nepal? (i.e.

physical, mental, emotional, etc.)

-Physically, I worked out like crazy to get strong. I tried to learn a little

bit of the language before I came. I talked to other people who had been to

Nepal in PC and for vacation. I did a lot of yoga.

6. What emotional changes did you experience while you were there?

-I had one period of a few weeks where I had a rough time, after about 2-3

months at my village, and that was because of the lack of emotional space given. I

had so little time to myself that I got very stressed and frustrated and

irritable and it seemed like no one understood me (they probably didn't' !)

But after I took a little break for a few days, I was fine. Other than that, I

have on the whole felt very comfortable here, and can't pinpoint any specific

emotional changes, except a greater sense of awareness and understanding of

people and of the globe. There were ups and downs, of course, and it was

interesting too because I felt like I had no reference frame emotionally, so it

took a while to get centered.

7. What emotional changes did you experience upon your return from Nepal?

-A lot more than I did in Nepal!! When I have gone home for visits, I have

felt extremely overloaded with sensory input, which makes me very tense and I

found that I often felt like I didn't quite fit in any more, like I didn't

understand how things work in the US anymore. That causes some weird feelings

of "where is home now?"

8. In what ways have you changed as a result of your overall experience in


-I feel a very strong sense of "there's no going back" - my life will never be

the same, I can't go back to that life in the suburbs. I have become aware of

too many other levels of existence, and I no longer seem to need the security

that a life in the US appears to offer. I guess that translates to confidence

(?), or at least a lack of fear to a degree, and much more purpose in my life,

even if I don't know how it will manifest concretely.

1. How long and where did you stay in Nepal?

-1 year in Kavre District, 1 year in Kathmandu.

2. What type of training did you receive prior to the start of your

assignment? (i.e. language, culture, religion, etc.)

-3 months of language and technical (education system, etc.) training

3. In what regions did you teach/travel?

-All over Nepal! I was involved in trainings, both teacher training and PC

trainings, from the Far West (Doti, Baitedi) to the Terai (Janakpur) to the

East (Dharan) and in the Central region also (Kathmandu and around)

4. What were the cultural differences in Nepal versus the United States?

-This is too huge to answer! But in a nutshell, Nepal is a feeling nation, the

US is a thinking nation. Nepal works differently, not so focused on time and

deadlines and goals at ALL. More more emphasis on people than on results.

5. What differences did you experience in the educational settings and

strategies between Nepal and the United States?

-Another huge one-I think picturing US school maybe 100 years ago might

approximate it here in Nepal now. The system here is based on rote learning

and the authority of textbooks (any written material) and teachers. There is

little value placed on questioning or exploring. Education is just to transmit

facts, but also "to become a better person" - that's what kids will say if you

ask them why they go to school No one (or few) say "to get a good job".

6. How does education vary in terms of equity, enrollment, and efficiency

among the following regions:

A. The Terai (plain region)? - very overcrowded classes and insufficient


B. The Pahar (hill region)? - not so overcrowded, but very poor physical

conditions of schools

C. The Parbat (Himalayan region)? - Don't know

7. How would you best describe the needs of children and adults in an

educational setting within Nepal?

-Assuming the physical needs could be met (enough room in schools, enough

teachers, lighting, teaching supplies, etc.) then the teachers need training

and support, there needs to be a greater sense of professionalism in the

teaching field.

8. What obstacles or limitations (if any) did you experience while you were

in Nepal? (i.e. government influence, visas, language, illness, etc.)

-Some illness, nothing huge though. Language limitations are frustrating.

Sometimes gender issues (disrespecting women) although I experienced that very


9. In your opinion, how do you see the future of education in Nepal?

-It has a lot of potential. There are tons of dollars given to the program

annually, and almost as many consultants. But it will require a concerted

cohesive effort. Right now it is too fragmented, splintered, and no focus on

improved what's in place. It's always some new plan.There's no stability.

10. What recommendations would you make in terms of improving the

educational system in Nepal?

-Nepalese need to head up their own reform effort . There is too much outside

influence from people who try to inject Western ideas/systems, and they just

dont' transfer here, 80% of the time. Their system should be made simple and

basic. Too many high-level ideas are tried, when the real problems are things

like untrained teachers, and crumbling buildings.

1. What current English Language Learner (ELL) strategies (if any) would be

applicable towards effective teaching in Nepal?

-I'm sorry, I dont' know of particular ESL strategies.

2. What strategies and methods did you use for your teaching assignment?

-I used hands-on , student-centered, activity-based teaching 100% of the

time. (science and English)

3. Has your experience abroad influenced your current and/or future

teaching/business methods?

-I dont' know yet-I'll find out this fall! I remember thinking, while I was

teaching in Nepali, that if I ever teach in English again, I will have no

excuse for not being able to communicate a concept! I think Iwill have a much

better sense of how to explain things very simply, concisely, etc b/c of my

having to teach in another language.



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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nepal; World Wise Schools - Nepal



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