Nepal: back to the intercultural shock feeling (and how good it feels!)

 

Seven days since I arrived to Nepal, and just today –after a whole week, yes– I understood how the meals work here. I have been eating in the wrong order for 7 full days… So, this is the actual intercultural shock. (Pssst… If you want to know how the Nepalese eat through the day, read until the end)

So, this is it. We talk about travelling and how amazing it is many times in our daily conversations. To the question what do you like to do, I answer travelling. I work in the mobility field, and help others reflect on the idea of moving around the world every day. In my job, I never stop to communicate how important it is to live somewhere else and put yourself out of the comfort zone. And still, travelling keeps surprising me. Nepal is being so far, and still I have three weeks to go, an intense, exhausting, meaningful, deep and unique experience.

A normal day in Nepal is like a week in my daily life. So many things happen, that sometimes it is even difficult to retain all of them without struggling a bit. But, what am I doing in Nepal?

As part of the Edu-Action 2.0 project, funded by Erasmus+, I take part in the job shadowing programme organised by CCN. Thanks to them, Aurora –my Italian co-job shadower– and me are visiting several schools in different parts of Nepal. During these visits, we have the chance to talk with staff about their school and main challenges, attend lessons to learn how teachers engage and motivate students and finally, we have been given the chance to have a space to develop our own activities with some students. During the time we can spend with the students, Aurora and me try to develop a safe environment to exchange about our cultures, school systems and the reasons why some youngsters abandon school in our respective countries.

Today, thanks to a non-formal dynamic using collage, we have learned about the dreams of some of the students at Paramount Boarding High School, in Tilottama. Some of them want to be teachers, doctors; some want to travel, others want to be famous football, volleyball or cricket players; some others want to have cars or bikes; or some want to help victims of the 2015 earthquake; or have a big house where to live with their family. Through this activity we have debated about the importance of education. And reading in between lines, we are understanding day after day how education is perceived, and therefore how society is built.

The other element that matches perfectly our job-shadowing in the schools is, with no doubt, our life in a host family. Is not always easy, but through evening chats, meals and visits to the temple and their ceremonies, I am starting to be able to leave apart my cultural shock dose and see from the Nepalese point of view what are the values and important things in life for them.

To finish off, and as promised: any friendship, ceremony or deal here in Nepal starts with a cup of buffalo milky tea, and of course, this is also how they start the day between 5 and 6 am. After a tea and some biscuits comes the lunch at 9 or 10 am – with Dahl Bat: some rice, soup, maybe some vegetables –, at 1 or 2 pm it’s time for a snack – noodles, the incredible Mo:Mo’s (dumplings) or some chapati – and finally the day concludes with Dahl Bat again as dinner.

Can’t still thank enough Edu-Action and all people behind it (in Per Esempio, Mundus and CCN, as well as the other partners) for helping me remember the uncomfortable but very rewarding feeling of immersing myself in another culture, working out the differences and finding out the common values. Thank you.

Clara, Spain

Job shadowing in Nepal